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Talks Among Diplomats
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Discussing the Ties Between the Congress and the State Department

After having an interesting tour around the Capitol, the seat of US legislation, a tourist group of foreign students surrounded their American guide, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They poured a forest of questions upon him.

TOURIST A: We are foreigners, and do not know much either about the Congress or the State Department. Do you mind if we ask you some questions?
GUIDE: Of course not. Go ahead. What is it that you'd like to know?
TOURIST B: Does the Congress take part in US foreign policy formulation?
GUIDE: Very much so. The US participation in world affairs since World War II has greatly expanded the role of the Congress in foreign policymaking.
TOURIST C: We thought that this was the competence of the State Department.
GUIDE: This is what the foreigners usually think. The President is the central figure of American foreign policy, and the final responsibility is his.
TOURIST D: And the State Secretary's?-
GUIDE: While the President makes the most critical decisions, he cannot possibly attend to all matters affecting international relations. The Secretary of State, the first-ranking member of the Cabinet, is at the same time the President's principal adviser in formulating foreign policy.
TOURIST A: What are the problems requiring the attention of the Secretary?
GUIDE: They are manifold - from maintaining country's security to rescuing an individual American who got in serious trouble in some remote area of the world.
TOURIST B: And where does the Congress come into picture?
GUIDE: To begin with, none of this country's far-reaching programs - participation in the United Nations, economic, technical and military assistance - would have been possible without congressional action.
TOURIST C: The annual appropriations of funds for enormous military buildup, I presume, need congressional approval, too?
GUIDE: Absolutely so, but only on the recommendations of the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees of both Houses.
TOURIST D: Who are the members of numerous House and Senate Committees?
GUIDE: They are usually experienced and authoritative members of Congress with long service. Their inspections abroad and participation in US delegations to the UN General Assembly and to many other international conferences give them firsthand experience with US foreign problems.
TOURIST A: Who informs the members of Congress on the current foreign policy issues?
GUIDE: The Secretary of State does. He meets regularly with the members of Senate and House Committees and briefs them on a broad range of foreign policy matters. They are kept well-informed of the international developments affecting this country.
TOURIST B: Does the State Department provide these bodies with comprehensive reports on US foreign policy?
GUIDE: To further facilitate the relationship with the Congress, the Secretary of State annually provides the Committees with a comprehensive report on US Foreign Policy.
TOURIST D: Any other channels of communication with the Congress?
GUIDE: Yes, a constant and substantial interchange of views between the members of the Congress and the Department goes on through the Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations.
TOURIST D: Very well, sir. On behalf of the foreign students I should like to thank you for a very interesting and detailed talk on the congressional participation in foreign policymaking.

to rescue - спасать, оказывать помощь
annual appropriations - годовые ассигнования
military buildup - наращивание военных сил
numerous - многочисленный
firsthand experience - личный опыт
a critical decision - решение по важному, не трепящему отлагательства вопросу
to attend to matters - уделять внимание вопросам
the first-ranking member of the Cabinet - член кабинета, занимающий наиболее высокое положение
manifold - многочисленный, разнообразный

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