Failure in any one of these tasks may jeopardize the success of foreign policy. The diplomatic machinery fulfills three basic functions for its government which are discussed hereunder as follows: Symbolic Representation: The diplomat is, first of all, the symbolic representation of his country. As such, he must continuously perform symbolic functions. These functions help to test the prestige which his nation enjoys abroad and the prestige with which the nation regards the country to whose government he is accredited.
For example, the symbolic function of diplomacy to lavish entertainments most diplomatic missions offer to the members of the government to which they are accredited, to the fellow diplomats and to the influential citizens of the capital where the mission is located. Legal Representation: The diplomatic machinery acts as the legal representative of its government. It may be authorized to conduct negotiation and to sign treaty. It may represent its nation at any international conference and cast their vote according to the instructions of their government.
The diplomats provide legal protections to the citizens of their country abroad. This functions, which involves protecting the lives and promoting the interests of nationals residing or travelling abroad is a routine task although during catastrophe or civil disorders, the role of diplomats in this capacity may assume much significance. The nationals have to be protected, or evacuated if necessary. They must be represented by legal consuls if jailed. Their property or other interests abroad must be protected if the local government does not provide such service.
The diplomat also influences the formation of the foreign policy of his country. As the foreign office is the nerve centre to the foreign policy, so are the diplomatic representatives in outlying fibers maintaining the two-way traffic between the centre and the outside world (Morgenthau 1960, 572). The diplomat represents his country in the state in which he is posted. As political representative of his country, he performs various functions such as obtaining information, about foreign involvements, reporting to his country, negotiating with foreign governments and providing advice to his own government.
Reporting: It involves the observation of the political, economic, military and social conditions of the host country and the accurate transmissions of findings to the home office. What is reported to the home state may be regarded as intelligence. These reports covers nearly every conceivable subjects. The economic reports contains detailed information regarding economic growth rate, inflation, trade, balance of payment situation of the host states. Political reports highlight the structures, processes and leaders of political parties and the relative electoral strength of various parties and their attitudes, snd policies about home states.
The military intelligence report covers information about the quality of military leadership, the nature and quality of military equipments and military policies and intentions. Social reporting includes information about ethnic, religious, and social group activities, social unrest and grievances, class structure and influence of social stratification on electoral process and political system of the country. Thus, diplomatic reporting includes diverse subjects, from technical studies to analysis of psychology of nation. Negotiation: It is the most substantive function of the diplomats.
Diplomats are by definition negotiators. Diplomatic negotiation may be conducted through persuation and compromise, inducement and pressure. A diplomat while conducting negotiation must navigate between and reconcile conflicting interest groups. In all diplomatic negotiations, a major stumbling block is failure to understand different mentalities and value systems of foreign nations. Because of the developments in communications and increasing resort to multilateral diplomacy, diplomats do not play as great a role in international negotiations as once they performed.
Most agreements between states are still bilateral and are finalized through negotiations between the foreign offices by the use of ordinary diplomatic channels. But the major international agreements, especially those of multilateral characters, are usually negotiated directly by the foreign ministers or their special representatives, often at international conferences. Providing Advice: The final important function of diplomats, aside from bargaining and negotiation, is to provide advice to those who formulated goals and plans of action, and occasionally to make important policy decisions by themselves.
All diplomats act as policy makers because they provide the large part of information on which the policy is based. Thus the diplomats can be regarded as ¦ the eyes and ears that reports the events of the outside world to the nerve centre of foreign policy (Morgenthau 1960). They also act as hands and mouths through which the directives coming from the nerve centre are transformed into words and activities.
They explain the foreign policy of home state before foreign governments and the people and strive to mobilize their support in favor of foreign policy of their own state. For this task of selling a foreign policy, the personal appeal of the diplomat and his understanding of the psychology of the foreign people are essential prerequisites (Morgenthau 1960, 525) Thus, personal skill, quality and efficiency of the diplomatic machineries have made significant contribution to the power of their countries as well to the cause of international peace and stability.