2 FAM 320 

PRECEDENCE

(CT:GEN-529;   10-09-2018)
(Office of Origin:  S/CPR)

2 FAM 321  ESTABLISHMENT OF RULES OF PRECEDENCE

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Precedence lists establish the order or ranking of a country’s government, military, and, in some cases, civic leaders for diplomatic, ceremonial, and social events, at home and abroad.  The President, through the State Department’s Office of the Chief of Protocol (S/CPR), establishes the U.S. Order of Precedence.  It is reviewed and revised from time to time as offices and personnel change.  The Chief of Protocol is the custodian of the U.S. Precedence List.

b. Precedence and rank among U.S. officials abroad may affect many aspects of the conduct of business and of social intercourse.  Therefore, it is important for host governments and officials of other embassies in the host country to know the precedence of visiting U.S. Government officials, as well as the precedence of U.S. representatives at post.

2 FAM 322  PRECEDENCE OF U.S. OFFICIALS ABROAD

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Precedence of U.S. Government officials traveling to post with the President or Vice President, as members of a delegation representing the President at an event, to conduct business with the host government, or on similar occasions, is determined in accordance with the United States Order of Precedence.  You may obtain guidance on precedence for these persons from the Office of the Chief of Protocol in the Department of State.

b. Precedence of members of the Foreign Service and other U.S. officials abroad depends to a large extent on the situation and the relationships existing at any one time.  With this in mind, the following sections of this chapter deal with six different types of relationships or situations.

c.  The rules of precedence between members of the Foreign Service and representatives of other U.S. Government agencies abroad are based on Executive Order 9998, dated September 14, 1948.

2 FAM 323  PRECEDENCE WITHIN THE U.S. FOREIGN SERVICE

(CT:GEN-325;   02-10-2006)

a. The provisions of this section apply generally only within the district of assignment abroad.  During domestic assignments within the Department, members of the Foreign Service rank according to the position held within the Department's organization.

b. Itinerant Foreign Service officers (not within the district of assignment where they have jurisdiction) rank only according to their class and the date of appointment to their class, respectively.

2 FAM 323.1  Foreign Service Officers Holding Diplomatic Titles

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Within their area of assignment, Foreign Service officers take precedence according to:

(1)  Title;

(2)  Foreign Service class;

(3)  Salary; and

(4)  Date of arrival at post, except as provided below.

b. At a diplomatic mission, the ranking officer of the Foreign Service, who will take charge in the absence of the chief of mission, always takes precedence next to the chief of mission.

2 FAM 323.2  Transient U.S. Officials

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

Among U.S. officials not within the jurisdiction of their assignments, whether en route to or returning from assignments, rank would be less determinate.  If precedence must be determined among a group of U.S. officials, military and civilian, salary is probably the best criterion available.  Among officers of the Foreign Service, as indicated, class and date of appointment to that class are the determinants.

2 FAM 324  PRECEDENCE WITHIN A MISSION

2 FAM 324.1  Chief of Mission

(CT:GEN-298;   11-22-1999)

In the country to which he or she is accredited, the chief of the diplomatic mission takes precedence over all officers and representatives of other executive departments and agencies.

2 FAM 324.2  Chargé d'Affaires ad Interim

(CT:GEN-298;   11-22-1999)

a. In the absence of the titular head of the mission, the chargé d'affaires ad interim takes precedence over all officers, military and civilian, and representatives of other federal agencies.  When the absence of the chief of mission and the relinquishment of the charge of his or her office is temporary and the spouse has remained in the capital, the spouse continues to be accorded the courtesies and consideration he or she customarily receives when the chief of mission is present.

b. When the chief of mission is present, the officer who would become chargé d'affaires ad interim takes precedence next in succession to the chief of mission.

2 FAM 324.3  Career Ministers, Minister-Counselors, and Counselors (Senior Foreign Service)

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Career ministers, minister-counselors, and counselors take precedence after the deputy chief of mission, or in the absence of the deputy chief of mission, after the officer who would take charge in the absence of the chief of mission.

b. Officers of the Foreign Service with the title of minister (usually career ministers or minister-counselors) take precedence over those officers who have the title of counselor.  They rank among themselves in accordance with the rules of:

(1)  Class;

(2)  Salary; and

(3)  Date of arrival at post.

c.  Counselors rank among themselves on the basis of:

(1)  Class;

(2)  Salary; and

(3)  Date of arrival at post.

d. The Office of Career Development and Assignments (HR/CDA) recommends or determines exceptions when special circumstances exist.  Notification to the local foreign ministry of an officer's title and rank is made only after the ministry receives the Department's official approval.

