The Department’s regional bureaus oversee the U.S. embassies and consulates and coordinate U.S. foreign relations in their respective geographic areas. Assistant Legal Advisers supervise the attorneys who support those bureaus, dealing with such matters as protection of U.S. citizens and investments, problems in diplomatic and consular relations, interpretation and negotiation of treaties, military base rights and status of force issues, peaceful settlement of disputes, and trade matters. Among the issues and the activities which draw on the Offices’ legal staff in the various regions are the following:
Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs (L/AN): Support for the Middle East peace process; the Multinational Force and Observers and U.N. peacekeeping forces; international terrorism; litigation in U.S. courts involving countries and officials in the region; relations with the governments of Africa and regional and sub-regional organizations; conflict resolution and peace agreements; armed conflict and related U.N. Security Council actions; border questions; military facility and status of forces agreements; U.S. cooperation in developing legal and political institutions in the region; International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and restrictions on assistance to or conducting business with certain countries in the region.
Office of Afghanistan, Pakistan, South and Central Asian Affairs (L/ASCA): U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, civilian-military cooperation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, reintegration and reconciliation, bilateral Strategic Partnerships, war crimes accountability and human rights issues, annual bilateral consultations with Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, the northern Distribution Network, the Durand Line, and the Indus Waters Treaty.
Office of East Asia and Pacific Affairs (L/EAP): U.S. commitments in East Asia and the Pacific, including U.S. bilateral defense treaties and the Compacts of Free Association; legal issues related to the U.S. military presence in Australia, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines; relations with the People’s Republic of China (including a high-level Legal Experts Dialogue on human rights and the rule of law); commercial, cultural and other nongovernmental relations with Taiwan; legal issues related to U.S. policy toward Cambodia, Myanmar/Burma and Vietnam; Six Party Talks and related initiatives involving North Korea and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; support for the peaceful management of territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea in accordance with international law; and support for U.S. regional diplomacy in East Asia and Pacific, including ASEAN, APEC, and the Pacific Island Forum.
Office of European Affairs (L/EUR): The European Union; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); the NATO alliance and defense cooperation issues; democratization and assistance to Eastern Europe and the successor states to the former Soviet Union; and bilateral issues with countries in the region.
Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs (L/WHA): Relations with the governments of Canada, Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean; issues concerning U.S. participation in the Organization of American States; Cuba, including assets control, U.S. rights at Guantanamo, Helms-Burton Act issues; illegal migration and refugee issues; Haiti, in particular, foreign assistance issues; and domestic and international litigation relating to U.S. activities in the region.