Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 5th ed.  –  Online updating pages

Chapter 9: Consulates


p.136: ‘Besides, a sending state can only establish one embassy in a receiving state …’. This remains true but only as far as it goes. What I omitted to add is that, with the express approval of the latter, it can establish an annex or out-station in which its staff have the same diplomatic immunities as those at what we might loosely call headquarters. I believe this to be rare but a recent – and controversial case – case in point is provided by ‘RAF Croughton’ in the British Midlands, acknowledged by the Foreign Office to be an ‘annex’ of the US Embassy in London; see my post on this.

p. 137, Box 9.1 (inviolability of premises): for the exception to this ‘in case of fire or other disaster requiring prompt protective action’ that could have been invoked by the Turkish authorities on discovering the threat to the right to life of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate-General in Istanbul in October 2018, see pp. 32-6 of the outstanding recent online article by Marko Milanovic, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Nottingham, listed in ‘Further reading’ below. I made the same point on this site at the time but far less authoritatively.

p. 142: cover for intelligence officers. SIS officer George Philo (novelist ‘Charles Forsyte’) was Consul-General at Hanoi in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War; see Secret Intelligence updating page and Recommended Reading (Novels by former Diplomats and Intelligence Officers).

p. 145: motives of honorary consuls: ‘While some honorary consuls simply like helping people in difficulties, it is usually assumed that most of them undertake the responsibility chiefly for the  social, commercial and other advantages  offered by its prestige.’ It has been suggested that in this sentence I have been a little unfair to those ‘many’ honorary consuls who make considerable personal sacrifices in discharging their functions, which also include building bridges between migrant communities and receiving states. I think this a just criticism. The trouble is that honorary consuls, like bankers, car dealers and estate agents (realtors) get a bad reputation because of the well-publicised bad behaviour of some amongst them. What I should have said is that whether the ‘usual’ assumption that ‘most of them’ are in it ‘chiefly’ for selfish reasons is a moot point because there is no evidence on the matter either way. Furthermore, on the face of it, and on further reflection, this now seems to me to be quite unlikely. I am grateful to Razvan Constantinescu for picking me up on my weasel words on this point!

Further reading: additions and links

Cobbing, Andrew, ‘A Victorian embarrassment: consular jurisdiction and the evils of extraterritoriality’, The International History Review, April 2017

Haynal, George et al, The Consular Function in the 21st Century: A report for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, March 2013)

Milanovic, Marko, ‘The murder of Jamal Khashoggi: immunities, inviolability, and the human right to life’, Human Rights Law Review, Forthcoming, June 2019

Wouters, Jan, Sanderijn Duquet, and Katrien Meuwissen, ‘Caring for  citizens abroad: the European Union and consular tasks’,  Working Paper No.107 (Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies: June 2013, updated September 2014)