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The U.S. Department of State:
Structure and Organization

Released by the Bureau of Public Affairs May 26, 1995

The United States maintains diplomatic relations with some 180 countries and also maintains relations with many international organizations. It has more than 250 diplomatic and consular posts around the world: country mission components--which may include embassies, consulates, or other posts; and delegations and missions to international organizations.

The Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. It advances U.S. objectives and interests in shaping a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through formulating, representing, and implementing the President's foreign policies. The Secretary of State, the ranking member of the Cabinet and fourth in line of presidential succession, is the President's principal adviser on foreign policy and the person chiefly responsible for U.S. representation abroad. Several related foreign affairs agencies--the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), the Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA)--are under the general direction and overall foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State.

The Department of State carries out its mission through overseas posts; its Washington, DC, headquarters; and other offices in the U.S. Its employees in the U.S. and abroad include political appointees as well as career Civil Service and Foreign Service personnel.

In addition to representing U.S. policy and interests at these posts, the Department of State is the primary provider of foreign affairs information used by the U.S. Government in policy formulation. Information received from U.S. posts--including in-depth analyses of the politics, economic trends, and social forces at work in foreign countries--is provided to some 60 federal agencies dealing with national security, intelligence, economic and commercial matters, or science and technology.

Overview of the State Department's Organization

Mandate for Change

Under Vice President Gore's National Performance Review (NPR) initiative, the State Department in October 1994 began to redefine which roles it needs to fulfill and which structures are required to support those roles. In response to the Vice President's effort to redefine what the U.S. Government does and who in government does it, the Department undertook its Strategic Management Initiative (SMI).

SMI reinforces the direction of steps taken beginning in 1993 to reorganize the Department to respond to post-Cold War foreign policy challenges. These changes included creating a fifth Under Secretary position to coordinate global affairs issues and forming several new bureaus through consolidation and realignment. Overall, the reorganization served to:

-- Emphasize the Department's full engagement in promoting U.S. interests abroad, reinforced by Secretary Christopher's concept that it is "America's desk;"
-- Position the Department to act effectively on key regional developments and other critical foreign affairs issues;
-- Adapt the Department to the increasing globalization of many foreign policy matters; and
-- Reflect the growing importance of developing options for multilateral approaches in the conduct of foreign relations.

The SMI process continues the Department's review of how to streamline its organization around its core mission, which is to:

-- Ensure national security by building and maintaining alliances and defusing and preventing crises;
-- Advance the economic interests of the American people by promoting free trade and assisting American businesses;
-- Promote democratic values and respect for human rights; and
-- Provide protection and services to Americans abroad and control access to the United States.

SMI's second phase builds on the Vice President's January 1995 decisions that emphasized the unique and independent role of each of the foreign affairs agencies under the overall leadership of the Department of State. SMI aims to achieve the goals of NPR and enhance the Department's ability to promote America's interest and maintain America's leadership in the world. This initiative builds on the core strengths of the State Department: the geographic, economic, and political expertise of its employees; its management of embassies abroad; and its skills at reporting and policy formulation and integration.

Key decisions made by the Secretary of State in SMI's second phase include:

-- Continuing consolidation of the Department's overseas presence by closing 20-25 posts in addition to the 17 already closed;
-- Streamlining the policy formulation and implementation process through making greater use of special teams of officers to handle high- priority issues;
-- Increasing interagency coordination;
-- Eliminating unnecessary reports and modernizing information technology;
-- Enhancing customer service; and
-- Exploring the privatization of some functions.

Current Structure

The Department of State is headed by the Secretary (S) aided by a Deputy Secretary (D), five Under Secretaries, and 19 Assistant Secretaries. The Chief of Staff (S/COS) and Executive Secretariat (S/S) closely support the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. Several specialized offices and bureaus--headed by top aides and key advisers to the Secretary--help the Department focus on certain critical foreign policy areas and on important management issues.

