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Can you name the chief diplomat of the United States? Do you know what role this official plays on the world stage? In this lesson, you’ll discover the identity of the chief diplomat, as well his or her importance and responsibilities.

What is a Chief Diplomat?

You may be wondering why you have never heard about the chief diplomat of the United States.

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If so, you’re not alone. What if I told you that the President of the United States is also the chief diplomat? As the leading executive officer in the country, he oversees the nation’s diplomatic relations with other countries, which includes a variety of responsibilities.

Role of a Chief Diplomat

The President of the United States represents the nation both at home and abroad.

Whatever he or she does and says reflects on how the world sees our country. An embarrassing comment or a misspoken word can attract the world’s attention, and not in a good way. In his or her role as chief diplomat, the President of the United States exerts a great deal of influence and performs a number of duties. Let’s look at some of these duties in more detail.

  • Appoint Ambassadors: The President of the United States has the constitutional power to appoint ambassadors, who must be confirmed by the U.

    S. Senate, as well as send or receive ambassadors. By receiving ambassadors or diplomats from foreign countries, the president recognizes the legitimacy of those countries and gives them credibility.

  • Conduct International Negotiations: As chief diplomat, the President of the United States can negotiate agreements and treaties with other countries, which must also be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Although the president is supposed to take Congress’s advice when conducting diplomacy, the current officeholder may participate in informal diplomacy with leaders from other countries.
  • Establish Foreign Policy: In his or her role as chief diplomat, the president also works independently and in partnership with the U.S. Congress to establish foreign policy and develop responses to international situations.

    For example, the president can implement policy, make policy statements or propose legislation.

  • Serve as National Spokesperson: As the face of our nation, the President of the United States speaks for the country in inaugural addresses and state of the union messages, which can often include statements about foreign policy and international events.
  • Travel Abroad: As chief diplomat, presidents of the 20th century frequently travel abroad. Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to travel to another country when he visited Panama City to see how the Panama Canal was coming along.

Examples of Famous Chief Diplomats

In a letter written while he was still Governor of New York, President Teddy Roosevelt quoted an African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ The quote served as the inspiration for his Big Stick Diplomacy, in which the United States tried to avoid problems with other countries, but maintained a strong enough military to make itself intimidating when it needed to be, such as during the Panama Canal and Venezuelan crises. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt, in his role as chief diplomat, met with wartime allies Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences to discuss the defeat of Nazi Germany and the future of post-war Europe. During the 1950s and 1960s, America’s chief diplomats, including Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, had to deal with the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation.In the latter half of the 20th century, President Richard M. Nixon helped to ease international tensions by visiting Red China, while President Ronald Reagan advocated a policy of ‘peace through strength,’ designed to contain the Soviet Union and build up the defense capabilities of the United States. President George W.

Bush, who interpreted the September 11, 2011 attack on New York City’s World Trade Center as a declaration of war, embarked on a policy of nation building and a ‘War on Terror.’

Lesson Summary

Let’s review! In the United States, the chief diplomat is also the President of the United States. In this influential and sensitive role, the president’s responsibilities include appointing ambassadors, conducting international negotiations and establishing foreign policies. Presidents also receive ambassadors from other countries, which provides the countries withlegitimacy and recognition. The chief diplomat also serves as national spokesperson and travels abroad, through which he sets the tone of how the country deals with and is seen by the world. Famous policies advocated by past chief diplomats include President Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ and President George W.

Bush’s ‘War on Terror.’

Learning Outcomes

Some of the benefits of watching this lesson on chief diplomats could include your ability to subsequently:

  • Explain the role of a chief diplomat
  • Examine the duties of the President of the United States
  • Cite examples of famous chief diplomats

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