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The United States secretary of state is an officer of the United States who implements
foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its website, and in six print issues annually. ''Foreign Polic ...
for the U.S. government as the head of the U.S. Department of State. The office holder is one of the highest ranking members of the president's
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
, and ranks the first in the U.S.
presidential line of succession File:Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as President - NARA - 6923692.jpg, upright=.90, Chief Justice of the United States, Chief Justice Warren Burger administering the Presidential Oath of Office to President Gerald Ford following the Watergate scandal# ...
among Cabinet secretaries. Created in 1789 with
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
as the first office holder, the secretary of state represents the US to foreign countries, and is therefore considered analogous to a
foreign minister A foreign affairs minister or minister of foreign affairs (less commonly minister for foreign affairs) is generally a cabinet minister in charge of a state's foreign policy and relations. Difference in titles In some nations, such as India ...
in other countries. The secretary of state is nominated by the
president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power of the presidency has grown substantially since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as ...

president of the United States
and, following a
confirmation hearingA United States congressional hearing is the principal formal method by which United States congressional committee upright=1.2, The Senate Armed Services Committee hearing testimony in the Hart Senate Office Building in 2007. A congressional ...
before the
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a Standing committee (United States Congress), standing committee of the United States Senate, U.S. Senate charged with leading Foreign policy of the United States, foreign-policy legislat ...

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
, is confirmed by the
United States Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, politic ...
. The secretary of state, along with the
secretary of the treasury The United States secretary of the treasury is the head of the United States Department of the Treasury, which is concerned with all financial and monetary matters relating to the federal government, and, until 2003, also included several major ...
,
secretary of defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
, and
attorney general In most common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionar ...
, are generally regarded as the four most crucial Cabinet members because of the importance of their respective departments. Secretary of State is a Level I position in the Executive Schedule and thus earns the salary prescribed for that level ( US$221,400, as of January 2021). The current secretary of state is
Antony Blinken Antony John Blinken (born April 16, 1962) is an American government official and diplomat serving as the 71st United States secretary of state since January 26, 2021. He previously served as Deputy National Security Advisor (United States), deput ...

Antony Blinken
, who was confirmed on January 26, 2021 by the Senate by a vote of 78–22.


Duties and responsibilities

The stated duties of the secretary of state are to supervise the United States
foreign serviceDiplomatic service is the body of diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect ...
and
immigration policy Border control is the measures taken by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper) ...
and administer the Department of State. The secretary must also advise the president on U.S. foreign matters such as the appointment of
diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
s and
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sov ...

ambassador
s, advising the president of the dismissal and recall of these people. The secretary of state can conduct negotiations, interpret, and terminate treaties relating to foreign policy. The secretary also can participate in international conferences, organizations, and agencies as a representative of the United States. The secretary communicates issues relating to the U.S. foreign policy to Congress and citizens. The secretary also provides services to U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad such as providing credentials in the form of
passport A passport is an official travel documentA travel document is an identity document issued by a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the c ...

passport
s. Doing this, the secretary also ensures the protection of citizens, their property, and interests in foreign countries. Secretaries of state also have domestic responsibilities, entrusted in 1789, when the position was first created. These include the protection and custody of the
Great Seal of the United States The Great Seal is a principal National symbols of the United States, national symbol of the United States. The phrase is used both for the physical seal (device), seal itself, which is kept by the United States Secretary of State, and more genera ...

Great Seal of the United States
, and the preparation of some
presidential proclamation The text of presidential proclamation 9552 of December 9, 2016 regarding the lowering of flags because of the death of John Glenn, as published in the Federal Register.">Federal_Register.html" ;"title="John Glenn, as published in the Federal Regi ...
s. In the process of extraditing
fugitive Image:John Walsh filming a segment for America's Most Wanted.jpg, Fugitives are often profiled in the media in order to be apprehended, such as in the TV show ''America's Most Wanted''. A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from pol ...
s to or from the country, the secretary serves as the channel of communication between foreign governments, the federal government, and the states. Most of the domestic functions of the Department of State have been transferred to other agencies. Those that remain include storage and use of the Great Seal, performance of protocol functions for the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
, and the drafting of certain proclamations. The secretary also negotiates with the individual states over the extradition of fugitives to foreign countries. Under federal law, the resignation of a president or of a vice president is valid only if declared in writing, in an instrument delivered to the office of the secretary of state. Accordingly, the resignations of President
Richard Nixon Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913April 22, 1994) was the 37th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the and of the . The president directs the of the and is the of the . The power o ...
and of Vice President
Spiro Agnew Spiro Theodore Agnew (November 9, 1918 – September 17, 1996) was the 39th vice president of the United States The vice president of the United States (VPOTUS) is the second-highest officer in the executive branch The executive ( ...