The Department's Under Secretaries act as the "corporate board" of key advisers to the Secretary. They oversee the activities of most of the Department's bureaus and offices--which are organized under them to support their policy planning, coordination, and implementation activities. The Under Secretaries are those for Political Affairs (P); Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs (E); Arms Control and International Security Affairs (T); Management (M); and Global Affairs (G).

An Assistant Secretary or the equivalent runs each of the Department's regional, functional, and management bureaus; most bureaus comprise several offices headed by directors.

As part of SMI's second phase, more decision-making power at the level of Assistant Secretaries and below will enhance Under Secretaries' focus on broad policy oversight of key issues and their role as the Secretary's guarantors of policy coherence. Under Secretaries may also, as a result of SMI Phase Two, head special cross-cutting teams which handle high-priority issues.

Units Attached to the Office of the Secretary

The following units are attached to the Office of the Secretary.

The Operations Center--or "the Watch"--(S/S-O) is part of the Executive Secretariat. It is open around the clock to alert and brief Department officials on overseas news and events and to coordinate the Department's response to emergency situations. The Watch also provides selected communications support to Department officials.

The Policy Planning Staff (S/P) is responsible for developing and proposing to the Secretary of State strategic political and economic policies.

The Office of Resources, Plans, and Policy (S/RPP) is responsible for coordinating policy formulation with resource planning activities. The office develops for the Secretary's decision recommendations on international affairs resource issues, allocates funds in accordance with the Secretary's decisions, and conducts periodic program reviews.

The Office of the Chief of Protocol (S/CPR) advises the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and others on matters of national and international protocol; supports ceremonial events and functions in the U.S. and abroad; manages Blair House--the President's guest house; and is responsible for accreditation activities.

Also attached to the Office of the Secretary are a number of offices headed by ambassadors-at-large, special advisers, and senior coordinators for such foreign policy areas and issues as the Middle East Peace Process, Russia and the other New Independent States of the former Soviet Union, Haiti, North Korea, and counter-terrorism. Other offices attached to the Office of the Secretary deal with personnel issues, including the Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Office, the Civil Service Ombudsman, and the Foreign Service Grievance Board.

Units Outside the Office of the Secretary

The following offices and bureaus, while not attached to the Office of the Secretary, report directly to the Secretary. As part of the Department's streamlining efforts, certain administrative functions for some of these units have been consolidated.

The Office of the Permanent Representative to the United Nations (USUN/W) is headed by the Permanent Representative, a Cabinet member who represents the United States at the UN. This office shapes U.S. policy at the UN, working for multilateral policy formulation and implementation where possible and seeking to make the UN and its agencies more effective instruments for advancing U.S. interests and addressing global needs.

The Bureau of Public Affairs (PA) interaction with the American public is key to the Secretary's America's Desk concept--the Department's commitment to relating foreign policy goals to the American people and keeping the public involved in the foreign policy process.

The bureau does this in a variety of ways:

-- Conducting daily press briefings and arranging interviews for the Secretary and other Department principals with television, radio, and print media;
-- Drafting speeches and testimonies for the Secretary of State;
-- Releasing material on current and historical U.S. foreign policy in hard copy and electronically;
-- Promoting Department relations with state and local elected officials;
-- Holding briefing programs in the Department and throughout the Washington metropolitan area;
-- Conducting regional town meetings;
-- Sending speakers around the country; and
-- Answering the public's phone calls and mail to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary.

The Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H) serves as liaison between the State Department and the Congress. The bureau performs a critical role in advancing the President's and the Department's legislative agenda in the area of foreign policy.

The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), drawing on all-source intelligence, provides value-added independent analysis of events to Department policymakers; ensures that intelligence activities support foreign policy and national security purposes; and coordinates issues involving intelligence, security, and counterintelligence. INR's primary mission is to harness intelligence to serve U.S. diplomacy.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is an independent office that audits, inspects, and investigates the activities of all elements of the Department. The Inspector General reports directly to the Secretary and the Congress on the results of this work and makes recommendations to promote economy and efficiency and to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in Department programs and operations.

The Office of the Legal Adviser (L) counsels the Secretary and Department on legal considerations regarding foreign policy issues and the management of the Department.

