For Immediate Release: July 20, 2018
Protecting Diplomatic Immunity is a National Interest
The American Academy of Diplomacy and the Council of American Ambassadors issue a joint statement stressing the vital importance of protecting diplomatic immunity for U.S. national interest.
Washington, D.C. – The Russian interest in interviewing Ambassador McFaul in connection with alleged crimes is, as the Department of State spokesman has said, absurd. The request raises serious problems for American diplomacy and those serving our nation as diplomats overseas. Full diplomatic immunities are essential to protecting diplomats in their efforts to keep their government fully and completely informed without hindrance from other states and to carry out foreign policy in all its aspects free of such intervention or the threat of such intervention. American diplomats need to be able to trust that their immunities will be fully preserved by both so long as they are performing their duties and in connection with previously performed duties covered by such immunities under international law. Administrations and policies may change but our diplomats must be confident that our government has their back.
Were that not to be the case, no diplomat could be secure in carrying out his or her instructions from Washington and confident the United States will not turn them over to a foreign state for investigation of any action they took for the United States while covered by diplomatic immunities. The Russian suggestion that the U.S. government should in any way facilitate the questioning of diplomats covered by immunities during their service in Russia is a concept that should be rejected to assure the full protection of U.S. interests and the diplomats serving those interests.
Thomas R. Pickering
Ronald E. Neumann
Bruce S. Gelb