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