Under Secretaries and Their Group Components

Most of the Department's bureaus and offices are organized in groups to support policy planning, coordination, and execution by the five Under Secretaries. As part of the Department's streamlining efforts, certain administrative functions have been consolidated in some groups.

Under Secretary for Political Affairs (P) Group

The Under Secretary for Political Affairs is the Department's crisis manager and also is responsible for integrating political, economic, global, and security issues into the United States' bilateral relationships.

The geographic bureaus coordinate the conduct of U.S. foreign relations in six world regions. They are:

--The Bureau of African Affairs (AF);
--The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP);
--The Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs (EUR);
--The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (for Latin America and the Caribbean--ARA);
--The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA); and
--The Bureau of South Asian Affairs (SA).

The Assistant Secretaries of these bureaus advise the Secretary and guide the operation of the U.S. diplomatic establishments within their regional jurisdiction. They are assisted by Deputy Assistant Secretaries, office directors, post management officers, and country desk officers to ensure interdepartmental coordination. These officials work closely with U.S. embassies and consulates overseas and with foreign embassies in Washington, DC.

The Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) builds the coalitions necessary to advance U.S. policies in the United Nations and UN specialized and technical agencies. Its concerns include such issues as refugees, human rights, food production, air safety, health, terrorism, and the environment. A focus for IO is the UN Security Council and the maintenance of international peace and security. As part of its mandate, the bureau has an office for managing U.S. participation in multilateral peace-keeping activities. The bureau works closely with the U.S. Mission to the UN in New York and its Washington, DC, office to shape U.S. policy at the UN and to make it a more effective instrument for advancing U.S. interests.

Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs (E) Group

Economics and trade are assuming greater importance in U.S. foreign policy. There is increasing demand for the "E" Group's services as more and more countries--including emerging democracies--move to open their markets to international trade and investment. An Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs (E/CBA) has been established as part of the Department's emphasis on being America's Desk. This office is located in the Office of the Under Secretary and it:

The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) deals with issues of trade, international finance and development, energy, commodities, transportation, economic sanctions, and telecommunications policy. It also promotes U.S. business opportunities overseas.

Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (T) Group

The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) advises the Secretary and other Department principals on security and defense issues worldwide, including arms control negotiations; non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them; regional security arrangements; programs for selected foreign security assistance; conventional arms sales; peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nuclear reactor safety; dual use and technology transfers; and international space issues involving military systems and controlled technologies. The bureau also is responsible for licensing and regulating commercial exports of military equipment and services.

Under Secretary for Management (M) Group

In addition to overseeing the State Department's traditional management issues, the Under Secretary for Management is responsible for the Department's recent management improvement initiatives, including the SMI process. The Office of Management Policy and Planning (M/P), reporting directly to the Under Secretary, serves as the focal point for these initiatives. It provides dedicated policy, planning, and analytical support to the Under Secretary on management issues in the three broad areas of M responsibility--human resources, financial management and operations, and support services--and supports Department-wide strategic planning activities as well as the implementation of initiatives arising from the National Performance Review. It also performs the functions associated with National Security Decision Directive 38 and chiefs of mission authority, implements the Government Performance and Results Act, and provides other staff support for the Under Secretary.

The Office of Foreign Missions (M/OFM) is responsible for oversight of foreign missions in the United States. It employs reciprocity to ensure equitable treatment for U.S. diplomatic and consular missions abroad and regulates selected activities of foreign missions in the United States to protect foreign policy and national security interests and to protect the public from abuses of diplomatic privileges and immunities by foreign mission members. It has regional offices in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

The Foreign Service Institute (M/FSI) is the federal government's primary foreign affairs training institution. In addition to Department of State and foreign affairs community personnel, the Institute provides professional and job-related training to the employees of more than 40 other government agencies in more than 300 courses, including some 60 foreign languages, at its National Foreign Affairs Training Center.

The Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel (M/DGP) oversees the medical services office; the family liaison office; and the Bureau of Personnel (PER), which determines employment requirements and administers recruitment, evaluation, assignment, career development, and retirement policies and programs for the Department's employees.

