Archive | March, 2014

56. The Charge d’Affaires

22 Mar

The Charge d’Affaires

1. In the absence of a head of mission from the country of post, the mission appoints a charge d’affaires, a term used for preserving the tradition of using French for certain aspects of diplomacy.

2. In the field of diplomatic law there are two categories of charge d’affaires. These are the “ad hoc” and the “ad interim (a.i)”

3. The charge d’affaires ad hoc is a “permanent” head of mission unlike the charge d’affaires ad interim who, obviously, is a “temporary” head of mission.

4. A charge d’affaires ad hoc is appointed when the sending State desires to maintain a mission lower in category than a normal embassy for an extended period either for political reasons or protocol. This official is accredited by a letter signed by the Foreign Minister of the sending country to be delivered in a simple ceremony by the official to the Foreign Minister of the receiving State for accreditation. However, before the official travels to the receiving State, the sending State must first obtain the agrément from the former.

5. The diplomatic mission accredits a charge d’affaires a.i. temporarily in the receiving State or international organisation by sending a diplomatic note to the Foreign Ministry of the receiving State (or to the executive head of the international organisation). Due to the principle “non potest legatus delegare,” the charge d’affaires a.i. cannot transfer the position to another official in the mission.

6. On the return of the ambassador, the position of charge d’affaires terminated, and the usual practice is for the mission to send a diplomatic note to the Foreign Ministry of the receiving State informing of the ambassador’s presence at post.

7. The charge d’affaires a.i. is a member of the diplomatic staff of the mission who occupies the position of head of the Mission during the ambassador’s temporary absence, whether for vacation or official travel, or in the period between the final departure of the ambassador and the presentation of credentials of his successor. In certain cases, a charge d’affaires a.i. may also be appointed when the ambassador is absent for a lengthy period due to illness, even though he is not away from the host State.

8. This type of charge d’affaires, despite its interim nature, may perform functions for long periods, especially when the sending State has “called home” the ambassador for an undetermined period (to express displeasure or because of significant disagreement with the receiving State) among other reasons.

9. For countries with a rigorous diplomatic service, the position of charge d’affaires a.i. is usually performed by the official of the Mission holding the rank just below the level of ambassador, by the career official with the highest ranking in the mission. However, there have been cases of governments appointing “politically loyal” officials in missions to such positions even though they might not have held the highest ranking.

10. A military attaché is not usually appointed to the position as charge d’affaires a.i.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama


55. External Action of the State

6 Mar

External Action of the State

1. Progress and effectiveness in the rules and procedures applied in the external action of the State have been the result of an ongoing evolutionary process in the field of international relations.

2. Its principles represent the accumulated experience of successive generations of notable writers and eminent foreign policy implementers (professional diplomats) who have managed to demonstrate the advantages of consensus versus confrontation in preserving and promoting national interests as they implement the foreign policy of their country.

3. What differentiates diplomacy from other forms of external action is the use of negotiation and other peaceful means as opposed to the use of force as an instrument of foreign policy.

4. The emergence of open diplomacy, breaking the “myth of state secrets,” has created a scenario that allows the participation of various factors that influence the formulation and monitoring of the actions of the foreign policy, such as the public and the media. The latter now have an essential role in the “new” practice of public diplomacy. No doubt, enlightened and convinced public opinion can help to strengthen the State’s foreign policy and its diplomatic skills.

5. The international projection of a country is determined, inter alia, by the quality of its diplomacy, the proper selection of representatives abroad and the strengthening and professionalization of the officials in the foreign service (and the Foreign Ministry).

6. Effective diplomatic representation requires special qualities such as being a genuine representative of the country by being faithfully committed to defending the fundamental interests of the nation. The representation is also required to be equipped with the vocation of service which shall provide, as appropriate, adequate protection of nationals abroad.

7. Most importantly, it must be properly trained to carry out negotiations (at various levels) and, equally essential, to promote and develop of economic, trade, cultural and scientific relations. It must also have the skills for monitoring and reporting within the limits permitted by international law.

8. In assuming responsibility in a foreign post, a diplomat is required to follow the faithful observance of principles, rules and procedures that provide consistency and respectability in conducting his activities. This will assist in consolidating affinities, overcoming differences and encouraging cooperation.

9. The duties of the head of a diplomatic mission include the establishment of management controls that are intended to ensure that officials under his charge faithfully discharge their responsibilities. He may be required to produce annual management plans which should clearly define the objectives and actions as well as programmes on every aspect of their responsibility and jurisdiction. These will allow both the Mission and Foreign Ministry to coordinate easily with each other with respect to the former’s programme.

10. Effective diplomacy requires clear and precise goals and adequate perception of the current international context as well as consistent knowledge of the interests of the nation and how to comply effectively with the obligation to safeguard and promote them.

Editor’s Note: Credits to Amb. Manuel Morales Lama