Posts Tagged ‘How to Address a Diplomat’

How do I address a retired American Ambassador?  He was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service so he was a diplomat for a long time before he was an ambassador.
           — Carol Bentley

How do I address someone who served as an American Ambassador?  He was a close personal friend of The President and served for four years.
           — Keith Inge

Dear Ms. Bentley & Mr. Inge:
Any retired or former ambassador is addressed on the envelope, or in the address block of the letter, in the standard style used for addressing high US officials:
 The Honorable (Full name)

And, in the salutation or conversation he/she would be addressed as:
   Dear Ambassador (Surname),
     The difference between ambassadors will arise when you introduce them, describe them, give their title, or identify them in writing.

How to identify a political appointee who served as a Ambassador?
Those appointed to serve as a U.S. ambassador after a career in another field (typically they serve just one administration, more or less) are introduced as:
            Ambassador of the United States to (Name of Country) from Year to Year
            Former Ambassador of the United States to (Name of Country)

Who can be identified as a “Career Ambassador, Retired”?
There are certain individuals who can be identified as a Career Ambassador.   They have been accorded the “Personal Rank of Career Ambassador” by the President. If you do a web search for “career-ambassador U.S. Department of State” you find the list. There aren’t many. This small category of ambassadors is introduced or identified as:
          Career Ambassador of the Foreign Service of the United States of America, Retired

Who can be identified as a “Ambassador, Retired”?
Career U.S. Foreign Service Officers who have served as a U.S. Ambassador at one or more U.S. embassies are introduced or identified as:
          Ambassador of the United States of America, Retired


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How to I address an invitation to the Prime Minister of Canada and his wife Laureen Harper??
— Sarah

Dear Sarah:
    In this case since his wife uses the same last name it would be:
 The Right Honorable Stephen Harper
and Mrs. Harper

The inside envelope would be
        Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper
I have a full chapter in my book on Canadian forms of address should this sort of question come up often. I have all the forms of address for the Prime Minister of Canada on page 301.
                – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations is coming to the museum in a few days and I wish to know the best way to address him verbally, not on a letter or envelope.
Should one say:
         Mr. Secretary-General 
  Your Excellency  ? 
I am grateful for your assistance.
             — Jeanine, Curator at the Museum

Dear Jeanine,
The form of the name we use in a salutation is the same as form we use for conversation. So either of the two you mention will be perfect.
    — Robert Hickey

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How do I address, in an email and in a phone conversation, an honorary Consul General of Denmark?
— Suzanne H.

Dear Suzanne H.:
All consuls and consul generals …. full time or honorary … are addressed asMr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. (name) …. whatever honorific to which they are normally entitled. Then after their name they are identified as the honorary Consul General of … 
An ambassador is the only diplomat that gets a special honorific or courtesy title.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am writing an invitation letter to the ambassador of the United States to Japan. According to your book the ambassador should be addressed by US citizens as The Honorable John V. Roos.  But I am not a U.S. citizen and I live in Japan.  I will be writing to him in care of the US Embassy in Tokyo.
Should I address him as The Honorable John V. Roos as the U.S. citizens do?  Or should I address him as His Excellency John. V. Roos?
       ~ T. Suzuki

Dear T. Suzuki:
Using The Honorable would be honoring his tradition — would be how a US citizen would address him — and how he would expect to be addressed in the USA..
Using The Excellency will follow the international custom — would be the most typical form of address by non-US citizens — and how he  would expect to be addressed outside the USA.
Either is a correct form of address, but if you are located in Japan … useExcellency.
      – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I would like to know how I would address a Former Prime Minister of Trinidad an Tobago, Mr Patrick Manning. I saw him in person and wondered how to greet him.
     — Nicholas B.

Dear Nicholas B.:
When addressing a former one-office-holder-at-a-time (e.g., prime minister, president, speaker, governor, mayor, etc.) only the current office holder is addressed by the honorific / forms of address of the office.  Former office holders do not continue the use of their former forms of address.
So in this case, as a member of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago he was a Mr. before he became prime minister …. so … Mr. Manning is pertinent to his current position and is the completely respectful.
           – Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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I am trying to confirm how one would address a former Prime Minister directly when meeting him/her for the first time. Do you say Hello Mr. Prime Minister or Hello Prime Minister or Hello Mr. Blair?  I appreciate your guidance.
— A. K. @ RWB & Co.

Dear A.K.:
I show that form on page 358 in my chapter on British Officials.
In conversation a current office holder … David Cameron … would be addressed as Prime Minister in conversation.
But you mention Mr. Blair.
Former prime ministers do not continue to be addressed by as if they were still in office, which would be considered disrespectful to the current prime minister.
– Robert Hickey www.formsofaddress.info

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