The Bureau of Administration (A) provides administrative support for the Department and overseas posts. Its responsibilities include both domestic and foreign building operations; acquisition management; supply and transportation; travel support for the White House; overseas schools assistance; establishing allowance rates; and providing translation, safety, and occupational health services.

Other services include maintaining the Department's library, overseeing the printing of Department publications, and responding to requests under privacy acts and the Freedom of Information Act. The bureau also provides domestic and worldwide information services for the Department, which includes managing a secure global communications network and maintaining the Department's central automated data processing system.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) assists American citizens traveling or living abroad and issues visas to foreign nationals who wish to visit or reside in the United States. The 13 passport agencies and one processing center--in the United States--and the U.S. posts overseas issue about 4 million passports each year. Annually, the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in the State Department monitors the cases of an estimated 2,500 Americans arrested in other countries, responds to 21,000 welfare and whereabouts inquiries, repatriates about 1,000 U.S. citizens, assists about 3,000 returnees with family/friend prepaid trust funds, and deals with crises--such as hostage-taking and natural disasters.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security's (DS) regional security officers and engineers protect U.S. personnel and missions overseas, advising U.S. ambassadors on all security matters and establishing and maintaining an effective security program against terrorist, espionage, and criminal threats at U.S. diplomatic facilities. In the U.S., the bureau's special agents investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, issue security clearances, and provide protection for the Secretary of State and many visiting foreign dignitaries .

The bureau helps foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. protect their diplomats and facilities, manages the Counter-terrorism Rewards Program, and trains foreign civilian police under the Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program. It also chairs the Overseas Security Advisory Council, a joint venture between the Department and the U.S. private sector to exchange timely information on security problems with U.S. businesses.

The Bureau of Financial Management and Policy (FMP) oversees the Department's worldwide financial and asset management activities. This includes establishing, maintaining, and enhancing management control policies, standards, and compliance guidelines as well as developing and operating an integrated system for accounting and financial management. The bureau develops annual budget requests to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress; monitors financial execution of the budget; and reviews, on a biennial basis, the fees, royalties, rents, and other charges imposed by the Department for goods and services it provides.

In addition to administering the Department's financial accounting and disbursement program, the bureau performs payroll services--such as foreign currency management and accounting, payroll, and fiscal records monitoring--and provides pension services for Foreign Service employees.

Under Secretary for Global Affairs (G) Group

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) oversees initiatives and policies to promote and strengthen democratic institutions, civil society, and respect for human and worker rights. The bureau ensures that human rights and labor conditions in foreign countries are taken into account in the U.S. policy-making process and submits an annual report to the Congress extensively reviewing human rights practices in each country.

The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works with foreign governments to increase awareness of the importance of global narcotics control. It coordinates efforts with other governments and international organizations to halt the flow of illegal drugs into the United States by providing assistance to foreign governments to: eradicate narcotics crops, destroy illicit laboratories, train interdiction personnel, and develop education programs to counter drug abuse by their populations.

The bureau also has an international criminal justice office, dedicated to development and coordination of U.S. policy on: combating international organized crime's involvement in financial crime and illicit drug trafficking, strengthening judicial institutions and assisting foreign law enforcement agencies, and coordination with the UN.

The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) melds an emphasis on environmental issues and science and technology with traditional diplomacy. The bureau and the environment, science, and technology officers at embassies overseas deal with such global issues as trade and environment; biodiversity; global climate change; environmental pollution; oceans policy, fisheries, and marine conservation; international civil and commercial space cooperation; technology; and health.

The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) is responsible for coordinating the Department's policy on global population, refugees, and migration issues and for managing Migration and Refugee Assistance appropriations. As part of its work, the bureau is at the center of a cooperative effort among the State Department, other U.S. Government agencies, private voluntary organizations, and international agencies to: implement a more comprehensive international population policy, including broadening of population assistance programs to cover a wider range of reproductive health services; provide assistance to refugees in first-asylum countries and admit refugees to the United States for permanent resettlement; and develop bilateral and multilateral approaches to international migration issues.

