Future State
Future StateQuestions?Email This Page
U.S. Department of State
US Department of State for Youth
Banner of Pictures
Who We AreWhat's HappeningWhen in the WorldWhere in the WorldWhy Diplomacy Matters
Home | Who We Are | Meet the Secretary | Duties of the Secretary

Welcome to the U.S. Department of State. The information for students, parents, and educators on this website is being transitioned to the full State Department site at www.state.gov. Specifically, see http://www.state.gov/youthandeducation/.
Green Line

Duties of the Secretary

Under the Constitution, the President of the United States determines U.S. foreign policy. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President's chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President's policies through the Department of State and the Foreign Service of the United States. Created in 1789 by the Congress as the successor to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of State is the senior executive Department of the U.S. Government. The Secretary of State's duties relating to foreign affairs have not changed significantly since then, but they have become far more complex as international commitments multiplied. These duties--the activities and responsibilities of the Department of State--include the following:
  • Serves as the President's principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy;
  • Conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs;
  • Grants and issues passports to American citizens and letters of recognition to foreign consuls in the United States;
  • Advises the President on the appointment of U.S. ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives;
  • Advises the President regarding the acceptance, recall, and dismissal of the representatives of foreign governments;
  • Personally participates in or directs American representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies;
  • Negotiates, interprets, and terminates treaties and agreements;
  • Assures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign states;
  • Supervises the administration of U.S. immigration laws abroad;
  • Provides information to American citizens regarding the political, economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian conditions in foreign countries;
  • Informs the Congress and the American citizenry on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations;
  • Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the United States and other countries;
  • Administers the Department of State;
  • Supervises the Foreign Service of the United States.

In addition, the Secretary of State retains domestic responsibilities that Congress entrusted to the State Department in 1789. These include the custody of the Great Seal of the United States, the preparation of certain presidential proclamations, the publication of treaties and international acts as well as the official record of the foreign relations of the United States, and the custody of certain original treaties and international agreements. The Secretary also serves as the channel of communication between the federal government and the States on the extradition of fugitives to or from foreign countries.

Fact Sheet released by the Bureau of Public Affairs, October 1997


-
This site is managed by the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
Copyright InformationDisclaimersPrivacy Notice