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in international relations.
(1) A generic term for the head of diplomatic missions and members of the diplomatic personnel of the missions. The term diplomatic agent is used in this sense in the Vienna convention of 1961 on diplomatic relations. A diplomatic agent may be the head of a diplomatic mission—ambassador, envoy, and chargé d’affaires—or a member of a diplomatic staff—an attaché, third secretary, second secretary, first secretary, or counselor.
(2) In accordance with the statute on diplomatic and consular missions of foreign countries on the territory of the USSR of May 23, 1966, a diplomatic agent is a functionary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, who is appointed to be in continuous residence in any of several large cities and ports of the USSR with a large foreign population or where considerable transport of foreigners takes place—for example, Odessa and Chita. The duties of the diplomatic agent are defined by the orders of the minister of foreign affairs and consist for the most part in maintaining relations with foreign consular missions, observing and checking on the execution of laws concerning foreigners by local authorities, rendering assistance to traveling officials of government agencies of external relations of the USSR and to official foreign representatives, and also distributing and revising various documents.