1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chargé d'Affaires

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CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES (Fr. for “in charge of business”), the title of two classes of diplomatic agents, (1) Chargés d’affaires (ministres chargés d’affaires), who were placed by the règlement of the congress of Vienna in the 4th class of diplomatic agents, are heads of permanent missions accredited to countries to which, for some reason, it is not possible or not desirable to send agents of a higher rank. They are distinguished from these latter by the fact that their credentials are addressed by the minister for foreign affairs of the state which they are to represent to the minister for foreign affairs of the receiving state. Though still occasionally accredited, ministers of this class are now rare. They have precedence over the other class of chargés d’affaires. (2) Chargés d’affaires per interim, or chargés des affaires, are those who are presented as such, either verbally or in writing, by heads of missions of the first, second or third rank to the minister for foreign affairs of the state to which they are accredited, when they leave their post temporarily, or pending the arrival of their successor. It is usual to appoint a counsellor or secretary of legation chargé d’affaires. Some governments are accustomed to give the title of minister to such chargés d’affaires, which ranks them with the other heads of legation. Essentially chargés d’affaires do not differ from ambassadors, envoys or ministers resident. They represent their nation, and enjoy the same privileges and immunities as other diplomatic agents (see Diplomacy).