The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory. The Pope is the ruler of both Vatican City State and the Holy See. The Holy See, as the supreme body of government of the Catholic Church, is a sovereign juridical entity under international law. The United States maintained a presence in Rome throughout the nineteenth century. The United States at different times had a Minister to the Papal States, Minister to the Pontifical States, and finally, a Minister to Rome from 1848-1870.Throughout much of the twentieth century, successive U.S. Presidents sent designated personal envoys to visit the Holy See periodically for discussions of international humanitarian and political issues. The United States and the Holy See announced the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1984.
The United States and the Holy See consult and cooperate on international issues of mutual interest, including human rights, peace and conflict prevention, poverty eradication and development, environmental protection, and inter-religious understanding. The United States and the Holy See enjoy a positive relationship that serves to amplify a global message of peace, freedom, and justice.
The Holy See and the United States both are members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Holy See also is an observer to a number of international organizations of which the United States is a member. Today, the U.S. embassy is in Rome. For more information on our relationship with the Holy See, please click here.
Source, United States Department of State, Office of the Historian and Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.