Origins of the Presidency and Official Duties

Duties and Powers

What is the president’s role as chief of state?

As the chief of state, the president is the ceremonial head of the United States. Under the Constitution, the president is the federal official primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations. As chief of state, the president appoints ambassadors, ministers, and consuls, subject to confirmation by the Senate, and receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials. With the secretary of state, the president manages all official contacts with foreign governments. On occasion, the president may personally participate in summit conferences where chiefs of state meet for direct consultation.

Through the Department of State, the president is responsible for the protection of Americans abroad and of foreign nationals in the United States. The president decides whether to recognize new nations and new governments, and negotiates treaties with other nations, which become binding on the United States when approved by two-thirds of the Senate.


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