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Soviet Union

The Council of Ministers and Its Presidium

The Presidium of the Council of Ministers also had foreign policy duties in its role as head of the executive branch of the government. The 1977 Constitution specified that the Council of Ministers be elected at a joint session of the Supreme Soviet and be constitutionally accountable to the Supreme Soviet (see Administrative Organs , ch. 8). The foreign policy duties of the Council of Ministers were not specified in the 1977 Constitution, beyond a general statement that the council was to "provide general direction in regard to relations with other states, foreign trade, and economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation of the Soviet Union with other countries; take measures to ensure fulfillment of the Soviet Union's international treaties; and ratify and repudiate international agreements." These duties were carried out by the various ministries and state committees involved in the execution of foreign policy. The chairman of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, as head of government, met with foreign delegations and signed international trade and economic agreements.

In 1989 three ministries and a committee had foreign policy responsibilities: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomatic relations), the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations (trade and arms transfers), the Ministry of Defense (military advisory assistance, use and display of military power abroad, and covert activities through the Main Intelligence Directorate--see Glossary), and the KGB (covert activities through the First Chief Directorate). Many other ministries and state committees and government agencies also had a role in foreign policy execution. These ranged from the Soviet Copyright Agency, which approved foreign requests for reproduction and translation of Soviet media materials, to the State Committee for Foreign Tourism, of which Inturist was a part.

Data as of May 1989