Secretary of State

Secretary of State in the United States

Secretary of State Definition

The word “secretary” is synonymous with the word “clerk” or “scribe,” and it means a person employed to write orders, records and the like, so that the title “Secretary of State,” in and of itself implies an officer who is charged with the duties of keeping the official records of the State, not only as regards the acts and doings of the chief executive, but of the legislative branch as well. (1)

Secretaries of State As Interim

Persons who perform the duties of Secretary of State during a period when there is no Secretary of State in office — during a period, that is, between the retirement, dismissal, or death of one Secretary of State and his successor’s entry upon the duties of the office — are usually referred to collectively as Secretaries of State ad interim. There is no statutory provision specifying the title to be used in these circumstances. Since Jefferson took office as the first Secretary of State there have been thirty-one periods of service of Secretaries of State ad interim. In the case of six of these periods the persons who served as Secretary ad interim were ones who, at some other time or times, held formal commissions as Secretary of State. These persons were Timothy Pickering, John Marshall (two periods), James Monroe, Abel P. Upshur, and Robert Lansing.

Listed below are the persons who have acted as Secretary of State when that office was vacant, with the following information on each: name, legal residence, government position held at the time (if any), title used while acting as Secretary of State (if known) , and dates during which each person was in charge of the Department of State.

  • Timothy Pickering, of Pennsylvania (Secretary of War): Executing the office of Secretary of State August 20— December 9, 1795.
  • Charles Lee, of Virginia (Attorney General): Executing the office of Secretary of State, and also Secretary of State ad interim May 1 3—June 5, 1800.
  • John Marshall, of Virginia (Chief Justice of the United States): Acting as Secretary of State February 4— March 4, 1801 .
  • Levi Lincoln, of Massachusetts (Attorney General): Acting as Secretary of State March 5— May 1 , 1801.
  • James Monroe, of Virginia (Secretary of War): Acting Secretary of State October 1 , 1 814— February 28, 1815.
  • John Graham, of Virginia (Chief Clerk): March 4-9, 1817.
  • Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania (Attorney General): Acting Secretary of State March 10— September 22, 1817.
  • Daniel Brent, of Virginia (Chief Clerk): March 4-7, 1825.
  • James A. Hamilton, of New York: Acting Secretary of State March 4—27, 1829.
  • Jacob L. Martin, of North Carolina (Chief Clerk): Acting Secretary of State March 4—5, 1841.
  • Hugh S. Legare, of South Carolina (Attorney General): Secretary of State ad interim May 9— June 20, 1843-
  • William S. Derrick, of Pennsylvania (Chief Clerk): Acting Secretary of State June 21 — 23, 1843.
  • Abel P. Upshur, of Virginia (Secretary of the Navy): Secretary of State ad interim June 24— July 23, 1843.
  • John Nelson, of Maryland (Attorney General): Secretary of State ad interim February 29— March 31 , 1844.
  • Charles M. Conrad, of Louisiana (Secretary of War): Acting Secretary of State October 25— November 5, 1852.
  • William Hunter Jr., of Rhode Island (Chief Clerk): Acting Secretary of State March 4—7, 1853, and December 15—16. 1860.
  • William F. Wharton, of Massachusetts (Assistant Secretary): Acting Secretary of State June 4—29, 1892, and February 24— March 6, 1893.
  • Edwin F. Uhl, of Michigan (Assistant Secretary): Acting Secretary of State May 28— J une 9, 1895.
  • Alvey A. Adee, of the District of Columbia (Second Assistant Secretary): Acting Secretary of State September 17—29, 1898.
  • Francis B. Loomis, of Ohio (Assistant Secretary): July 1-18, 1905.
  • Robert Lansing, of New York (Counselor): Secretary of State ad interim June 9—23, 1915.
  • Frank Lyon Polk, of New York (Under Secretary): Acting Secretary of State February 14— March 14, 1920.
  • Joseph C. Grew, of New Hampshire (Under Secretary): Acting Secretary of State June 28— July 3, 1945.
  • H. Freeman Matthews, of Maryland (Deputy Under Secretary): Secretary of State ad interim January 20—21, 1953.
  • Livingston T. Merchant, of the District of Columbia (Under Secretary for Political Affairs): Secretary of State ad interim January 20—21, 1961.
  • Charles E. Bohlen, of the District of Columbia (Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs): Acting Secretary of State January 20—22, 1969.
  • Kenneth Rush, of New York (Deputy Secretary): Acting Secretary of State September 3—22, 1973.
  • Philip C. Habib, of New York (Under Secretary for Political Affairs): Secretary of State ad interim January 20—23, 1977.

