Duties and responsibilities
The stated duties of the Secretary of State are as follows:
- "Supervises the United States Foreign Service" and "administers the 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 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 such as providing credentials in the form of passports
- Ensure the protection of the U.S. government to U.S. 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 intercourse 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 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 in disgrace of President Nixon and of Vice-President Spiro Agnew, domestic issues, were formalized in instruments delivered to the then Secretary of State.
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 Henry Clay, William Seward, James Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton have been unsuccessful presidential candidates, either before or after their term of office as Secretary of State.
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 1,417,576 miles by John Kerry. Second is Condoleezza Rice's 1,059,247 miles, and third is Clinton's 956,733 miles.
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.