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Foreign Service Correspondence Forms

Internal Communications

Communications within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and/or with the other agencies of the Philippine Government may take the form of any of the following:

A. Instructions.
Written communications from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Philippine diplomatic and consular establishments. These instructions take the form of any of the following:
1. Ministry Order.
Pertains to office operations and management. It contains no introduction or explanation and has the force and effect of law.
2. Memorandum Circular.
It contains instructions or explanations for home office circulation only.
3. Ministry Circular.
Instructions for home office and foreign service establishments.
4. Foreign Service Circular.
Instructions limited to the foreign service establishments.
5. Ministry Letter.
Instructions sent to chiefs of mission.
B. Communications from the Philippine Diplomatic and Consular Establishments
to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1. Despatches.
Written communication to teh Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Philippine diplomatic and consular establishments involving questions of policy, political/economic reporting, or the dissemination of information to other agencies of the Philippine government.
2. Reports.
Written reports which are either political, economic or cultural in nature addressed by Philippine diplomatic and consular officers abroad to the minister for foreign affairs. They differ from despatches in the sense that reports are relatively long and informative in character. No specific reply is needed, and usually no immediate action on the part of the ministry is expected. The different types of repors are:
a. Annual reports,
b. Monthly reports,
c. Periodic reports,
d. Cable/telegraphic reports,
e. Long-range studies,
f. Special reports.
3. Indorsements.
Generally used in forwarding, reffering or transmitting basic communications to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Philippine foreign service establishments or vice-versa, or from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to other ministries, instrumentalities or agencies of the Philippine government or vice-versa. An indorsement is always addressed to the head of the office. It may be for information only or one requiring appropriate action. It is written in the third person and without the complimentary close. The following terms are used:
    a. forwarded-When sending communication to higher authorities.
b. transmitted-When sending communication to equal or lower level.
c. referred-When sending communication to equal or lower level.
d. returned-When one ministry or office returns the basic communication including the indorsements to the source of the communication containing the comments/decision, or action taken on the matter.
Note:As a general rule, Philippine diplomatic/consular posts should always forward indorsements to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and never use the word transmitted.
C. Cablegrams.
A form of communication used for important urgent matters only.
D. Letter(s).
Communication between officials of foreign service establishments and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to other government agencies, organizations and individuals. They are:
1. Formal Letters.
Usually written in answer to formal inquiries from firms and corporations for trade information on general and specific phases of trade relations between the Philippines and foreign countries. The salutation "Sir" and complimentary close "Very truly yours" are used.
2. Informal Letters.
Sometimes written to members of the National Assembly, Cabinet officials, Philippine representatives and private individuals or local businessmen and others. The salutation "Dear Sir" and the complimentary close "Very sincerely yours" are used.
3. Official-Informal Letters.
Usually used between the foreign service and the ministry and between posts to give or ask an opinion or interpretation on a forthcoming or established policy; to exchange personal views; to report progress, or to obtain or provide background information on a matter which at some appropriate time may be subject of a formal communication. They are official records of the ministry and of the foreign service and are subject to the same laws, regulations, and legal restrictions.

Official-informal letters shall not be used to convey policy decisions or to serve as documentary basis for any official action. Formal official communication shall be the normal and basic method of communications in cases involving policy decisions.