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BACKGROUND NOTES. 1989 Apr; 1-4.Rome surrounds the State of the Vatican City which provides the territorial base of the Holy See, i.e. the central government of the Roman Catholic Church. The population consists of 1000 people mostly of Italian or Swiss nationality, while the work force includes 4000 individuals. Even though Italian is commonly used, official acts of the Holy See are written in Latin. When Italy unified in 1861, the Kingdom of Italy ruled over most of the Papal States, except Rome and its environs, until 1870 at which time Rome was forced to join the Kingdom. On February 11, 1929, the Italian Government and the Holy See signed an agreement recognizing the independence and sovereignty of the Holy See and creating the State of the Vatican City, fixing relations between the church and the government, and providing the Holy See compensation for its financial losses. Pope John Paul II, the first nonItalian Pope in almost 5 centuries and a Pole, is the present leader of the Legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the Holy See and the State. The Roman Curia and its staff, the Papal Civil Service, assists the Pope in ruling the Holy See. The Curia, directed by the Secretariat of State, includes 9 Congregations, 3 Tribunals, 12 Pontifical Councils, and offices that handle church affairs at the highest level. Since the 4th century, the Holy See has had diplomatic relations with other sovereign states and continues so today. Presently, it has nearly 80 permanent diplomatic missions in other countries and carries on diplomatic relations with 119 nations. In addition, the HOly See participates in diplomatic activities with international organizations which include the UN in New York and Geneva, UNESCO, the European Economic Community, and other related organizations. The United States has had relations with the Papal States form 1797-1870. The US and the Holy See reestablished diplomatic relations on January 10, 1984.