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the members of the diplomatic personnel of diplomatic missions stationed in a given country. In the narrow sense, a diplomatic corps consists of the heads of embassies and legations, who are in residence in a given country. In the broad sense, a diplomatic corps includes all individuals who have been given a diplomatic card by the state of residence, including attaches and sometimes even the personal doctors and secretaries of the ambassador.
In most states it is the practice for the head of a diplomatic mission to submit a list of individuals for whom diplomatic privileges and immunities are required. The protocol section of the ministry of foreign affairs registers this list and then periodically issues a list of all the members of the diplomatic corps. (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR publishes such an official list twice a year.)
The diplomatic corps usually has a senior member (the doyen or dean), who is senior by class and first in terms of the time he has served in the given country in a particular class of diplomatic representation. He instructs his colleagues on local diplomatic customs and heads the diplomatic corps. The seniority of the head of the representatives of a given class in the diplomatic corps is determined by the date and hour when he began to fulfill his functions. In practice, in the overwhelming majority of states, including the USSR, seniority is calculated from the time of the presentation of credentials. The diplomatic corps is not a political union or organization, and it fulfills only ceremonial functions. Collective actions of the diplomatic corps are possible only in ceremonial (protocol) questions.
I. P. BLISHCHENKO