U.S. Missions

To support its relations with other countries and international organizations, the United States maintains diplomatic and consular posts around the world. Under the President's direction, the Secretary of State is responsible for the overall coordination and supervision of U.S. Government activities abroad. Country missions and missions to international organizations are headed by Chiefs of Mission. Chiefs of Mission are considered the President's personal representatives and, with the Secretary of State, assist in implementing the President's constitutional responsibilities for the conduct of U.S. foreign relations.

Most missions have personnel assigned from other executive branch agencies in addition to those from the Department of State; in some cases, State Department employees may account for less than one-half of the mission staff. Department of State employees at missions comprise U.S.-based political appointees and career diplomats; and Foreign Service nationals. The last are local residents, who provide continuity for the transient American staff and have language and cultural expertise; they also are employed at post by other agencies.

Other executive branch agencies represented may include the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, and Justice (the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation); the U.S. Agency for International Development; and the U.S. Information Agency. Other U.S. Government agencies also make vital contributions to the success of U.S. foreign relations and in promoting U.S. interests.

Country Missions

In most countries with which it has diplomatic relations, the U.S. maintains an embassy, which usually is located in the host country capital. The U.S. also may have consulates in other large commercial centers or in dependencies of the country. Several countries have U.S. ambassadors accredited to them who are not resident in the country. In a few special cases--such as when it does not have full diplomatic relations with a country--the U.S. may be represented by only a U.S. Liaison Office or U.S. Interests Section, which may be headed by a Principal Officer rather than a Chief of Mission.

The Chief of Mission--with the title of Ambassador, Minister, or Charge d'Affaires--and the Deputy Chief of Mission are responsible for and head the mission's "country team" of U.S. Government personnel.

Consular Affairs. Whether in a U.S. embassy or a consulate, consular officers at post are the State Department employees that American citizens overseas are most likely to meet. Consular officers extend to U.S. citizens and their property abroad the protection of the U.S. Government. They are involved in protecting and assisting millions of Americans living and traveling abroad.

Consular officers help transfer personal funds to those in financial difficulty, search for missing Americans, issue Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings, visit Americans in prison, maintain lists of local attorneys, act as liaison with police and other officials, assist hospitalized Americans, re-issue lost or stolen passports, and assist next of kin in the United States when relatives die abroad.

They also perform non-emergency services--dispensing information on absentee voting, international parental kidnaping and child custody, selective service registration, and acquisition and loss of U.S. citizenship; providing U.S. tax forms; notarizing documents; issuing passports; and processing estate and property claims. U.S. consular officers also issue about 6 million visas annually to foreign nationals who wish to visit the United States and almost 500,000 immigrant visas to those who wish to reside here permanently.

Commercial, Economic, and Financial Affairs. Commercial officers advise U.S. businesses on local trade and tariff laws, government procurement procedures, and business practices; identify potential importers, agents, distributors, and joint venture partners; and assist with resolution of trade and investment disputes. At larger posts, trade specialists of the Commerce Department's U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service perform these functions. At smaller posts, commercial interests are represented by economic/commercial officers from the Department of State. Commerce Department officers for tourism promote the U.S. travel and tourism industry.

Economic officers advise U.S. businesses on the local investment climate and economic trends; negotiate trade and investment agreements to open markets and level the playing field; analyze and report on macroeconomic trends and trade policies and their potential impact on U.S. interests; and promote adoption of economic policies by foreign countries which further U.S. interests.

Resource officers counsel U.S. businesses on issues of natural resources--including minerals, oil, and gas and energy--and analyze and report on local natural resource trends and trade policies and their potential impact on U.S. interests.

Financial attaches analyze and report on major financial developments as well as the host country's macro-economic condition.

Agricultural and Scientific Matters. Agricultural officers promote the export of U.S. agricultural products and report on agricultural production and market developments in their area. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service officers are responsible for animal and plant health issues that affect U.S. trade and the protection of U.S. agriculture from foreign pests and diseases. They expedite U.S. exports affected by technical sanitary and phytosanitary regulations.

