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The Special Envoy

The State Department Building, January 26, 2017. Joshua Roberts / Reuters

AMONG all the instruments available to the President in his conduct of foreign relations, none is more flexible than the use of personal representatives. He is free to employ officials of the government or private citizens. He may give them such rank and title as seem appropriate to the tasks; these designations may be ambassador, commissioner, agent, delegate; or he may assign no title at all. He may send his agents to any place on earth that he thinks desirable and give them instructions either by word of mouth, or in writing, or through the Department of State, or in any other manner that seems to him fitted to the occasion. Some have been exceedingly formal; others completely informal. Many agents have borne commissions like those of Government officers, ensuring them diplomatic rights, dignities and immunities. Because of these circumstances many have mistakenly considered themselves officers. Others have had mere

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