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Preparation of Correspondence External Communications Internal Communications

Preparation of Correspondence

The following rules and instructions are followed in preparing diplomatic correspondence. (See also Foreign Service Correspondence Handbook, U.S. FSI, pp. 19-20)


The paper to be used is shown in the sample forms.

A black typewriter ribbon is used unless there is a special reason to use other colors.


Quotations comprising one or more paragraphs are to be indented five spaces from the margin of the text in which they are contained, and when possible, the lines are to be one space closer together than those of the text.


Margins are to be one and a half inches on the left and not less than one inch on the right.

Paragraph indentions

Paragraph indentions are uniformly five spaces from the left-hand margin.

Line spacing

Despatches, memoranda and letters are, in general, to be single-spaced; however, brief letters may be double-spaced to present a better appearance.

Outgoing telegrams must be double-spaced.

Diplomatic notes are to be triple-spaced. Notes exceeding two pages may be double-spaced.


a.The address is written in Capital and small letters on the first page of the communication.
b.In the first person diplomatic notes and letters, the address is placed in the lower left-hand corner of the first page. Every following line is to be indented five spaces beyond the preceding line.
c.The sequence or order of an address is as follows:
1.Name od addressee, preceded or followed by the appropriate title of courtesy or respect, in one or more lines, according to the forms or length.
2.Name of apartment or office and apartment (office) number, if known.
3.Street address or route and box number.
4.City, zone number and state or province.
d.When an addressee is in a unit of an organization, ministry or agency, it is important that the unit be mentioned first.

For example:
Mr. Juan de la Cruz (name)

        Bureau of Internal Revenue (unit)

                Ministry of Finance (ministry)

                        Manila (place)

Key Word

In the lower right-hand corner of each page of a communication, the first three words of the following page are written to serve key words to the continuity of thought and to assure in proper pagination.


The second and subsequent pages of all papers should be numbered one inch from the top, in the middle of the page, three spaces above the first line of the text. The number is immediately preceded and followed by a hyphen.


Enclosures in communications should be enumerated and described at the end thereof. The word "Enclosure(s)" is flushed with the left-hand margin and on a line by itself. If there is only one enclosure, it is not numbered.