The previous Secretary of State was 2004 presidential nominee and former Massachusetts SenatorJohn Kerry, the 68th person to hold the office since its creation by Congress in July 1789. Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become the 69th Secretary of State (after retiring from the corporation a few months early). Tom Shannon is the current acting Secretary of State pending Tillerson's confirmation.
Advises the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance or dismissal of representatives from other nations
Participates in high-level negotiations with other countries, either bilaterally or as part of an international conference or organization or appoints representatives to do so including negotiation of international treaties and other agreements
Responsible for overall direction, coordination, and supervision of interdepartmental activities of the U.S. Government overseas
Providing information and services to U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad, including providing credentials in the form of passports and visas
Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries
Custody of the records of the former Secretary of the Continental Congress, except for those of the Treasury and War Departments
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 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 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.
What are the Qualifications of a Secretary of State? He ought to be a Man of universal Reading in Laws, Governments, History. Our whole terrestrial Universe ought to be summarily comprehended in his Mind.