Spiro Agnew
were formalized in instruments delivered to then-Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger Henry Alfred Kissinger (; ; born Heinz Alfred Kissinger; May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the ...

Henry Kissinger
. As the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, the secretary of state is the third-highest official of the
executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, a ...
of the U.S. federal government, after the president and vice president, and is fourth in line to succeed the presidency, after the
vice president A vice president, also director in British English, is an officer An officer is a person who has a position of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationsh ...
, the
speaker of the House of RepresentativesSpeaker of the House of Representatives may refer to: National governments * Speaker of the House of Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda * Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives * Speaker of the House of Representatives of Belize *Sp ...
, and the
president pro tempore of the Senate A president pro tempore or speaker pro tempore is a Constitution, constitutionally recognized officer of a Legislature, legislative body who presides over the chamber in the absence of the normal presiding officer. The phrase ''pro tempore'' is La ...
. Six past secretaries of state,
MadisonMadison may refer to: People * Madison (name), a given name and a surname * James Madison (1751–1836), fourth president of the United States Place names * Madison, Wisconsin, the state capital of Wisconsin and the largest city known by this ...

Madison
, Monroe,
John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams (; July 11, 1767 – February 23, 1848) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state ...

John Quincy Adams
, and have gone on to be elected president. Others, including
Henry Clay Henry Clay Sr. (April 12, 1777June 29, 1852) was an American attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a gove ...

Henry Clay
,
William Seward William Henry Seward (May 16, 1801 – October 10, 1872) was United States Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869, and earlier served as governor of New York and as a United States Senator The United States Senate is the Upper house, up ...

William Seward
,
James Blaine James Gillespie Blaine (January 31, 1830January 27, 1893) was an American statesman and Republican Party (United States), Republican politician who represented Maine in the United States House of Representatives, U.S. House of Representatives fr ...
,
William Jennings Bryan William Jennings Bryan (March 19, 1860 – July 26, 1925) was an American orator and politician. Beginning in 1896, he emerged as a dominant force in the Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United Stat ...

William Jennings Bryan
,
Charles Evans Hughes Charles Evans Hughes Sr. (April 11, 1862 – August 27, 1948) was an American statesman and politician who served as the 11th Chief Justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of ...

Charles Evans Hughes
,
John Kerry John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is an American politician and diplomat, currently serving as the first . He previously served as the from 2013 to 2017. An attorney and former naval officer, Kerry first drew public attention as a ...

John Kerry
, and
Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton ( Rodham; born October 26, 1947) is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, and public speaker who served as the from 2009 to 2013, as a from from 2001 to 2009, and as from 1993 to 2001 as the wife ...

Hillary Clinton
have also campaigned as presidential candidates, either before or after their term of office as Secretary of State, but were ultimately unsuccessful. The position of Secretary of State has therefore been viewed to be a consolation prize for failed presidential candidates.


See also

*
List of secretaries of state of the United States#REDIRECT List of secretaries of state of the United States {{Redirect category shell, {{R from move ...
* List of international trips made by the United States Secretary of State


References


Further reading

* Bemis, Samuel Flagg, ed. (1963) ''The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy'' (19 vols.), scholarly biographies * Graebner, Norman A., ed. (1961) ''An Uncertain Tradition: American Secretaries of State in the Twentieth Century'' scholarly essays on John Hay through
John Foster Dulles John Foster Dulles (; February 25, 1888May 24, 1959) was an American diplomat, lawyer, and Republican politician. He served as United States Secretary of State The United States secretary of state implements foreign policy for the U.S. g ...
. * Hopkins, Michael F. (2008) " President Harry Truman's Secretaries of State: Stettinius, Byrnes, Marshall and Acheson" '' Journal of Transatlantic Studies'' v.6 n.3 pp. 290–304. * Mihalkanin, Edward, ed. (2004)
online American Statesmen: Secretaries of State
from
John Jay John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of ...

John Jay
to
Colin Powell Colin Luther Powell ( ; April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanent ...

Colin Powell
'' short scholarly articles by experts


External links

* * * , - , - {{US Presidential Line of Succession United States Department of State
State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
United States diplomacy 1789 establishments in the United States