The State Department helps formulate and implement the President's foreign policy. The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs advises the Secretary and guides the operation of the U.S. diplomatic establishment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Topics ranging from Arms Control to Women's issues are included in the Issues and Press section. Since the 1994 Summit of the Americas, the State Department has served as the informal secretariat of the process.
Archival electronic material from the Department of State is maintained in the Electronic Research Collection, by the Daley Library at the University of Chicago.
State Department publications with country-specific information include:
- Background Notes, short overviews of basic information about countries;
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, annual reports to the U.S. Congress;
- Diplomatic List, published quarterly, this contains the names of members of the diplomatic staffs of all missions in the U.S. and their spouses.
- Foreign Consular Offices in the United States, updated several times a year, contains a complete and official listing of the foreign consular offices in the United States, and recognized consular officers.
- Foreign Entry Requirements, information on visas needed for travel to foreign countries;
- Foreign Relations of the United States, the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. Online volumes contain information from the early 1960's, including Cuba, 1961-62, and the Cuban Missle Crisis & Aftermath, 1961-1963;
- International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, issued annually since 1987, this "provides the factual basis for the Presidential narcotics certification determinations for major drug producing and/or drug-transit countries." Reports from 1996 are available.
- International Religious Freedom Report, This Annual Report includes 192 country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide.
- Patterns of Global Terrorism, a yearly review of international acts of terrorism