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Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State - Duties and Job Description

Updated on May 16, 2013

So Exactly What Does a Secretary of State Do?

Upon hearing the news that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had accepted Barack Obama's offer to be the next Secretary of State, I got to wondering exactly what is a Secretary of State anyway? I mean, hey now, I know it's an important role, but what does this "Secretary of State" really do?

I thought of a few scenarios based on the title "Secretary of State" - just a few things that I thought Hillary may have to do in her new

Answering the phone calls for all of the states. She will be the major switchboard operator, sort of like the switchboard operators we used to see on Lassie, with multiple phone lines going on all at once....

Schwarzenegger calling from California....asking Hillary questions like: Hilluuureee.... (can you hear the accent?) Can you please have Mr. Biiidun call me as soon as he gets a chance to look at my latest script?

And then the other governors and mayors...blowing up her phone...Hillary juggling to be secretary to all the states...staplers notes all over the walls...memos scattered all over her desk from all the other secretaries in all the other states...



Hillary Rodham Clinton official photo


I Certainly Didn't Get Points for Government Class

So yes as you can tell I certainly wasn't a government and/or history buff in school as I certainly don't know my Secretary of States role from a hole in the ground - but being the inquisitive soul that I am - I certainly think it's NEVER to late to learn something in the quest for the truth of Mrs. Clinton's new role - my curiosity was certainly piqued... and with a little research I was able to come up with the duties that Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be facing as the next Secretary of State (this is not by any means all of the duties but the main ones are listed below)

Her main "job description" is here:

Under the Constitution, the President of the United States determines U.S. foreign policy. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.

And more in detail duties below:

The "Real Duties" of a Secretary of State

  • Serves as the President’s principal adviser on U.S. foreign policy;
  • Conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs;
  • Grants and issues passports to American citizens and exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States;
  • Advises the President on the appointment of U.S. ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives;
  • Advises the President regarding the acceptance, recall, and dismissal of the representatives of foreign governments;
  • Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies;
  • Negotiates, interprets, and terminates treaties and agreements;
  • Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries;
  • Supervises the administration of U.S. immigration laws abroad;
  • Provides information to American citizens regarding the political, economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian conditions in foreign countries;
  • Informs the Congress and American citizens on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations;
  • Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the United States and other countries;
  • Administers the Department of State;
  • Supervises the Foreign Service of the United States.

The Secretary of State Handles Delicate Foreign Affairs

So wow after reading up on the Secretary of States duties I was quite impressed. Not at all as I had envisioned, with some mad woman as a switchboard operator handling multiple calls for all the states... Instead Clinton will be handling a lot of the delicate foreign relations duties for the United States of America - quite an impressive role.

I have to admit, before I became an Obama supporter, I was a Hillary Clinton supporter - and have always been a big fan of her calm and quiet reserve. Her tenacity to get a job done and to stand by her man through thick and thin has made me respect her more and more over the years.... so Hillary, congratulations on your new role as Secretary of State...I think you are one awesome woman, and one awesome leader...and Hillary?

When you give up your switchboard job can you send me an application please?

(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer and publisher on the web)

Poll on the New Secretary of State

Do You Think Hillary Clinton Will Do A Good Job As Secretary of State?

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Submit a Comment
  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    Thank you so much Thyda. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • profile image

    Thyda Roth 

    7 years ago

    Hello, i really like all of your writing and i love your attitude ,your behavior and your wonderful .......

  • profile image

    Jersey shore 

    8 years ago


  • profile image


    10 years ago

    This was great reading material, hey and i learned a little as well.

  • Chloe Comfort profile image

    Chloe Comfort 

    10 years ago from Long Island

    Great hub! I also am a Hillary supporter and I think that her new job will help pave the way for her to take over as president after Obama.

  • Dottie1 profile image


    10 years ago from MA, USA

    I voted yes for Hillary. I think she will do a great job. I have confidence in dee woman. And Dorsi, I love your humor woven through this article.

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    10 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    You all are great, stopping by, making me laugh and making me think harder too!

    I'm checking into that whole confirmation thing, and as far as a "formal" announcement that she has accepted the job as secretary of state, it won't be until after Thanksgiving!

  • Seabastian profile image


    10 years ago from Raleigh

    You left out an important part of her duties. In addition to the phones she should also be able to serve coffee properly for all the visiting foreigh dignitaries.

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 

    10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Does she have to be confirmed by the Senate or Congress?

  • Lissie profile image

    Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

    10 years ago from New Zealand

    Good one Dorsi: did you have written in advance waiting for the anoucement ?

  • hubby7 profile image


    10 years ago from Chicago

    Hi Dorsi, I couldn't leave without pointing out just what it was that left me in stitches: Your comment about Clinton being secretary of all the states and the picture of "her" at the switchboard taking all of these messages with sticky notes and so forth. Your humor boards on the Aspergarist.


  • hubby7 profile image


    10 years ago from Chicago

    Hi Dorsi, I enjoyed the humor in your post. I thought for a moment that you had been smitten by the Palin bug of for a minute. Again, nice post.



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