Does the jargon "Post" in U.S. diplomatic cables refer to the writer, the chief of mission (the same person in the cable below), the mission as a whole, or something else? Examples:

Post seeks Washington approval to proceed with the planning conferences for three military exercises...

Post recommends that Washington authorize U.S. planners to move forward with the aforementioned exercises.

At that time, Post recommended against entertaining any Thai requests to attend U.S. training courses until we were better able to assess the interim government's progress towards restoring democracy. Post now recommends we be authorized to permit the Thai to purchase U.S. military training at their own expense. As a practical matter, Post does not anticipate many Thai participating in such a program but views this as a low-cost way to encourage continued positive steps in Thailand's return to a democratically elected government.

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    The Post is the embassy or mission. – Michael Harvey Mar 9 at 12:33

Post may refer to the specific job of a diplomat within a diplomatic organisation or embassy.

post = a job in a company or organization


In the context of your question, post refers to an embassy or diplomatic office in whichever countries are referred to. An example of such usage is in:

For the first time, China now has more diplomatic posts around the world than any other country, an Australian think tank says.

According to the Lowy Institute, China overtook the US in 2019, with 276 embassies and other representative offices globally.

That's three more posts than the US - France, Japan and Russia are in the next spots.

The UK comes in at number 11, down two ranks from 2016.


The opinions expressed to Washington are likely to be the considered and co-ordinated opinion (or requests for action or decisions from Washington) of the post rather than of individuals within it. Individuals may change at short notice but the entity of the post remains and it is it rather than the people within it that corresponds with Washington.

The term seems to have evaded dictionary definition but is widely used. Here is another authoritative example:

China has overtaken the US as the country with the largest diplomatic network, with 276 diplomatic posts around the world — three more than Washington — and ahead of third-ranked France. Beijing ranked behind both countries when the index was first published three years ago.

The number of UK embassies has remained steady at 149 since the 2016 rankings were released. But the government has closed or downgraded 11 consulates and diplomatic offices, including posts in St Petersburg, Russia and Alexandria, Egypt, according to the Lowy index. 

“While the stakes of Brexit are highest for the UK, it has been slow off the mark in preparing its diplomats for Brexit,” said Bonnie Bley, research fellow at Lowy. 

“By contrast, Ireland and the Netherlands have taken determined steps to boost their networks as part of their Brexit strategies, adding eight and seven posts respectively.” 

Ireland is ranked 40th on the index with 87 overseas posts but experienced the largest boost to its diplomatic footprint, rising from 43rd in 2017. Its foreign minister has attributed this expansion to its “Brexit strategy”. 

Financial Times

  • Good find, but is there dictionary support? Possibly not at the moment. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 9 at 16:02
  • @EdwinAshworth I have failed to find dictionary support but have reinforced the answer accordingly. – Anton Mar 9 at 18:55
  • Diligence, or what. Sorry I can't upvote again. I almost feel guilty for downvoting an over-ballpark answer elsewhere. But the site is the thing. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 9 at 19:29
  • @EdwinAshworth Kind of you. You remind me that I was always intrigued by the use of diligence as a form of transport in the Bram Stoker Dracula story. Later life gave me the nous to consult dictionaries. – Anton Mar 9 at 21:44
  • I found it wonderful when online dictionaries, which covered senses other dictionaries apparently weren't aware of, became freely available. But senses cryptic crossword compilers used with gleeful abandon. (They still seem embarrassingly au fait with the full OED.) 'Invest' in the 'besiege' sense still sometimes throws me. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 10 at 11:47

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