How to Prepare Correspondence for the Secretary's Signature
Updated 04/13/06

(Sample Basic Letter)

Font. Use the Times New Roman 12 point font.

Inside Address. Name; title (when appropriate); organization (when appropriate); street address or P.O. Box; and the city, state and zip code of the person to whom the Secretary is writing.  

Name. Members of Congress are addressed as "The Honorable (name of Representative or Senator)" on the same line. This rule also applies to Cabinet members, American Ambassadors, state Governors and other high-ranking officials. Foreign Ministers/heads of state are addressed as "His Excellency" or "Her Excellency" on one line, followed by a second line with the official's name.

Title. Short titles, such as "President," are followed by the name of the organization on the same line; for example, "President, American Dream." If the organization has a long name, carry over the name to the next line and indent to the third space (see sample letter attached). For longer titles, use one line for the title and a third line, flush with the left margin, for the organization. For example, put "Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board" on one line and the company, "American Dream," on the next line.

Street/P.O. Box. Use the street address or a P.O. Box, but not both.

City, State, Zip Code. There should be two spaces between the state and the zip code. Foreign addresses may have no zip codes.

Salutation. "Dear - usually Mr. or Ms. (last name)." A Representative is addressed as "Dear Representative (last name)" and a Senator as "Dear Senator (last name)." The ITA Secretariat website provides examples of other salutations.

Body of Letter. Left margin is justified.

Complimentary Close. Hit return key twice, tab to position 4.5" and type "Sincerely" for the complimentary close.

Signature Block. Hit return key five times, tab to the 4.5" position, and type "Carlos M. Gutierrez " for the signature.


For additional information, contact: The ITA Secretariat at (202) 482-5101 or access our website at