Embassy Law Web Log   
Washington, DC, USA      

How to Address the Ambassador? Protocol, not Law

Protocol lays down rules, as does the law, but they are not the same. A frequently asked question is how to address diplomats, from the ambassador down the ranks to junior attaches, and the most important persons who can decide over access and level of attention, the assistants and secretaries. Related is the issue of different sty­les for diplomats from different countries.

At the State Department and Foreign Offices abroad, these are no small matters. While diplomats appear to have a special gene that enables them to recall na­mes, titles and etiquette, even they look up guidance, such as internal memos on pro­to­col found in missions as well as in international organizations, or the State De­part­ment's online manual Protocol for the Modern Diplomat.

In a pinch, go with the the recommendation in the Wikipedia of His Excellency or Her Excellency.; and use Your Excellency in direct address. -- Clemens Kochinke, partner, Berliner Corcoran & Rowe LLP, Washington, DC.