Diplomatic List

A definition of a Diplomatic List, taken from the Dictionary of Diplomacy by G. R. Berridge and Alan James, published by Macmillan (London), 2000.

The list maintained and (usually) published periodically by a receiving state which gives the names of those who, being members of *resident or *non-resident diplomatic missions, enjoy *diplomatic status within that state. The names are grouped by mission, missions being listed on an alphabetical basis.

The order in which names are listed within each mission's list is indicative of the order of *precedence, within that mission, of its named *diplomatic agents. That order is entirely a matter for the sending state, as is the designation of the agents. (The receiving state, however, determines the general format of the overall list.) When, as is often the case, the agents at a particular mission are members not just of the sending state's *foreign ministry but also of various other government departments, determining the mission's order of precedence can be a matter of controversy, between both the individuals and the departments concerned.

Should internal dissension within a state result in more than one diplomatic mission being sent to a second state, each claiming to represent the first state, the receiving state must decide which it regards as legitimate. Its decision will be reflected in its diplomatic list. If, however, it wishes to prevaricate but does not wish to acknowledge that fact, it may decline to publish a new diplomatic list until the matter has been resolved. This unusual state of affairs occurred in the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, when two embassies from Cambodia appeared in Moscow. (During this period an unofficial list was produced by the wife of a journalist!)

An international organisations to which *permanent missions have been sent by member states may publish its own list of the members of such missions. However, although those individuals will be in receipt of certain privileges and immunities they are not, formally speaking, regarded as enjoying 'diplomatic' status. This is likely to be reflected in the title of the organisation's list. The UN, for example, calls its list, 'Permanent Missions to the United Nations'.

from the Dictionary of Diplomacy by G. R. Berridge and Alan James, published by Macmillan (London), 2000.

Share this page:

Contact Us

T: +44 (0)116 252 2056

E: specialcollections

Opening times

Archives and Special Collections is currently closed until further notice. For further information about onsite services please visit see our Covid-19 Library Advice.