Secretary Tillerson Delivers Welcome Remarks to State Department Employees

3 minutes read time

Secretary Tillerson Delivers Welcome Remarks to State Department Employees

On February 2, 2017, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered remarks to employees at the U.S. Department of State’s Harry S. Truman Building. Speaking directly to employees for the first time since his confirmation and swearing-in, Secretary Tillerson said: 

“In the days and weeks ahead we’re going to have plenty of opportunity to discuss in more detail the goals, the priorities, and the strategic direction for our organization.  But for now I really want to take a few minutes to communicate my high regard for the men and women of the State Department and share with you some principles for all of us to live by as we pursue our shared mission.

The individuals who comprise this department are among the finest public servants in the world.  Many of you serve our nation abroad and have served our nation abroad.  State Department staffers in the field are not just conduits for policies and plans; you are our emissaries of our nation and the ideals we stand for.  When people see you, they see America.

When I wake up each morning, the very first thing I ask myself is:  Are all of our people safe? The safety of every single member of our State Department family, regardless of where he or she is posted, is not just a priority for me.  It’s a core value, and it will become a core value of this department. This means the State Department family here in the U.S. and all those agencies serving under chief of missions abroad, including Civil Service; Foreign Service officers and specialists; locally engaged staff of host country and third-country nationals; interns, fellows, support contractors and implementing partners; and not least of all, the family members who support us at home and in our service to our country overseas.

The Foreign Service is not the only component of the State Department.  The Civil Service workforce at the State Department plays an indispensable role in all we achieve, and we cannot attain success without the mission-critical services that you provide.

Though we often live in a world of headlines, working outside of the public eye does not make you any less essential to our operations.  Your dedication, your intelligence, and your sound judgment are the brick and mortar elements of all we do.  We all depend on your good work, and I know it will continue.”

You can read his full remarks here , or watch them on YouTube here.

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on


DipNote Bloggers

Contributor bio

Today, the United States Senate confirmed Philip Goldberg, Charge d'Affaires ad interim at the United States Embassy in Cuba, David Hale, United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Michele Sison, United States Ambassador to Haiti, and Daniel Smith, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, as Career Ambassadors. According to the Foreign Service Act of 1980, the President is empowered with the advice and consent of the Senate to confer the personal rank of Career Ambassador upon a career member of the Senior Foreign Service in recognition of especially distinguished service over a sustained period. There have only been 59 Career Ambassadors confirmed prior to 2018. In recognition of this honor, we congratulate the Ambassadors and invite you to learn more about them. Philip Goldberg