Residual stress relaxation of butt-welded small scale steel specimens under static and cyclic mechanical loading was investigated. The experiments were carried out on different types of steel with yield strengths between 300 and 1200MPa. The x-ray and neutron diffraction techniques were applied for the residual stresses analysis. The maximum values of initial residual stresses were measured at the weld bead centerline and were not as frequently assumed as high as the yield strength of the material. From fatigue point of view the internal stresses at the weld toe are of importance. It was observed that only a fraction of maximum residual stress accommodated in the weld bead centerline, is available at the weld toe. Under static tensile and compressive loading by increasing the load level the residual stress field relaxes continuously. The relaxation sets in with delay under compression since the tensile residual stresses should be first overcome. Under cyclic loading, once the first relaxation takes place further cyclic relaxation is either not considerable or continues moderately depending on loading conditions. In high cycle fatigue the residual stresses are stable until 2x106 cycles. In low cycle fatigue however the variation of the residual stresses continues until failure. This variation is partly related to crack initiation and propagation. The von Misses failure criterion with the local yield strength as material resistance against plastic deformation was able to describe the relaxation of surface welding residual stresses in low cycle fatigue.