April 19, 1782: John Adams is received by the States-General of the Dutch Republic and becomes the first ambassador for the US. Morocco was the first nation to seek diplomatic relations with the US and did so in December 1777. Benjamin Franklin established the first overseas mission for the US in Paris in 1779. On this date, Adams established the first ambassadorship and the house he purchased at Fluwelen Burgwal 18 became the first American embassy anywhere in the world. Today, the embassy in The Hague is located at Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ The Hague and was opened on July 4, 1959.
Diplomatic relations are essential to the smooth operation of many facets of our daily existence. Before the world was connected by instantaneous communication, the global community still needed to operate more effectively and efficiently. To do so meant less misunderstanding. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 formally defined and recognized ambassadors. Prior to this new definition, ambassadors were considered to be the personal envoy of the chief executive of a foreign country and to speak on his behalf. Their position made it possible for them to meet personally with the head of state of the host country. Prior to our technologically advanced era, ambassadors were given far greater power to execute national prerogatives.
The embassy is a permanent diplomatic mission as well as the building or section of a building in which the world of the diplomatic mission is carried out. The office space of the building is technically called the chancery. Members of the mission may live off site or within the embassy. These are located in the capital of the host country. Since 1945, all nations have been recognized as equals and ambassadors or their equivalents are sent to all countries with which one maintains diplomatic relations. There are also satellites where Consuls also represent their country. There can only be one ambassador from a country to the foreign power, but there can be several Consuls residing in other large cities of the hosting country.
The American embassy for Canada is in Ottawa, but there are six consulates general and one consulate also in Canada spanning coast to coast. To the south, America has an embassy in Mexico City and eighteen other presences ranging from a consulate or consular agency to a consulate general. Their largest diplomatic presence in Asia is in China where there is an embassy and six satellites. In Europe, Italy, Germany and France have six satellites in addition to their embassy. The Netherlands hosts the ambassador as well as two satellite consulates general. The Middle East has been a challenge to diplomatic relations and the embassy in Yemen suspended operations on February 11, 2015 due to deteriorating security. The embassy in Libya suspended operations on July 26, 2014. It is also interesting to note that the embassy to the Holy See is located outside Vatican territory and is located in Rome.
Ambassadors are the eye and ear of states. – Francesco Guicciardini
An ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country. – Sir Henry Wotton
An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle. – Walter Bagehot
The function of a briefing paper is to prevent the ambassador from saying something dreadfully indiscreet. I sometimes think its true object is to prevent the ambassador from saying anything at all. – Kingman Brewster, Jr.
Also on this day: Look It Up – In 1928, the last fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
Trippin’ – In 1943, Albert Hofmann tried LSD.
Sex Is Obscene – In 1927, Mae West was sentenced to jail for her play, Sex.
Jump – In 1919, Leslie Leroy Irvin jumped from a plane.
Boston Marathon – In 1897, the first Boston Marathon was run.
* “Amerikaanse ambassade in Den Haag” by Pvt pauline – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amerikaanse_ambassade_in_Den_Haag.JPG#/media/File:Amerikaanse_ambassade_in_Den_Haag.JPG