US Supreme Court Decisions On-Line | US Laws

§ 42. —  Same; custody and use of.

[Laws in effect as of January 24, 2002]
[Document not affected by Public Laws enacted between
  January 24, 2002 and December 19, 2002]
[CITE: 4USC42]

                           CHAPTER 2--THE SEAL
Sec. 42. Same; custody and use of

    The Secretary of State shall have the custody and charge of such 
seal. Except as provided by section 2902(a) of title 5, the seal shall 
not be affixed to any instrument without the special warrant of the 
President therefor.

(July 30, 1947, ch. 389, 61 Stat. 643; Pub. L. 89-554, Sec. 2(a), Sept. 
6, 1966, 80 Stat. 608.)


    1966--Pub. L. 89-554 struck out provisions which required the 
Secretary of State to make out and record, and to affix the seal to, all 
civil commissions for officers of the United States appointed by the 
President. See section 2902(a) of Title 5, Government Organization and 

      Ex. Ord. No. 10347. Affixing of Seal Without Special Warrant

    Ex. Ord. No. 10347, Apr. 18, 1952, 17 F.R. 3521, as amended by Ex. 
Ord. No. 11354, May 23, 1967, 32 F.R. 7695; Ex. Ord. No. 11517, Mar. 19, 
1970, 35 F.R. 4937, provided:
    By virtue of the authority vested in me by section 301 of title 3 of 
the United States Code (section 10, Public Law 248, approved October 31, 
1951, 65 Stat. 713), and as President of the United States, I hereby 
authorize and direct the Secretary of State to affix the Seal of the 
United States, pursuant to section 42 of title 4 of the United States 
Code [this section], without any special warrant therefor, other than 
this order, to each document included within any of the following 
classes of documents when such document has been signed by the President 
and, in the case of any such document to which the counter-signature of 
the Secretary of State is required to be affixed, has been counter-
signed by the said Secretary:
    1. Proclamations by the President of treaties, conventions, 
protocols, or other international agreements.
    2. Instruments of ratification of treaties.
    3. Full powers to negotiate treaties and to exchange ratifications.
    4. Letters of credence and recall and other communications from the 
President to heads of foreign governments.
    5. Exequaturs issued to those foreign consular officers in the 
United States whose commissions bear the signature of the chief of state 
which they represent.