SIC 9721 International Affairs


SIC 9721

This industry consists of establishments of U.S. and foreign governments primarily engaged in international affairs and programs related to other nations and peoples.



International Affairs


The sovereign states of the world, with their mutual inter-dependence in the midst of economic and political forces, have put new emphasis on the need for friendly relations among nations. The creation of the United Nations at the end of World War II has facilitated consultations and negotiations between the community of states; nevertheless, bilateral contacts through U.S. consular and diplomatic missions remain a key force in official relations between governments. The Department of State works concurrently with U.S. consular and diplomatic missions to represent U.S. interests abroad.


Three main organizations comprise and assist United States foreign relations: the United Nations, the Diplomatic Mission, and Consular Officers and Consular Posts. The United Nations (UN) formally came into existence on October 24, 1945. It was created as a union of nations working to maintain international peace and security and cooperating in establishing political, economic, and social security. The adoption of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations established diplomatic relations, by mutual consent, for one person to act as the envoy of two or more states. An envoy, or diplomatic agent, represents the home state, acts as a government agent, and is an official channel of communication between the governments of the sending and receiving state. The Consular Officer is a representative of the sending state and is primarily concerned with the improvement of commercial and economic relations between the sending and receiving state.

The United Nations

Membership in the UN is open to all peace-loving states that accept the obligations of the United Nations Charter. The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter, are to develop friendly relations among nations; to maintain international peace and security; to cooperate internationally to promote respect for human rights; and to solve international economic, social, and humanitarian problems.

The UN functions in accordance with the following principles: members are sovereign and equal; members are to act according to their charter obligations; members are to refrain in the use of force against any other state; members are to settle international disputes without endangering international peace; members shall not work against the UN in its efforts to act in accordance with the charter; the UN shall ensure that states, which are not members, act accordingly to ensure international peace; and the UN may not interfere within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.

The UN is composed of six principal organs—the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.

The General Assembly consists of all the representatives of the member states. Each member has one vote, and decisions on important matters require a two-thirds majority vote. The General Assembly considers principles of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security; works with the UN budget; elects the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of the Economic and Social Council; jointly elects with the Security Council the judges of the International Court of Justice; and appoints the Secretary-General. In addition, the General Assembly makes recommendations for the peaceful settlement of situations that might impede friendly relations among nations. The Assembly also discusses and makes recommendations on questions relating to international peace and security and international political cooperation.

The Security Council consists of five permanent members and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two terms. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each state has one vote. The functions and powers of the Security Council are to take military action against an aggressor; to maintain international peace and security; to formulate plans to regulate armaments; and to recommend action when there is a threat to peace. The Security Council also investigates disputes that might threaten international peace; recommends terms of settlement to such disputes; proposes economic sanctions in order to prevent aggression; recommends the admission of new members; utilizes the trusteeship functions in strategic areas; recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General; and elects the judges of the International Court.

The Economic and Social Council is responsible for carrying out the functions of the UN with regard to international economic, social, cultural, educational, and health matters. The functions and powers of the Economic and Social Council are making reports and recommendations on international economic, social, cultural, educational, and health matters; serving as the primary forum for the discussion of international economic and social issues; promoting human rights; and consulting with nongovernmental groups concerned with the matters of the council.

The Trusteeship Council consists of one member administering trust territories—the United States. This council provides for an international trusteeship system to protect the interests of the inhabitants of territories that are not yet self-governing. The primary function of the Trusteeship Council is to promote the advancement of the inhabitants of the Trust Territories and their development toward self-government.

The International Court of Justice consists of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly and the Security Council. No two judges can be nationals of the same state. In deciding disputes, the International Court of Justice applies international conventions—establishing rules recognized by the contesting states, the general principles of law recognized by nations, international custom as evidence of general practice accepted as law, and judicial decisions and teachings of qualified publicists—as means for determining the rules of law.

The Secretariat is composed of the secretary-general and an international staff appointed under regulations of the General Assembly. The Secretariat carries out the daily work of the UN both at its headquarters in New York and in its offices abroad. The Secretariat administers peace-keeping operations; monitors international economic and social trends; organizes conferences...

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