A distinction is required between justice and truth in dealing with recent history. Justice is essential following crimes against humanity, such as in the Balkans and in Rwanda. And justice is better dealt with by an international tribunal than internally. By contrast, if there is to be a cathartic confrontation with the past, it must be from inside the country. A good example of that is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Only by confronting the truth can we re-establish that all-important line between the past and the future.
In 1990 a committee of historians in the USA accused the government of falsifying the historical record by censoring its publications of official USA diplomatic documents, despite the openness shown by the USSR concerning its own history. The incident concerns the role of US intelligence in post-war foreign policy and the manner in which the published editions of diplomatic archives are sanitized to exclude almost all references to the Central Intelligence Agency, and specifically with the role of the CIA in preparing the coup which brought the Shah of Iran to power and which eliminated the liberal-left Arbenz government in Guatemala. Unmistakeable evidence has been found of dramatic and devastating changes in editorial policies and processes which govern the publication of diplomatic history over past decades.