In many countries, the head of government and the head of state are two different people. In those countries, the president is the country's main diplomat and makes appearances and speeches, and the prime minister wields executive power in the government. In America, the president is the chief executive and the Secretary of State does most of the diplomacy.
The members of America's executive branch other than the president are called secretaries instead of ministers. This is partly because America wanted to separate itself from Great Britain, where ministers derive their authority from the monarch.
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