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Concept.png Embassy 
(diplomatic mission)Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Canada House.jpg
Major hub for deep state activities

A diplomatic mission or foreign mission[1] is a group of people from one state or an organization present in another state to represent the sending state or organization officially in the receiving state. In practice, the phrase diplomatic mission usually denotes the resident mission, namely the embassy, which is the main office of a country's diplomatic representatives to another country; this is usually, but not necessarily, in the receiving state's capital city. Consulates, on the other hand, are smaller diplomatic missions which are normally located in major cities of the receiving state (but can be located in the capital, usually when the sending country has no embassy in the receiving state). [2]


Contrary to popular belief, diplomatic missions do not enjoy full extraterritorial status and are generally not sovereign territory of the represented state.[3] Rather, the premises of diplomatic missions remain under the jurisdiction of the host state while being afforded special privileges (such as immunity from most local laws) by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Diplomats themselves still retain full diplomatic immunity, and (as an adherent to the Vienna Convention) the authorities of the host country may not enter the premises of the mission without permission of the represented country, even to put out a fire. International rules designate an attack on an embassy as an attack on the country it represents.[4] The term "extraterritoriality" is often applied to diplomatic missions, but normally only in this broader sense.

Signal intelligence

Embassies and consulates belonging to the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia have been used to collect signals intelligence, with the spy installations often hidden within the buildings. A covert arm of the US National Security Agency (NSA) called the Special Collection Service (SCS) has been installing secret signals intelligence equipment within diplomatic buildings to spy while abroad. The group is believed to be active in over 80 locations in the world, positioning itself at diplomatic facilities and working with the US Central Intelligence Agency. [5] For example, from the American Embassy in Berlin, the NSA can monitor a large part of cell phone communication in the government quarter next door.[6]


  1. https://2009-2017.state.gov/ofm/property/fmc/c53113.htm
  2. Tom Nierop, Systems and Regions in Global Politics (Wiley, John and Sons 1994 ISBN 978-0-471-94942-8), p. 67.
  3. 'Laws and Rules Regarding Extraterritoriality' on integrity-legal.com: "There is a common misconception that Embassies and Consulates have extraterritoriality. As anecdotal evidence of this misconception, people will often say things like, 'the US Embassy sits upon United States soil.' For the most part, this is not the case as extraterritoriality is not conferred upon an Embassy or Consulate, but in some situations extraterritoriality may be created by Treaty".
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20180510232505/https://diplomacy.state.gov/discoverdiplomacy/diplomacy101/places/170537.htm
  5. https://www.zdnet.com/article/nsa-hid-spy-equipment-at-embassies-consulates/
  6. https://www.democraticunderground.com/1014633136
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