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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

03. The Department of State's Mission


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Create a more secure, prosperous, and democratic world
for the benefit of the American people.

U.S. diplomacy is an instrument of power, essential for maintaining effective international relationships, and a principal means through which the United States defends its interests, responds to crises and achieves its international goals.  The Department of State is the lead institution for the conduct of American diplomacy, a mission based on the role of the Secretary of State as the President's principal foreign policy adviser.

In order to carry out U.S. foreign policy at home and abroad, the Department of State:

  • Exercises policy leadership, broad interagency coordination, and management of resource allocation for the conduct of foreign relations;
  • Leads representation of the United States overseas and advocates U.S. policies with foreign governments and international organizations;
  • Coordinates, and provides support for, the international activities of U.S. agencies, official visits, and other diplomatic missions—in short, the Diplomatic Readiness of the U.S. Government;
  • Conducts negotiations, concludes agreements, and supports U.S. participation in international negotiations of all types;
  • Coordinates and manages the U.S. Government response to international crises of all types;
  • Carries out public diplomacy and public affairs;
  • Reports on and analyzes international issues of importance to the U.S. Government;
  • Assists U.S. business;
  • Protects and assists American citizens living or traveling abroad;
  • Adjudicates immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to enhance U.S. border security; and
  • Manages those international affairs programs and operations for which State has statutory responsibility.



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