Consuls can also be Honorary Consuls General
At a recent Consular Summit in Florida, I lost track of how many times distinguished speakers and panel moderators made reference to “consuls general and honorary consuls” as if the two stand in contrast to each other. This is not the case! Going back to basics, let’s review:
Consuls come in two groups: career and honorary. Each group is then divided into three classifications: consul general, consul, and vice consul. Hence, we find consuls general who are either career OR honorary, etc. In fact, for a long time we had at least one honorary consul general in Miami alone.
And, as I share in my book https://chofstadter.com/foreign-consuls-among-us-book/ one honorary consul I know petitioned his appointing government to have his position elevated to honorary consul general (for purposes of ranking). He was granted his request, and from then on should correctly have been referenced as “honorary consul general.”
Do you see the more-than-linguistic dilemma here? If we’re truly interested in recognizing consuls in a professional manner (and showing sophistication at the same time), we need to understand the easy division above.
What could have been said at the Consular Summit is, for instance, “all career consuls and their honorary colleagues,” in the process being inclusive of every consular representative who was in attendance.