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 current Secretary of State is former
ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, the 69th person to hold the office since its creation in 1789.
Duties and responsibilities [ edit ]
The Secretary of State:
United States Foreign Service and administers the United States Department of State Advises the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance, recall, or dismissal of representatives from other nations
Negotiates, interprets, or terminates treaties and agreements and conducts negotiations relating to all U.S. foreign affairs
Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies
Provides 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
Supervises the administration of the
U.S. immigration policy abroad Communicates issues relating the U.S. foreign policy to Congress and to U.S. citizens
Promotes beneficial economic activity between the U.S. and other countries
The original duties of the Secretary of State include some domestic duties, such as:
Receipt, publication, distribution, and preservation of the laws of the United States
Preparation, sealing, and recording of the commissions of Presidential appointees
Preparation and authentication of copies of records and authentication of copies under the Department's seal
Custody of the
Great Seal of the United States 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 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 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.
— John Adams
Line of succession [ edit ]
The line of succession for the Secretary of State is as follows:
Deputy Secretary of State
Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Under Secretary of State for Management Remaining Under Secretaries of State (following in the order they took the oath of office)
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Assistant Secretaries of States for regional bureaus (following in the order they took the oath of office)
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Other Officers (following in the order they took the oath of office)
Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation
Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Administration
Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Legal Adviser of the Department of State
Coordinator for International Information Programs
Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research
Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
Director General of the Foreign Service
Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
Coordinator for Counterterrorism
United States Ambassador to the United Nations ( New York) Deputy United States Ambassador to the
United Nations (New York) Remaining U.S. representatives to the United Nations (New York) (following in the order they took the oath of office)
Alternative United States Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs
United States Representative to the United Nations for UN Management and Reform
United States Representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
the following Chiefs of Missions (in the following order)
United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
United States Ambassador to Canada
United States Ambassador to Australia
United States Ambassador to Mexico
United States Ambassador to Japan
United States Ambassador to India Other officers (following in the order they took the oath of office)
United States Ambassadors at Large
Counselor of the United States Department of State Special Representatives of the President
Remaining Chiefs of Missions (following in the order they took the oath of office)
List of Secretaries of State [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
^ "Pay & Leave: Salaries & Wages". Salary Table No. 2015-EX. United States Office of Personnel Management. January 1, 2015 . Retrieved . January 4, 2016
^ a b 5 U.S.C. § 5312.
^ "Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers for Foreign Affairs", Protocol and Liaison Service, United Nations. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
^ NATO Member Countries, NATO. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
^ Cabinets and Counselors: The President and the Executive Branch (1997). Congressional Quarterly. p. 87.
^ "Duties of the Secretary of State". U.S. Department of State . Retrieved . 2017-02-01
^ "Duties of the Secretary of State of the United States". www.state.gov. United States Department of State. January 20, 2009 . Retrieved . March 28, 2010
^ 3 USC § 20 - Resignation or refusal of office
^ a b Mark Landler (January 4, 2013). "Scare Adds to Fears That Clinton's Work Has Taken Toll". . The New York Times
^ Lee, Matthew (June 28, 2012). "Frequent flier Hillary Clinton hits 100-country mark". . Detroit Free Press Associated Press.
^ Associated Press (April 6, 2016). "Kerry breaks record for miles traveled by secretary of state". . Fox News
^ Ford, Worthington C., ed. (1927). Statesman and Friend: Correspondence of John Adams with Benjamin Waterhouse, 1784–1822. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company. p. 57.
^ "Providing an Order of Succession Within the Department of State". Federal Register. 2002-01-11 . Retrieved . 2016-10-30
External links [ edit ]
This audio file was created from a revision of the "
United States Secretary of State
" article dated 2010-02-23, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (