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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

What Does the Office of the Chief of Protocol Do?


1. Plan and execute detailed programs for foreign leaders visiting the President and accompany them during their official travel in the United States, including their visit with the President at the White House.

2. Accompany the President on all official visits abroad; coordinate planning with the White House advance office, the First Lady's staff and host country officials.

3. Make arrangements for and accompany delegations named by the President to represent him at inaugurals, funerals, weddings, Independence Day celebrations, and similar ceremonies abroad.

4. Certify and pay the expenses of the foregoing and other diplomatic activities authorized by Congress.

5. Oversee the accreditation of foreign Ambassadors and organize the presentation of their credentials to the President and the Secretary of State.

6. Act as the President's personal representative and liaison to the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions in Washington, and represent the United States Government at diplomatic events.

7. Accredit the diplomatic officials assigned to Washington, to the United Nations, and to the Organization of American States. Register all other employees of these embassies and international organizations.

8. Arrange the official entertainment by the Secretary of State, especially events in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the State Department.

9. Administer oaths to United States Ambassadors and other State Department officials and organize appropriate swearing-in ceremonies.

10. Organize treaty-signing ceremonies.

11. Plan and execute the President's and the Secretary of State's official events at the United Nations General Assembly.

12. Suggest official gifts to be given by the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State and their spouses, and select, purchase, deliver, and maintain records of gifts for annual report to Congress.

13. Coordinate arrangements for foreign press accompanying visiting dignitaries.

14. Host the Diplomatic Corps at certain public events, such as Joint Sessions of Congress, inaugurals, state funerals, ceremonies, Democratic and Republican conventions, and assist in planning the events.

15. Manage the Blair House, the President's Guest House for foreign leaders.

16. Publish the Diplomatic List and the list of foreign consular offices in the United States.

17. Determine the eligibility of diplomatic and consular officials for privileges and immunities; advise state and local governments on the same.

18. Serve as the action office for disputes arising out of diplomatic and consular immunities.

19. Arrange customs and other "courtesies of the port" for visiting foreign officials.

20. Help new diplomatic missions set up their embassies.

21. Maintain and update the United States Order of Precedence List.



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