You are currently viewing The Uses of Diplomatic Instruments In Diplomatic Missions 

The Uses of Diplomatic Instruments In Diplomatic Missions 

Foreign policy and diplomacy are sometimes confused, although they are not the same thing. The foreign policy of a state consists of its overarching objectives and plans for accomplishing them in its interactions with other nations. The main tool for implementing a nation’s foreign policy is diplomacy, but there are other tools as well, such as the use of secret agents, subversion, and war. Political leaders determine foreign policy, while the majority of diplomacy is carried out by career diplomats. Envoy (derived from the French envoyé, meaning one who is sent) is a broad term for a diplomatic representative.

Introduction to Diplomacy

Influencing other governments through communication, negotiation, and other means other than war or violence is known as diplomacy. The word “diplomacy” is derived from the Greek word “diploma,” which refers to a document that is folded in half and used by princes to award privileges such as travel authorization.

Historically, maintaining official connections between two countries was the main focus of diplomacy. However, by the 20th century, parliamentary diplomacy, diplomacy carried out within international organizations like the United Nations, and the initiatives of nonprofit organizations like Amnesty International were all part of diplomacy.
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Diplomatic Instruments

Since World War II, the number of international diplomatic instruments has substantially expanded. More multilateral treaties were signed between 1945 and 1965 than over the previous 350 years. The followings are the tools/ instruments of diplomacy:

  • Negotiations
  • Treaties
  • Conventions
  • Agreements
  • Protocols
  • Accords
  • Alliances

1) Negotiations

Negotiation is defined as a strategic dialogue that aims to find a mutually agreeable solution to a problem. The process is conducted by two or more governments and other stakeholders. The goal of negotiations is to reach a compromise-based agreement. As his nation’s official envoy, the ambassador must carry out instructions during negotiations. The ambassador’s foreign ministry determines the negotiation’s subject and schedules the appropriate diplomatic approach.

Negotiations in Diplomacy

In most negotiations, the starting demands are often higher than the final offers anticipated. Concessions are provided gradually since making them quickly demonstrates the desire and leads to requests for more concessions. Each side checks the other’s resolve and willingness to agree regularly. Threatening to use force is hazardous, but less expensive than going to war. Regardless of what or with whom you are negotiating, there are typically numerous separate processes involved.

  • Preparation 
  • Exchanging information 
  • Bargaining 
  • Closing the deal

2) Treaties

A treaty, which is a legally-binding written agreement between nations, is the most formal type of diplomatic instrument. The UN registers all treaties, whether they are multilateral (involving three or more countries) or bilateral (involving two or more countries). Additionally, international organizations create treaties with various nations as well as among themselves. The Treaty of Paris, signed in 1783, by the United States and Great Britain ended the Revolutionary War.

3) Conventions

A convention is a multilateral agreement that establishes international laws or governs how nations behave. Numerous conventions are negotiated by the UN, its agencies, and the Council of Europe.

Conventions and treaties need to be ratified, which is an executive act of ultimate approval. A two-thirds majority is required in the Senate of the United States to approve a treaty. Since World War II, legislative activity has increased elsewhere. Treaties must be laid on the House of Commons table in Britain for 21 days before being ratified; other nations have similar rules. Ratifications are exchanged for bilateral agreements; otherwise, they are deposited in a location specified in the text, and the contract becomes effective after the required number of ratifications has been received.

Conventions frequently have a large number of signatories, and long after the first agreement has been made, the original signatories still actively invite new members to join. For instance, lawmakers from 80 nations endorsed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1973 to save endangered species worldwide.

4) Agreements 

Typically, agreements are bilateral rather than multilateral. They cover specific, frequently technical subjects and are less formal and substantial than treaties. Governments or government departments negotiate them, however, occasionally nongovernmental organizations are also involved. To maintain secrecy and skip the ratification process, American presidents employ executive agreements.

Agreements in Diplomacy

5) Protocols

An existing instrument is replaced or extended by a protocol. It might provide information on how an agreement is to be applied, a convention’s optional extension, or a technical follow-up to a general agreement. For example; the Kyoto Protocol was added to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

6) Accords

Accords are voluntarily entered into agreements between nations in place of or as a means of negotiating the provisions of a treaty. For example; the Paris Peace Accords entered into agreements in 1973 to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam. 

