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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Declarations of War and "Demanding Your Passport"
Created by John Eipper on 05/02/15 3:14 AM

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Declarations of War and "Demanding Your Passport" (Edward Jajko, USA, 05/02/15 3:14 am)

On 1 May, Anthony Candil wrote about the US and Spanish ambassadors "demanding their passports" as their respective nations entered into the 1898 war. Did/do ambassadors have to surrender their passports to the states they are posted to?

JE comments:  I've often had the same question.  I came across this interesting 1950 essay from Lord Vansittart, a long-serving British diplomat. Even at that time, "asking for your passports" was an anachronism.  Might it have been the same in 1898?

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-kingdom/1950-01-01/decline-diplomacy

I hope Tim Brown will give more details.  Certainly the most awkward duty of a diplomat is to have the final conversation with your counterparts of a host country with which you're at war. What do you do, wish them good luck? Say "we should do lunch when it's over"?


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