The Department of State is one of the most important organizations in the executive branch involved in the making of U.S. foreign policy. It is one of four original cabinet departments created as part of the fl edgling government of the United States in 1789-a founding institution as old as the Constitution itself. For more than 150 years the State Department was the lead organization responsible for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. However, its infl uence declined with the onset of the Cold War, containment and deterrent strategies, and presidential eff orts to manage foreign policy.