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Department of State (U.S.)

Last modified: 2016-01-02 by rick wyatt
Keywords: state | departmental | united states |
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[Department of State flag] image by Rick Wyatt, 28 August 2013

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The Department of State does not have an official flag. The Secretary of State's flag is often used as if it were the flag of the department.
Joe McMillan, 21 October 2005

Secretary of State

[Secretary of State] image by Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

The Secretary of State was first authorized a flag by President Wilson's Executive Order 3360 of November 28, 1920. The occasion was the impending departure of the Secretary on a visit to South America as the President's special representative, during which the Secretary would be traveling by U.S. Navy ship. It was thought that a personal flag was required for his use as the President's stand-in. According to a booklet in the State Department library, this flag was blue with a rendition of the U.S. coat of arms in gold, flanked by two gold stars. This flag was canceled by Executive Order 6005A of January 21, 1933 (President F. D. Roosevelt's second day in office) and replaced by the present flag, which was authorized by State Department Order 545 the same day.

Secretary of State: "On a blue rectangular field a white disk bearing the official coat of arms of the United States adopted by the act of June 20, 1782, in proper colors. In each of the four corners a white five-pointed star with one point upward. The colors and automobile flag to be the same design, adding a white fringe. For the colors a cord and tassel of blue and white to be added. The sizes to be in accordance with military and naval customs." The indoor version (colors) is therefore 52x66 inches with a 2 1/2 inch fringe.

Source for Description of Flags: Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1, describes this flag and the other "official flags indicative of the office" of the top leadership of the Department of State.

Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

Deputy Secretary of State

[Deputy Secretary of State] image by Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

Deputy Secretary of State: The same design with a white field, blue disk and stars, blue fringe, and blue and white cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

Under Secretaries of State

[Under Secretaries of State] image by Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

Under Secretaries of State: The same design with a red field, white disk and stars, white fringe, and red and white cord and tassels.
Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

Assistant Secretaries of State

There is no distinctive flag for Assistant Secretaries of State. The CFR provides only for these three, and assistant secretaries display only the U.S. flag in their offices. I believe, but am not sure, that one of these three designs may have been used by assistant secretaries before the deputy secretary position was created.
Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999

Flag Usage

The finial for all flags is a gold-colored spearhead.

In addition to indoor and automobile display, the Secretary's flag flies outside the Department of State's C Street entrance to the left of the Stars and Stripes. When the Secretary flies as the senior official on a special air missions aircraft of the 89th Airlift Wing, a replica of the flag is mounted on the inside of the aircraft door to be visible when the secretary arrives and departs.

Joe McMillan, 4 September 1999