WikiLeaks announced on Monday (April 8) the release of a library of approximately 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic documents from when Henry Kissinger was U.S. secretary of state during the 1970s.

The so-called "Kissinger Cables" are part of WikiLeaks' Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy, or "PlusD," project -- a project "which holds the world's largest searchable collection of United States confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications," according to WikiLeaks website.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson called the document release "a public service."

"One form of secrecy is the complexity and the inaccessibility of documents and it seems to be that the current government is not making a huge effort in making these historical documents accessible," he said.

"We are doing actually what the government should be doing to make this easily accessible to everybody," he added.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 41, whose website angered the United States by releasing thousands of secret diplomatic cables, appeared at the news conference via Skype from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"Orwell once said that 'he who controls, the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future'. Our analysis shows that the U.S. administration cannot be trusted with its control of the past," he said.

Assange took sanctuary in Ecuador's embassy last June, jumping bail after exhausting appeals in British courts against extradition to Sweden for sexual assault allegations.

Assange burst into global prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks released secret footage, military files and diplomatic cables about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompting a furious response from the United States.

Presented by Adam Justice