phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

White paper, blue book

Posted by ESC on April 16, 2004

In Reply to: White paper "...less extensive than a blue book." posted by abe on April 15, 2004

: M-W says a "white paper" is "...a government report on any subject; especially : a British publication that is usually less extensive than a blue book." I am not sure that helps me much. Can someone give me a couple of examples, preferable recent examples which we could understand in the US?

WHITE PAPER - "a statement of official government policy with background documentation. In the U.S., a 'blue book' is a directory of the social elite; in England, it is an extended explanation of government policy, bound in blue covers.'White paper' was the English terminology for a report too short to be bound as a blue book, and the phrase was adopted in the U.S.In current use, a White Paper (usually capitalized) is an official document that can be synonymous with aidemémoire in diplomacy, or may mean a candidate's stand with background; a blue book is limited to Great Britain and means a lengthy statement of policy; a black book is a documented charge or attacking brief, and the black briefing book is the loose-leaf notebook the President of the U.S. studies before news conferences." From "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993).