Chief Diplomat: Definition, Role & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is a Chief Diplomat?
  • 0:22 Role of a Chief Diplomat
  • 2:11 Examples of Famous…
  • 3:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Flint Johnson

Flint has tutored mathematics through precalculus, science, and English and has taught college history. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow

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. 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.

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