Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

In the beginning of the 1990s, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the newly independent Armenia was temporarily residing in one of the two-storied private houses on the street adjacent to Baghramyan Avenue nicknamed "Forest Lane.” There was always something exciting going on in this house; it was much more active than any regular state department. The reason for this was the recognition of Armenia’s independence and the new enthusiasm that it had created among the diplomats. Every signed agreement on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and another country was viewed (naively) as a tremendous victory of the Armenian diplomatic brainpower. It was a time of zeal. The country had decided to get on the track of diplomacy, as it were. Many people wanted to become diplomats, but they had no expertise.

One day an influential state representative, who was also in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, calls one of the deputy ministers.
"Are you going to create an Office of Protocol?” he asks.
"Of course.”
"I have the perfect candidate for the head of that office: Patrick, who serves at Hotel Armenia,” says the official with an indisputable tone.
The deputy minister knew Patrick, who served coffee at government receptions. He was a polite and experienced server, but nothing more!
There is an awkward pause in the conversation. Then without giving an affirmative answer, the deputy minister asks to meet with the official.

The meeting goes longer than anticipated. The deputy minister was a professional, while the official was not. The deputy minister gently, but convincingly explains to the official that protocol within the frames of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is political work, no less important than the other functions of this department. The deputy minister notes that the chiefs of protocol, as a rule, are diplomats of the highest rank, equivalent to extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors, who meet the heads of foreign countries as they arrive and see them off, who are always present during their visit in the country and not only make sure that things go smoothly, but who also work in a planned and purposeful manner to ensure a strong and deep relationship between the two countries, resolve specific political problems relating to foreign relations, and collect information. In short, they contribute to the strengthening of statehood. The same is expected of all other agents in the Office of Protocol—from top to bottom.

The official listened carefully to his interlocutor and, for his sake, took Patrick’s candidacy off the list. Thus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was saved from the threat of becoming a public food joint.
1303 reads | 08.06.2013

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