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Foreign Service Correspondence Forms
Communications with foreign governments and/or their diplomatic and consular representatives may take the form of any of the following:
|A written communication from a minister of foreign affairs to foreign diplomatic envoys or high foreign government officials and vice-versa. It is the most generally used form of correspondence between a sending state, the Philippine government and the receiving state, a foreign government. The reply to an incoming note is in the same form as the note it is answering.
This is written either in the first person or third person.
|1.||First Person Note(s).|
|A written communication between states understood to speak for and on behalf of government signed by its duly designated representatives. This form is preferred when it contains matters of great importance or when a more personal tone is desired. It is signed by the foreign minister or diplomatic envoy of the sending state and is addressed to the diplomatic envoy or foreign minister of the receiving state.|
|a.||Formal first person note(s).|
|Written in the first person and used in most important correspondence requiring the signature of of the minister of foreign affairs or the chief of mission.|
|b.||Informal first person note(s).|
|Communication to a chief of a mission or to a member of his staff. It may be signed by the chief of a mission without his title, or by a member of his staff over his diplomatic title.|
|2.||Third Person Note(s).|
|Written in the third person, not signed but initialed in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of the text by a duly authorised signing officer.
(Collective Notes however, are signed, not merely initialed by the representatives of the states presenting them. Notes Diplomatiques(s) are signed or initialed in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of the text by a duly authorized signing officer.)
|Generally referred to as a third-person note. It takes the place of a signed note and has the same value as a signed note. It is less formal than a first-person note and for this reason it is the form of communication most used. A Note Verbale begins with the fellowing formula of diplomatic courtesy:
"The Embassy (or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) of the Philippines presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of (name of country) and has the honor to..."
The usual ending is:
"The Embassy avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry the assurances of its highest consideration."
It may also be in the name of the Minister, as:
"The Minister of Foreign Affairs presents his compliments to His Excellency, the Ambassador of (name of country)..."
It is not signed but initialed in the lower righ-hand corner of the last page of text by a duly authorized signing officer.
|b.||Circular diplomatic note(s).|
|Identical notes addressed to "Their Excellencies and Messieurs the Chief of Mission." It is not signed but initialed in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of text by a duly authorized signing officer.|
|A formal note between governments. It is understood to speak for and on behalf of the government presented by its duly designated representative. It is signed, or initialed in the lower right-hand corner of the last page of text by a duly authorized signing officer.|
|A very formal note addressed by the representatives of several states to a government in regard to some matter in which they have been instructed to make a joint representation. Generally referred to as a joint note, it involves close relations among the signing states. It is seldom used because of the danger that the state or the states to whom it is addressed may consider it offensive. It is signed, not merely initialed, by the representatives of the sending states.|
|Notes identical in substance though not always in wording even as they are drafted as similarly as possible. As a rule they are sent separately yet almost simultaneously by the government of one state to the governments of two or more states, or by the governments of two or more states to the government of one or more states.
The Collective Note and Identic Notes are rarely used for they convey an impression of "ganging up" against a state or states.
|A detailed statement of facts, and of arguments based theoreon. It is essentially similar to a Note. Unlike a Note, however, it does not begin and end with usual diplomatic courtesy. Also, it need not be signed, since it is usually delivered either personally, following an interview, or by means of a short covering note. Sometimes it is called a memoire, or aide-memoire or pro-memoria when it embodies a summary of conversation.|
|An informal summary of a diplomatic interview or conversation between the foreign minister or his assistant and a diplomatic envoy or his representative. It merely serves as an aid to memory and does not begin with a formula of courtesy. It is usually left at the foreign office by the ambassador or minister concerned (or his representative), or is handed to the ambassador or the minister concerned (or his representative) at the foreign office by the foreign minister or his representative.|
|A formal record of a subject discussed. It differs from an aide-memoire which is an informal summary of a diplomatic interview. It is understood to speak for and under direction of the government whose representative presents it and is usually left at the foreign office by the ambassador or minister concerned (or his representative), or is handed to the ambassador or minister concerned (or his representative) at the foreign office.|
|This type of communication generally takes place in the foreign office at a date and hour previously arranged either in writing or by telephone. In cases where there are many matters to be discussed so that it becomes difficult to relay on one's memory, the diplomatic envoy may, after the interview, leave an aide-memoire or memorandum with the foreign minister or the later may hand an aide-memoire or memorandum to the diplomatic representative after the interview usually arranged. This is done to avoid misunderstanding. For less important matters, a member of the diplomatic staff of the mission arranges (also by telephone) to call on an appropriate member of the ministry staff. Diplomats who arrange such a meeting must conduct such interviews and discussions briefly and succinctly. When no further matters need to be discussed, the diplomatic official concerned should extend the usual courtesies and leave promptly.|
|D.||Letter(s) of Credence.|
|A formal note from the head of one state to the head of another state, accrediting ambassador, as one authorized to act for his government or head of state. It may be addressed to a head of a republic or to the head of a kingdom.|
|E.||Letter(s) of Recall.|
|A formal note from the head of one state to the head of another state, recalling a previously accredited ambassador, a minister, or other diplomatic agents. An incomming chief of mission usually hands a letter of recall of his predecessor to the head of state of a foreign government before handing his letter of credence.|
|1. Letter of Recall - English and Pilipino
2. Letter of Credence - English and Pilipino
|A document in the form of a commission or similar instrument, provided by the sending state to the head of a consular post. It certifies his capacity and as a general rule shows his full name, his category and class, the consular district and the seal of the consular post. (See Art. 11, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963). A Consular Commission is written in both English and Pilipino.|
|An authorization given by the receiving state to the head of a consular agent to the exercise of his functions. (See Art. 12, Vienn Convention on Consular Relations, 1963).|
|A document issued by a head of a state/president accrediting one or more persons to represent him or the government in in international conferences and negotiations or expressing the consent of the state to be bound by a treaty, convention or agreement.
The essential feature of the Full Powers is that the representative to whom it is issued is rested with all the necessary power and authority to take part, negotiate, conclude and sign agreements on behalf of the state. In the signing of treaties or agreements, the action of the representative is essentially subject to ratification by the government concerned.
|I.||Exchange of Notes.|
|It is a means whereby states subscribe to certain understandings or recognize certain obligations as binding upon them. Agreements on matters of minor importance are frequently made by means of formal notes exchanged between the minister of foreign affairs, acting for his government, and the resident diplomatic representative of the another country, similarly authorized.|
|These may consist of congratulatory messages on the occasion of the election of the head of state, the birth of a royal heir, a royal marriage, the anniversary of a country's independence, or any other national holiday. It may also be an expression of condolence on the death of the head of state or expression of sympathy/regret for his illness, the occurance of an accident or any other similar happening.|