|Secretary of State of the United States of America|
Seal of the Secretary of State
Flag of the Secretary of State
|United States Department of State|
|Member of||Cabinet, National Security Council|
|Reports to||The President|
with Senate advice and consent
|Constituting instrument||22 U.S.C. § 2651|
|Precursor||United States Secretary of Foreign Affairs|
|Formation||July 27, 1789|
|First holder||John Jay (acting)
|Salary||$205,700 annually (Executive Schedule I)|
The Secretary of State is a senior official of the federal government of the United States of America, and as head of the U.S. Department of State, is principally concerned with foreign policy and is considered to be the U.S. government's equivalent of a Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Secretary of State is nominated by the President of the United States and, following a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is confirmed by the United States Senate. The Secretary of State, along with the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General, are generally regarded as the four most important Cabinet members because of the importance in their respective departments. Secretary of State is a Level I position in the Executive Schedule and thus earns the salary prescribed for that level (currently $205,700).
The stated duties of the Secretary of State are as follows:
The original duties of the Secretary of State include some domestic duties such as:
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 of the United States, performance of protocol functions for the 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 only valid if declared in writing, in an instrument delivered to the office of the Secretary of State. Accordingly, the resignations of President Nixon and of Vice-President Spiro Agnew, domestic issues, were formalized in instruments delivered to the Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.
As the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, the Secretary of State is the third-highest official of the executive branch of the Federal Government of the United States, after the President and Vice President and is fourth in line to succeed the Presidency, coming after the Vice President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President pro tempore of the Senate. Six Secretaries of State have gone on to be elected President. Others, including John Kerry, William Seward, Henry Clay, William Jennings Bryan and Hillary Clinton have been unsuccessful presidential candidates, either before or after their term of office as Secretary of State. Former Secretaries of State retain the right to add the title "Secretary" to their surnames.
As the head of the United States Foreign Service, the Secretary of State is responsible for management of the diplomatic service of the United States. The foreign service employs about 12,000 people domestically and internationally, and supports 265 United States diplomatic missions around the world, including ambassadors to various nations. The U.S. Secretary of State has the power to remove any foreign diplomat from U.S. soil for any reason.
The nature of the position means that Secretaries of State engage in travel around the world. The record for most countries visited in a secretary's tenure is 112 by Hillary Clinton. Second is Madeleine Albright with 96. The record for most air miles traveled in a secretary's tenure is 1.380 million miles by John Kerry. Second is Condoleezza Rice's 1.059 million miles, and third is Clinton's 956,733 miles.
When there is a vacancy in the office of Secretary of State, the duties are exercised either by another member of the cabinet, or, in more recent times, by a high-ranking official of the State Department until the President appoints, and the United States Senate confirms, a new Secretary.
The line of succession for the Secretary of State is as follows:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Secretaries of State of the United States.|
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
Ambassadors from the United States
(while at their posts)
|Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of State
Ambassadors to the United States
(in order of tenure)
Otherwise Barack Obama
as Former President
Otherwise António Guterres
as Secretary-General of the United Nations
|Current U.S. presidential line of succession|
President pro tempore of the Senate
|4th in line||Succeeded by
Secretary of the Treasury
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