What is a Diplomatic Mission?

A diplomatic mission is an entity that permanently represents a sending state in a receiving state. It is machinery for conducting the foreign policy of a nation. A diplomatic mission is the primary organ functioning for the foreign policy of any state. It has the responsibility to establish bilateral relationships in diverse sectors, protect and promote national interests, and provide inputs for policy formulation.

A diplomatic mission links the sending state to the receiving government or international organization. According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, a diplomatic mission is established only after the establishment of diplomatic relations between states by mutual consent.

Types of Diplomatic Mission

Basically, there are two widely known types of diplomatic missions. They are:

1. Internal Diplomatic Mission

Within a stat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the legitimate diplomatic mission because every official activity, the conclusion of treaties, and representations in foreign diplomatic missions at the capital are acted through the foreign ministry.

Diplomats of sending states who assume their offices in their own capital city have to execute every activity concerning international relations through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2. External Mission/Missions Abroad

Diplomatic missions working beyond the territory of the state are external missions. For example, embassies are forms of external diplomatic missions. External diplomatic missions can be divided into two types:

    • Permanent Missions: These are either established by the sending state and/or by inter-governmental organizations. Embassies, UN offices, etc. are permanent missions.
    • Temporary/Ad hoc/ Special Missions: These are diplomatic missions established either by a state and/or by an international organization for a specific purpose and for a limited time. Such missions and officials are recalled once the special assignment is completed, or such a ceremonious occasion no more requires the presence of diplomats.
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What are the Functions of Diplomatic Missions?

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 has outlined the functions of a diplomatic mission as:

    1. Representing the sending state in the receiving state.
    1. Protecting in the receiving state the interests of the sending state and of its nationals, within the limits permitted by international law.
    1. Negotiating with the government of the receiving state.
    1. Ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving state and reporting thereon to the government of the sending state.
    1. Promoting friendly relations between the sending state and the receiving state and developing their economic, cultural, and scientific relations.
    1. Act as the public notary by executing the daily official functions of issuing passports, granting visas, registration of birth, marriage, and death of nationals.

Briefly, the functions of diplomatic missions are:

a. representing,

b. protecting national interests,

c. negotiating,

d. reporting,

e. promoting friendly relations,

f. acting as a public notary.

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