Diplomatic Mail

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Diplomatic Mail


packages, suitcases, and bags that are transported by diplomatic couriers, sealed with the wax stamps of the particular agencies of the country sending the courier, and named in a properly drawn up courier’s list. Diplomatic mail must have an address that corresponds to the address indicated in the courier’s list and the conventional designation “expedition officielle.”

Diplomatic mail has absolute inviolability (art. 27, par. 3, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961). The Vienna Convention established that diplomatic mail having visible external marks indicating its character may contain only diplomatic documents and articles destined for official use. The obligation to adhere strictly to the stated rule rests on the sender. The official authorities of the state from which the mail is being sent can make certain that the mail is in fact diplomatic only by examining its external distinguishing marks (for example the stamp and signatures). In no instance may the nature of the contents be verified by opening and examining the mail packages.

In the USSR, the Regulation on Diplomatic and Consular Representatives of Foreign States on the Territory of the USSR of May 23, 1966, states that diplomatic mail may not be opened under any circumstances. Diplomatic mail is passed across the border without examination; only the correspondence between the courier’s list and the actual number of pieces of mail is verified. In practice, diplomatic mail is usually accompanied by a diplomatic courier.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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