Missions of the Chancery
Ambassador of France to Botswana - Special Representant to SADC
HE Mrs Anne de LA BLACHE
The chancery is the ambassador’s "headquarters" and the hub of the entire mission. Traditionally, this term describes the small team of diplomats who are the head of mission’s closest colleagues.
The Chancery counsellors, secretaries and attachés in various numbers: there are about fifteen in the Washington embassy or in the delegations to the United Nations or the European Union; more often there are only one or two. Each deals with a particular category of dossiers. When the workforce is small, one member of staff will for example attend to the situation in the host country, while another attends to relations with France. When the team is larger, it branches out and members of staff are able to specialise. Within the particular sector, each one prepares the work of the ambassador, each also acts at his particular level on the instructions of the head of post. In a multilateral mission, each official is responsible for one or more commissions. Usually the ambassador brings the team together every morning to check progress and divide up the work.
The cipher office is the heart of the chancery as it dispatches the major part of the correspondence. Today encryption of telegrams is automatic and transmission is instantaneous. It is the subsequent distribution that takes time, which is why the screen has begun to replace paper. The Archives and Documentation Centre(CAD) sends, receives and classifies all correspondence. The unencrypted mail, that is the letters (which are called "dispatches") use the diplomatic bag. The secretariat, the practical tasks of which are now lightened by information technology, perform in a foreign language what management secretaries do in French in France.