Environment, science, and technology (EST) officers analyze and report on EST developments and their potential impact on U.S. policies and programs.

Political, Labor, and Defense Assistance Issues. Political officers analyze political developments and their potential impact on U.S. interests; promote adoption by the host country of foreign policy decisions which support U.S. interests; and advise U.S. business executives on the local political climate.

Labor officers promote labor policies in countries to support U.S. interests and provide information on local labor laws and practices, including wages, non-wage costs, social security regulations, the political activities of local labor organizations, and labor attitudes toward American investments.

Many posts have defense attaches from the Department of Defense. Security assistance officers are responsible for Defense Cooperation in Armaments and foreign military sales and function as the primary in- country point of contact for U.S. defense industry and businesses.

Administrative Support and Security Functions. Administrative officers are responsible for normal business operations of the post, including overall management of: personnel; budget and fiscal matters; real and expendable property; motor pools; and acquisitions.

Information management officers are responsible for the post's unclassified information systems, database management, programming, and operational needs. They also are responsible for the telecommunications, telephone, radio, diplomatic pouches, and records management programs within the diplomatic mission and maintain close contact with the host government's communications authorities on operational matters.

Regional security officers are responsible for providing physical, procedural, and personnel security services to U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel; they also provide local in-country security briefings and threat assessments to business executives.

Public Affairs U.S. Information Service (USIS) officers of the U.S. Information Agency serve as the public affairs officers, information officers, and cultural affairs officers of U.S. missions overseas. They are the public affairs advisers for the U.S. ambassador and all elements of the country team, serving as press spokespersons and as administrators of such official U.S. exchange programs as those for Fulbright scholars, Humphrey and Muskie fellows, and foreign participants in International Visitor consultations in the United States. USIS officers also direct the overseas U.S. Speakers program and international electronic linkages such as the Worldnet TV satellite teleconferencing network at more than 200 posts.

Legal and Immigration Matters and USAID Programs. Legal attaches serve as Department of Justice representatives on criminal matters.

Immigration and Naturalization Service officers are responsible for administering the laws regulating the admission of foreign-born persons (aliens) to the United States and for administering various immigration benefits.

USAID mission directors are responsible for USAID programs, including dollar and local currency loans, grants, and technical development assistance.

Chiefs of Mission--Authorities And Responsibilities

Authorities and responsibilities of Chiefs of Mission at post include:

-- Following, articulating, and speaking with one voice to others on U.S. policy--and ensuring mission staff do likewise--while also providing to the President and Secretary of State expert guidance and frank counsel and seeking the same from mission staff;

-- Directing, coordinating, and supervising all executive branch offices and personnel, except for personnel under the command of a U.S. area military commander, under another chief of mission, or on the staff of an international organization;

-- Cooperating with U.S. legislative and judicial branch personnel so that U.S. foreign policy goals are advanced, security is maintained, and executive, legislative, and judicial responsibilities are carried out;

-- Reviewing all communications to or from mission elements, however transmitted, except those specifically exempted by law or executive decision;

-- Taking direct responsibility for the security of the mission--including security from terrorism--and protecting all U.S. Government personnel on official duty (other than those personnel under the command of a U.S. area military commander) and their accompanying dependents;

-- Viewing budgetary stringency as an incentive to innovate and to exercise careful stewardship of mission resources, including carrying out regular reviews of programs, personnel, and funding levels and cooperating with other departments and agencies in downsizing efforts;

-- Using given Chief-of-Mission authorities to reshape the mission in ways that directly serve American interests and values and ensuring that all executive branch agencies attached to the mission do likewise by obtaining Chief-of-Mission approval to change the size, composition, or mandate of their staffs within the mission;

-- Serving the people of the U.S. with professional excellence, the highest standards of ethical conduct, and diplomatic discretion and ensuring that mission staff adhere to the same strict standards and maintain a shared commitment to equal opportunity and against discrimination and harassment.

The Conduct of U.S. Foreign Relations

Executive Branch

The conduct of U.S. foreign relations is centered in the executive branch and flows from the constitutional responsibilities of the President. The President has the authority to conclude treaties and appoint diplomatic and consular officials--with the advice and consent of the Senate; to receive foreign emissaries; and to exercise other authority provided by legislation.

To assist the President in these duties, Congress created the Department of State in 1789; this replaced the Department of Foreign Affairs, established in 1781. As head of the Department, the Secretary of State was made the President's principal adviser on foreign affairs and the person chiefly responsible for U.S. representation abroad.

After World War II, U.S. global responsibilities expanded greatly. The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Treasury acquired new duties in world economic affairs. The Department of Defense was created in 1947--consolidating the functions previously carried out by the War Department and the individual services--and assumed duties for military aid and cooperation.

The 1947 National Security Act created the National Security Council (NSC), which assists the President on foreign policy and coordinates the work of the many agencies involved in foreign relations. Chaired by the President, the NSC includes the Vice President and the Secretaries of State and Defense as regular members. Presidents have shaped NSC functions and made use of the position of Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, established in 1951, to suit their administrative preferences.

During the Cold War, new foreign affairs agencies were placed under the general direction of the Secretary of State: the United States Information Agency (1953), the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1961), and the Agency for International Development (1961). They remain under the Secretary's overall foreign policy guidance.


Congress, too, has constitutional responsibilities for U.S. foreign policy. As noted, the Senate must provide its advice and consent to treaties and to diplomatic and consular appointments. Other major congressional powers include providing for the common defense and general welfare of the United States, regulating international commerce, and declaring war.

Congressional influence on U.S. foreign policy rests in part on legislative control over the federal budget. Congress:

-- Appropriates the money needed to run the agencies which handle foreign affairs;
-- Provides funds to finance U.S. foreign assistance programs carried out by executive agencies; and
-- Legislates in such areas as immigration, foreign trade, and international monetary arrangements.

Congressional committees most directly involved in the conduct of foreign relations include the House International Relations and Senate Foreign Relations Committees; the House National Security and Senate Armed Services Committees; the Appropriations Committees of both Houses; and relevant subcommittees. The Secretary of State and other Administration officials consult with, testify before, and brief these bodies on foreign policy developments. Members of Congress make trips abroad to inspect U.S. programs and also may serve as delegates to the United Nations and international conferences and commissions.

President's Letter to Chiefs of Mission

Excerpts from the text of President Clinton's Letter of Instruction to Chiefs of Mission, September 16, 1994.

. . . We are at a moment of unique historic opportunity for the United States and the world. With the end of the Cold War, we are entering an era so new that it has yet to acquire a name. Our task as a Nation, and yours as Chief of the United States Mission, is to ensure that this new era is one conducive to American prosperity, to American security, and to the values America seeks to exemplify. To accomplish this task I need your full support for the three goals of my foreign policy that aim to keep our Nation strong at home and abroad: renewing and adapting America's security alliances and structures; rebuilding and revitalizing the American economy; and promoting democracy, human rights, and sustainable development.

You should give special attention in the security realm to halting arms proliferation, preventing, resolving, and containing conflict, and to countering terrorism and international crime; and in the economic arena, to opening and expanding markets for America's exports. No country can be exempt from upholding the basic principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; all should understand that shared democratic values are the most reliable foundation for good relations with the United States. Finally, I will need your help as my Administration seeks to promote international cooperation to address global problems including the environment and population, narcotics production and trafficking, refugees, migration, and humanitarian assistance.

Achieving these goals will demand a dynamic diplomacy that harnesses change in the service of our national interests and values. It will require us to meet threats to our security and practice preventive diplomacy, to anticipate threats to our interests and to peace in the world before they become crises and drain our human and material resources in wasteful ways. I have asked you to represent the United States . . . because I am confident that you possess the skills, dedication, and experience necessary to meet the many challenges that this new and complex era presents. . . .

I charge you to exercise your authority with wisdom, justice, and imagination. Dramatic change abroad and austerity here at home have put a premium on leadership and teamwork. . . .

