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William J Burns, current Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

The Under Secretary for Political Affairs is the third ranking position in the United States Department of State, after the Secretary and the Deputy Secretaries. The Under Secretary serves as the day-to-day manager of overall regional and bilateral policy issues, and oversees the bureaus for Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Near East, South Asia, the Western Hemisphere, International Organizations, and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. The Under Secretary is advised by Assistant Secretaries of the geographic bureaus, who guide U.S. diplomatic missions within their regional jurisdiction.[1] The most recent Under Secretary was R. Nicholas Burns, who was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in by the Secretary of State on March 17, 2005 after being appointed by the President.[2] Burns retired from the Foreign Service in 2008; current United States Ambassador to Russia William Joseph Burns (no relation) has been nominated to replace him.

The political bureaus were first overseen in 1949 by a Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs. Prior to the creation of the position of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in August 1959, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs assisted the Secretary and Under Secretary of State in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. After August 1959, the Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs served as a focal point for interdepartmental relations, especially those dealing with politico-military issues. During 1969, the Department discontinued the position and created a new Bureau for Politico-Military Affairs, which exists today as the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs under another Under Secretary.[3][4]

List of Under Secretaries for Political Affairs[4]

Name State of Residency Appointment Entry on Duty Termination of Appointment
Robert D. Murphy Wisconsin August 12, 1959 August 14, 1959 December 3, 1959
Livingston T. Merchant District of Columbia December 1, 1959 December 4, 1959 January 31, 1961
George C. McGhee Texas November 29, 1961 December 4, 1961 March 27, 1963
W. Averell Harriman New York April 4, 1963 April 4, 1963 March 17, 1965
Eugene V. Rostow Connecticut October 13, 1966 October 14, 1966 January 20, 1969
U. Alexis Johnson California February 7, 1969 February 7, 1969 February 1, 1973
William J. Porter Massachusetts February 2, 1973 February 2, 1973 February 18, 1974
Joseph John Sisco Maryland February 11, 1974 February 19, 1974 June 30, 1976
Philip C. Habib California June 16, 1976 July 1, 1976 April 1, 1978
David D. Newsom California April 13, 1978 April 19, 1978 February 27, 1981
Walter J. Stoessel, Jr. California February 27, 1981 February 28, 1981 January 26, 1982
Lawrence S. Eagleburger Florida February 11, 1982 February 12, 1982 May 1, 1984
Michael Hayden Armacost Maryland May 17, 1984 May 18, 1984 March 2, 1989
Robert Michael Kimmitt Virginia March 2, 1989 March 2, 1989 August 23, 1991
Arnold Lee Kanter Virginia October 4, 1991 October 4, 1991 January 20, 1993
Peter Tarnoff New York March 11, 1993 March 11, 1993 April 18, 1997
Thomas R. Pickering New Jersey May 27, 1997 May 27, 1997 December 31, 2000
Marc Isaiah Grossman Virginia March 23, 2001 March 26, 2001
R. Nicholas Burns Massachusetts March 18, 2005 March 18, 2005 February 29, 2008
William Joseph Burns February 29, 2008 May 13, 2008

References

  1. ^ ""Under Secretary for Political Affairs"". http://www.state.gov/p/. Retrieved September 20, 2007.  
  2. ^ ""Burns, R. Nicholas"". http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/6198.htm. Retrieved September 20, 2007.  
  3. ^ ""History of the U.S. Department of State"". http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/dephis.html. Retrieved September 20, 2007.  
  4. ^ a b ""Under Secretaries of State for Political Affairs"". http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/12038.htm. Retrieved September 20, 2007.  
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