The United States maintains diplomatic relations with some 180 countries and also maintains relations with many international organizations. It has more than 250 diplomatic and consular posts around the world: country mission components which may include embassies, consulates, or other posts; and delegations and missions to international organizations.
Foreign Affairs Agencies
The Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. It advances U.S. objectives and interests in shaping a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through formulating, representing, and implementing the President’s foreign policies. The Secretary of State, the ranking member of the Cabinet and fourth in line of presidential succession, is the President’s principal adviser on foreign policy and the person chiefly responsible for U.S. representation abroad. Related foreign affairs agencies – like the Agency for International Development – are under the general direction and overall foreign policy guidance of the Secretary of State.
U.S. Embassy Minsk is among many of overseas sites where American citizens can take the Foreign Service examination.
Structure, Staff, and Services
Department of State employees at missions comprise U.S.-based political appointees and career diplomats; and Foreign Service nationals. The latter are local residents, who provide continuity for the transient American staff and have language and cultural expertise; they also get employed at post by other agencies. Other executive branch agencies represented may include the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, and Justice (the Immigration and Naturalization Service – INS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Other U.S. Government agencies also make vital contributions to the success of U.S. foreign relations and in promoting U.S. interests. The purpose of the Embassy and its sections is outlined in the Mission Statement and the functions of the Embassy officials.
The Embassy, headed by the Chief of Mission, does the usual scope of political and economic reporting and advises the U.S. Government on developments in Belarus. Consular services are provided by the Embassy to the Belarusian public and economic entities. The Information Resource Center of the Public Affairs Section is a professionally equipped and staffed facility to fulfil requests of local patrons for information on U.S. legislation, business and American society in general. The Embassy also conducts the U.S. Government’s public awareness campaigns. The Democracy Commission has been set up at the Embassy to encourage and sustain the development of independent media, civil society, and the rule of law in Belarus.