Always keep in mind that . . . you and your Mission symbolize the United States of America and its values. Never forget the solemn duty that we, as public servants, owe to the citizens of America: the active protection and promotion of their well-being, safety, and ideals. There is no better definition of American national interest and no loftier object for our efforts.

U.S. Representation at International Organizations

U.S. representation at international organizations reflects the growing importance of seeking multilateral approaches in the conduct of U.S. foreign relations. In addition to its country missions, the U.S. has several delegations to international organizations, most of which are located outside the United States. Some of these delegations are designated as "U.S. missions"; others are called delegations, such as those to the Conference on Disarmament or to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

U.S. missions to international organizations are:

-- U.S. Mission to the United Nations (New York);
-- U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States (Washington);
-- U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna (Vienna);
-- U.S. Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Brussels);
-- U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris);
-- U.S. Mission to the European Office of the UN and Other International Organizations (Geneva);
-- U.S. Mission to the European Union (Brussels);
-- U.S. Mission to the International Civil Aviation Organization (Montreal); -- U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture (Rome); and
-- U.S. Observer Mission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Paris).

Related Foreign Affairs Agencies

As noted, there are several related foreign affairs agencies which, while independent, come under the general direction and overall foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State. All are headquartered in Washington, DC.

The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

ACDA's mandate deals with arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament policies, advancing the U.S. foreign policy objective of shaping a more secure world. ACDA's director reports directly to the President, the National Security Adviser, and the Secretary of State on arms control and non-proliferation matters. The agency's concerns include conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons as well as the means for delivering them. It manages U.S. participation in negotiations on arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament; engages in international negotiations on nuclear safety; evaluates U.S. ability to verify agreements, assesses compliance with existing agreements; monitors arms transfers worldwide; conducts research; and coordinates and disseminates information to the public.

ACDA has led all of the U.S. delegations to what is now known as the Conference on Disarmament--the principal forum for negotiating multilateral arms control agreements such as a comprehensive test ban treaty and a fissile material cutoff. Since ACDA's creation in 1961, some of the agreements negotiated in that forum include the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Seabed Arms Control Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty, and the Environmental Modification Convention. In addition, ACDA led or actively participated in all major U.S.-Soviet arms negotiations beginning in 1961, such as the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, talks on defense and space issues, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The U.S. Agency for International Development

USAID administers U.S. economic and humanitarian assistance designed to promote sustainable development in countries in Africa, Asia, the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union.

USAID works to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives of shaping a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world by focusing its programs in four interrelated areas: improving health and population conditions, protecting the environment, promoting economic growth, and supporting democracy. In addition to providing humanitarian assistance, USAID promotes democratic values and international cooperation and helps establish economic conditions that expand markets for U.S. goods and services in developing countries.

USAID funds technical assistance and commodity assistance, trains thousands of foreign students each year at American colleges, and supports development research. USAID also enlists the collaboration of the American for-profit private sector, non-governmental and private organizations, and universities in its programs.

USAID assistance programs are administered through overseas missions that work in close coordination with U.S. embassies.

The U.S. Information Agency

USIA's mission is to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions and their counterparts abroad.

With the spread of democracy and popular politics and the revolution in communications and information worldwide, the organization and policy emphases of the agency have changed significantly, but the core purposes have remained constant:

-- To explain and advocate U.S. policies in terms that are credible and meaningful in foreign cultures;
-- To provide information about the United States and its people, values, and institutions;
-- To build lasting relationships and understanding between Americans and U.S. institutions and their counterparts overseas through the exchange of people and ideas; and
-- To advise the President and other policymakers on foreign attitudes and their implications for U.S. policies.

USIA's programs include the Voice of America; Radio and TV Marti; Worldnet TV; the Fulbright scholarship program; the U.S. Speakers program; the International Visitors program; the Wireless File newswire, transmitted daily in five languages to USIS press officers overseas; Foreign Press Centers in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles; and an overseas network of professionally staffed, computer-linked information resource and cultural centers.

USIA has U.S. and foreign national professionals in more than 200 U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries.

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