Is there such a thing as an honorary consular corps? If the answer is yes, there must also be a career consular corps. And how about distinguishing in other ways, like by geographic areas? There would then be an argument for a European consular corps, an Asian consular corps, etc. There’s no end to the delineations.
Since I write about the foreign consuls “among us” – that is, somewhere in the United States – we should understand what it really means when we have a group of consuls (a “corps”) in a particular community. Once someone is accredited to a specific area he/she becomes an automatic member of the corps for that area. In legal terms, a group of consuls – a corps – is a body sui generis.
But what to do with what I call “splinters and slivers” in my book? While consuls with special interests or backgrounds are naturally free to meet as they wish, they should not be confused with the one consular corps that consists of all officially recognized consuls in a specified geographic area. The consular corps of City X probably consists of both honorary and career consuls, but that doesn’t mean there should be a separate honorary consular corps and a career consular corps.