What Is a Chief Diplomat?

A chief diplomat is the highest level diplomat, or official representative, in any diplomatic installation. In an embassy, the chief diplomat is the ambassador. In a consulate, the chief diplomat is a consul.

Countries establish diplomatic installations, such as embassies, consulates and virtual presence posts, in foreign countries to maintain good relations with the foreign country and support their own citizens who are visiting or living in the country. Embassies handle formal relationships with the foreign government in the country's capital and are led by an ambassador who handles chief diplomat functions. Consulates are smaller than embassies and mostly handle tourist-related issues. They are located in major tourist cities and are led by consuls who handle their chief diplomat responsibilities.