Resources

Notes

1. This definition of Secretary Of State Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary

See Also

Ambassadors and Consuls; Arms Control and Disarmament; International Law; State Department.

Further Reading (Articles)

India : Agriculture Secretary Asks States to Plan for Adequate Quality Seed in Rabi, Mena Report; September 26, 2013

UNITED KINGDOM: NEW SECRETARY OF STATES REPRESENTATIVE APPOINTED, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; November 12, 2007

Illinois Transportation Secretary, State and Local Officials Discuss Proposed Illiana Expressway and Upcoming Mpo Policy Committee Vote, States News Service; October 16, 2013

Defense Secretary Hagel: States Refusing Same-Sex Family Benefits Must Comply, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; November 3, 2013

U.S. Commerce Secretary: United States won’t tolerate unfair practices in China, AP Worldstream; November 20, 2003

HHS SECRETARY LEAVITT STATES THAT MANAGED CARE PLANS SHOULD OPERATE UNDER SAME PRICE STRUCTURE AS OTHER PROVIDERS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; February 8, 2006

New health secretary tells states to clean up their act on Medicaid, Charleston Daily Mail; February 2, 2005; THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

BUSH NEEDS SECRETARY OF STATES, Dayton Daily News (Dayton, OH); February 12, 2003

DEP SECRETARY DEFENDS STATES’ ABILITY TO REGULATE HYDRAULIC FRACTURING, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; November 18, 2011

PRESIDENT HOLLANDE HOLDS TALKS WITH US TREASURY SECRETARY UNITED STATES/G20 – MEETING BETWEEN M. FRANAs.OIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, AND MR JACK LEW, AMERICAN SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY – COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC, States News Service; January 7, 2014

U.S. Education secretary advises states to put students first when making education cuts, Oakland Tribune; March 4, 2011; Theresa Harrington

Md. Health Secretary: State Exchange Site’s Glitches Could Force Overhaul or Abandonment, The Washington Post; January 15, 2014; Johnson, Jenna

Glickman plans organic-food rules; Agriculture secretary: State standards will be replaced, he says, Telegraph – Herald (Dubuque); December 9, 2000; ASSOCIATED PRESS

ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT ISSUES JUDGEMENT REGARDING ‘VISHWANATH SINGH YADAV VS B.K. MITTAL HOME SECRETARY, STATE GOVERNMENT, OTHERS’, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; July 30, 2010

KENTUCKY SECRETARY OF STATE GRAYSON LAUNCHES NEW SECRETARY OF STATE HISTORY WEBPAGE WITH FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; November 28, 2006

SECRETARY OF STATE MCPHERSON APPOINTS CHIEF ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ELECTIONS, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; May 16, 2006

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON DELIVERS REMARKS WITH UK SECRETARY OF STATE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND OWEN PATERSON, AS RELEASED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT, Political Transcript Wire; October 19, 2010

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS KURT M. CAMPBELL AND SENIOR COORDINATOR FOR CHINA AFFAIRS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY DAVID LOEVINGER HOLDS A STATE DEPARTMENT NEWS BRIEFING ON SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON’S UPCOMING TRAVEL TO THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION, Political Transcript Wire; October 26, 2010

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS THOMAS A. SHANNON AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ECONOMIC, ENERGY, AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS DANIEL SULLIVAN HOLD A STATE DEPARTMENT NEWS BRIEFING ON THE SECRETARY’S TRIP TO COLOMBIA, Political Transcript Wire; January 23, 2008

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION AFFAIRS KRISTEN SILVERBERG HOLDS A STATE DEPARTMENT NEWS BRIEFING ON SECRETARY RICE’S SCHEDULE AND U.S. PRIORITY ISSUES FOR THE U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Political Transcript Wire; September 21, 2007

Secretary of State: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Secretary of State. This part provides references, in relation to Secretary of State, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Secretary of State by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Secretary of State and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Secretary of State or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Secretary of State and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Secretary of State. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Secretary of State should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Secretary of State when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

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