Diplomatic Mission

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Diplomatic Mission


a state’s agency, located abroad to handle foreign relations. An embassy is headed by an ambassador, while a legation is presided over by an envoy or charge d’affaires. Diplomatic missions are set up after the establishment of diplomatic relations and in accordance with agreements reached by the states concerned. They have sections (groups) that deal with economic and political questions, the press, consular affairs, and cultural ties. In addition, they have corps of military attaches. The diplomatic missions of the USSR also include trade missions.

The staffs of diplomatic missions consist of diplomatic personnel (attachés, secretaries, and councillors), technical and administrative personnel who do not always have official designations (office workers, secretaries-advisers, translators, teletypists, stenographers, technical secretaries, and book-keepers, who do not have diplomatic passport or rank), and service personnel (chauffeurs, maids, guards, and cooks), who may be citizens of the country in which the mission is located or of the accrediting state.

The main functions of a diplomatic mission include representing the accrediting state in the state of residence, defending the interests of its state and citizens in the state of residence within the limits permitted by international law, conducting negotiations with the government of the state of residence, and using all legal means to obtain information about conditions and events in the state of residence and to communicate it to the accrediting government. Consular functions should also be included among the basic functions of diplomatic missions. Diplomatic missions that include trade missions are entrusted with representing their state’s interests in the area of foreign trade and its implementation and regulation.

The state of residence is obliged to assist the foreign state in purchasing or obtaining the necessary accommodations on its territory. Without the prior, expressed agreement of the state of residence, the accrediting state may not set up offices that are part of the diplomatic mission in any location other than where the mission itself is situated. The premises of the diplomatic mission are inviolable and may not be entered by any official of the host nation without the permission of the head of the diplomatic mission or his delegate. The term “premises of the mission” is understood in this context as one or several buildings, or a part of a building, which is used for the purposes of the mission, regardless of whether it is the property of the accrediting state or leased or rented accommodations. It includes a section adjoining the residence, such as a garden and a parking lot. The state of residence is obligated to take all appropriate measures to protect the premises of a diplomatic mission from any incursion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or insult to the dignity of its personnel. In the USSR, premises occupied by the diplomatic missions of foreign states and buildings occupied by consular representatives are inviolable and exempt from taxation, in accordance with the Regulation on Diplomatic and Consular Representatives of Foreign States on the Territory of the USSR of May 23, 1966, and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. Documents and archives of diplomatic missions are also inviolable.

A diplomatic mission ceases to exist if it is closed, if the diplomatic representatives are recalled by the accrediting government, if there is a break in diplomatic relations, or if a state of war develops between the corresponding states. In all these cases, the state of residence is obliged to respect and guard the premises of the diplomatic mission. The accrediting government may entrust the protection of the premises of its diplomatic mission, its property, and archives to the diplomatic representative of any third state.


“Venskaia konventsiia o diplomaticheskikh snosheniiakh 1961.” Vedomosti Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, 1964, no. 18.


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