7) Alliances

Informal agreements are known as alliances, nations commit to assist one another when necessary. Alliances can be multilateral or bilateral and are frequently formed for the benefit of both parties’ economies, politics, and security. To protect against the communist Warsaw Pact’s threats in Eastern Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was established in 1949.

Numerous Eastern European countries joined NATO after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact, altering and broadening the alliance’s defensive strategy. A bilateral example is the 1953 Mutual Defence Treaty between the United States and South Korea.

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Diplomatic Agents and Agencies

The hierarchy of diplomatic representatives is laid forth in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which the United Nations approved in 1961. The highest ranking officials are ambassadors, who represent their sovereign to the sovereign of the host nation and are regarded as his or her representative. Nuncios, who serves as the pope’s envoy, are equal in status. The next in line are envoys and ministers; although they represent their sovereigns to foreign heads of state, they are not their representatives. Charge d’affaires, who represent their nation to the foreign minister of the host nation, are third in line.

1) Diplomatic Missions

A diplomatic mission is, at its core, a team of people deployed abroad to conduct diplomatic operations. Both military and civilian persons may participate in a mission. The phrase is usually used to refer to an embassy, a permanent diplomatic mission situated in the host nation’s city. The ambassador’s staff and offices are located inside the embassy, which may also house the ambassador’s home.

Legations are a different kind of mission. The legation is run by a minister rather than an ambassador and is comparable to an embassy but lower in rank. A consulate is a third category of the mission. But whereas consulates deal with the commercial and legal interests of the people who live, visit, or conduct business in the host country. Embassies and legations deal with concerns of the state. Consulates offer their nationals public services like voter registration, passport issuance, and ensuring that individuals accused of crimes are treated fairly. Consulates can be found anywhere in the host country, unlike embassies, which are usually in the capital.

Diplomatic Missions

2) Rights and Privileges

All heads of diplomatic missions are accorded the same privileges and immunities by international treaty. Lower-ranking agents are also accorded some of these courtesies. Inviolable means that no searches or other forms of violence are permitted on diplomatic agents or the members of their families. Even during a battle, this immunity continues. The foreign envoy is exempt from paying taxes and serving in the armed forces in the host nation. The host nation and any transiting third nations where immunity is also granted do not search a diplomat’s luggage or personal belongings.

The mission’s tangible assets are immune. Even if contacts are broken off or war is declared, the mission’s records and official correspondence are untouchable. The embassy and the house of the head of a mission are extraterritorial, which means that they are handled as if they were on the territory of the sending nation. No representative of the host nation, not even the local fire department, is allowed to access this “foreign territory” without the embassy’s permission. Because of this, political opponents of oppressive regimes frequently seek refuge in embassies.

3) Credentials 

The process of choosing a new head of mission is intricate. The possible ambassador’s name is formally introduced to the host nation. If the receiving nation concurs, the new ambassador is dispatched with a letter of credence, an introductory letter to the monarch or head of the receiving nation assuring him or her of the envoy’s ability to speak for the sending nation. It is highly traditional to present these credentials to the head of the host nation. It may entail taking an open carriage from the embassy to a palace in some nations.

The status of an ambassador within the local diplomatic corps, which is the phrase used to refer to the entire group of foreign diplomats, is determined by the date of the formal presentation of credentials. At the UN, the secretary-general is given credentials without a formal ceremony. 

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A peaceful solution to problems between states can be achieved through diplomacy. It served as the main goal of every diplomatic mission throughout history and continues to do so now. Rapid and reliable communication between the states is necessary in this era of technology. To practice diplomacy and to communicate and cooperate, certain tools such as alliances, treaties, discussions, and protocols are used. The effective use of these tools allows the country to present its national interest in the best possible manner in the international world. The world doesn’t see crises like WWI and WWII again significantly due to diplomacy. 


What are the roles of a diplomat?

The role of every diplomat is to promote the interest of his country and fulfill its foreign policy objectives, whether they are negotiating a treaty, daily interactions between embassy officers and officials of host countries, or helping someone get a visa to enter the country. 

Who can be a diplomat?

While government officials perform the prominent aspects of diplomacy abroad, every citizen can use it in daily interactions. 

What are the tools of diplomacy?

The primary diplomatic tools used by diplomats to conduct mediation and dialogue between state parties to determine a shared field of interest consist of treaties, accords, protocols, and conventions. 

What are the key pillars of American Diplomacy?

Security, Prosperity, Protection, Democracy, and Development are the key pillars of American Diplomacy.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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