Diplomacy pp 209-222 | Cite as

Disguised Embassies

  • G. R. Berridge


Regular, flag-flying embassies might well disappear when diplomatic relations are severed, but diplomatic functions might still be performed by as many as four kinds of irregular resident mission — some more irregular, and therefore more heavily disguised, than others. These are interests sections, consulates, representative offices, and front missions — the last being analogous to the ‘front organizations’, typically businesses of one sort or another, employed to conceal espionage activities during the Cold War. This chapter will consider the advantages and disadvantages of each of these disguised embassies, and why one is preferred to another in different circumstances. It will also consider whether the differences between formally accredited embassies and at least some of these missions (especially interests sections and representative offices) are merely nominal.


Vienna Convention Diplomatic Relation Interest Section Representative Office Diplomatic Mission 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further reading

  1. Berridge, G. R., Talking to the Enemy: How states without ‘diplomatic relations’ communicate (Macmillan — now Palgrave: Basingstoke, 1994): chs 1 and 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cross, Charles T., Born a Foreigner: A memoir of the American presence in Asia (Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham, MD, 1999): ch. 19, on Taiwan.Google Scholar
  3. Franklin, W. M., Protection of Foreign Interests: A study in diplomatic and consular practice (US Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1947).Google Scholar
  4. Hertz, Martin F. (ed.), The Consular Dimension of Diplomacy (University Press of America: Lanham, MD, 1983).Google Scholar
  5. James, Alan, ‘Diplomatic relations and contacts’, British Yearbook of International Law 1991, Volume 62 (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1992): 347–87.Google Scholar
  6. Kear, Simon, ‘The British Consulate-General in Hanoi, 1954–73’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 10(1), March, 1999: 215–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kear, Simon, ‘Diplomatic innovation: Nasser and the origins of the interests section’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 12(3), September, 2001: 65–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kissinger, Henry A., Years of Upheaval (Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 1982): 60–3.Google Scholar
  9. Lee, Luke T. and John Quigley, Consular Law and Practice, 3rd edn (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2008): ch. 36.Google Scholar
  10. Lowe, V., ‘Diplomatic law: protecting powers’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 39(2), April, 1990.Google Scholar
  11. Melissen, Jan (ed.), Innovation in Diplomatic Practice (Macmillan — now Palgrave: Basingstoke, 1999): ch. 13.Google Scholar
  12. Newsom, David E. (ed.), Diplomacy under a Foreign Flag: The protecting power and the interests section (Hurst: London, 1990; St Martin’s Press — now Palgrave: New York, 1990, for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy).Google Scholar
  13. OIG, Report of Inspection: U.S. Interests Section Havana, Cuba, July 2007 [www].Google Scholar
  14. Peterson, M. J., Recognition of Governments: Legal doctrine and state practice, 1815–1995 (Macmillan — now Palgrave: Basingstoke, 1997): ch. 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rawnsley, Gary D., Taiwan’s Informal Diplomacy and Propaganda (Palgrave: Basingstoke, 2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Shaw, M. N., International Law, 6th edn (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge/ New York, 2008): ch. 9, on recognition.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sullivan, Joseph G. (ed.), Embassies Under Siege (Brassey’s for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy: Washington, DC, 1995).Google Scholar
  18. Whiteman, M. M., ‘Diplomatic missions and embassy, protection of interests by third states’, Digest of International Law (1970): 450–1.Google Scholar
  19. Wylie, Neville, ‘Protecting powers in a changing world’, Politorbis, 40(1), 2006: 6–14 [www].Google Scholar
  20. Young, John W., Twentieth-Century Diplomacy: A case study of British practice, 1963–1976 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008): ch. 9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© G. R. Berridge 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. R. Berridge

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations