Consular Protocol

A Reliable Reference for Consular Etiquette and Protocol

In my role as secretary of what was then the third largest consular corps in the U.S. (Miami), I was the keeper of the records and in that sense somewhat of a “public face.” Among the many questions I was asked by miscellaneous callers and letter-writers was if and why foreign consuls should be treated differently from local citizens.

Most questioners knew there was some sort of “rules” (not to be confused with the historical protocol used with ambassadors throughout the capitals of all nations), but they specifically wanted to know which ones applied to consuls.

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George Firestone, FL Secretary of State, welcoming Korean Consul General Bok Hyung Lee.
George Firestone, FL Secretary of State, welcoming Korean Consul General Bok Hyung Lee.
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Florida Is Often Depicted As a Pioneer

In tying its international identity to the foreign consuls functioning within it, with George Firestone (Secretary of State 1978-87) frequently getting the credit for the state’s official actions in this regard. It wasn’t long before state officials also came to realize that the outdated handbook on state protocol – Practical Protocol for Floridians – should be updated to reflect this part of the emerging globalism in the areas specifically defined by Mr. Firestone: trade and culture.

When Allen Morris, official state Historian and Clerk of the Florida, asked me to add a comprehensive chapter on the protocol for dealing with consuls he also asked me to include the role of consuls. Why do foreign consuls have different titles? Should their status be recognized differently when they serve in a career or honorary position? Are there rules of protocol that should be followed? And, above all, how can civic and business leaders and state officials benefit from having this knowledge?