|For information relating to first contact in Star Trek canon, see first contact. For more information relating to first contact in Star Trek fanon, see first contact.|
For the United Federation of Planets, the Prime Directive prohibited first contact until a species reached a certain technological level, like testing warp drive. Contact prior to that was prohibited, in part to avoid cultural contamination. (Star Trek: The Next Generation: "First Contact")
On a Starfleet starship, the commanding officer was usually responsible for heading first contact situations. The ship's counselor and chief linguistics officer, where the ship had these people, also assisted.
Notable first contacts
Starfleet Captain Thekla Lawless was responsible for making first contact with several important species, including the Kartaali in 2315. Throughout her further 15 years as USS Cantabrian's commanding officer, she maintained regular contact with the Kartaali, who highly regarded her. (Star Trek: The Cantabrian Expeditions: "The Fire in Which We Burn")
During his time commanding the Cantabrian between 2330 and 2341, Captain Jack Annand became known as a charismatic and charming commanding officer, making many successful first contacts with various Beta Quadrant powers. ((Star Trek: The Cantabrian Expeditions: "The Stars Fill the Sky, So in Love with You Am I"))
Cantabrian commanding officer Captain Josiah Mwangi made first contact with the Wthaure sometime between 2347 and 2361. (Star Trek: The Cantabrian Expeditions: "The Stars Fill the Sky, So in Love with You Am I")
In 2367, the USS Galaxy made first contact with the elusive Lelari, and, without Benjamin's help, the first contact may not have been so successful. The Lelari were so impressed with Caldwell's abilities that they requested a cultural exchange officer, and the Galaxy's commanding officer urged Benjamin to undertake this experience.
In 2371, Rear Admiral Alexandra de Groot tasked the crew of the USS Prospect (NCC-60056) with making first contact with the Founders of the Dominion. It ended in disaster. (Star Trek: The Prospect Chronicles: "Pure Massacre")