2 FAM 324.4  Military Attachés

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. The defense attaché and the army, naval, and air attachés take precedence next in succession after the counselors of embassy or mission (or senior secretary, if there are no counselors).

b. Army, naval, and air attachés take precedence among themselves according to their respective grade and seniority.

c.  Except as provided in this subchapter, the standing of a military officer in the order of precedence is not elevated because of that officer’s duties as attaché at a diplomatic mission.

d. Individual ranking of army, naval, and air attachés and inclusion in local diplomatic lists follow formal notification by the Department to the post of diplomatic designations approved for such officers.

2 FAM 324.5  Civilian Attachés Who Are Not Foreign Service Members

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Civilian attachés who are not officers of the Foreign Service take precedence with but after the defense, army, naval, and air attachés.

b. Civilian attachés who are not officers of the Foreign Service are ranked among themselves in accordance with their respective salaries.  When their salaries are the same, they are ranked according to the date of arrival at post.  Missions must not transmit the names of civilian attachés to the foreign ministry of the host country until they have received from the Office of Career Development and Assignments (HR/CDA) formal notification of the diplomatic designations approved for such officers.

2 FAM 324.6  Foreign Service Officers Below Counselor Level

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Officers of the Foreign Service with titles below that of counselor (or the senior secretary if no counselors are assigned), including attachés and assistant attachés, follow the civilian attachés who are not members of the Foreign Service, in accordance with the rules of title, class, salary, and date of arrival at post.

b. Officers with the title of attaché are ranked among first and second secretaries on the basis of salary.  If their salaries are the same as those of officers holding the title of first or second secretaries, the attachés rank after such officers.

c.  Officers of the Foreign Service holding the title of assistant attaché rank among third secretaries on the basis of salary.  If their salaries are the same, the assistant attaché ranks after the third secretary.  Like third secretaries, assistant attachés of the Foreign Service rank after assistant attachés of the Armed Forces and assistant civilian attachés not of the Foreign Service.

d. The Department’s Office of Career Development and Assignments (HR/CDA) recommends or determines exceptions when special circumstances exist.  Post makes formal notification only after approval by the Department.

2 FAM 324.7  Assistant Military and Civilian Attachés

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. Assistant army, naval, and air attachés take precedence after the lowest ranking second secretary.  Assistant army, naval, and air attachés take precedence among themselves according to their respective grades and seniority.

b. At a post where there are no second secretaries assigned, assistant army, naval, and air attachés take precedence as a group among the officers of the Foreign Service of rank equivalent to second secretaries, as the chief of mission may direct.

c.  Civilian assistant attachés who are not members of the Foreign Service take precedence with but after the assistant army, naval, and air attachés.  The sample list that follows, illustrates diplomatic precedence among Foreign Service, military, and civilian officers:

Rank

Grade

Ambassador

FE-MC

Deputy Chief of Mission

FE-OC

Minister Counselor for USAID

FE-MC

Counselor for Commercial Affairs

FE-OC

Counselor for Public Affairs

FE-OC

Counselor for Political Affairs

FE-OC

Defense Attaché

Lieutenant Colonel

Treasury Attaché

GS-14

FAA Attaché

GS-13

First Secretary

FS-01

Attaché

FS-01

Attaché

FS-01

Attaché

FS-02

First Secretary

FS-02

Second Secretary

FS-03

Assistant Army Attaché

Lieutenant Colonel

Assistant Air Attaché

Major

Assistant Attaché - DHS

GS-12

Assistant Attaché - Energy Advisor

GS-11

Third Secretary

FS-05

General Diplomatic Precedence and Ranking:

All Senior Foreign Service (SFS) officers except the chief of mission are ranked among themselves in order of (1) salary and (2) arrival (EOD).

Foreign Service officers below the SFS are ranked from first through second secretaries; if salaries are the same, attachés then follow, from military through Foreign Service and then non-FS civilian agencies based on (1) salary and (2) arrival (EOD).

Assistant attachés of the Armed Forces come before assistant attachés of the Foreign Service and assistant attachés of non-FS civilian agencies.

2 FAM 325  PRECEDENCE OF CONSULAR OFFICERS RELATIVE TO OTHER FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVES

2 FAM 325.1  Consular Officers and Officers of the U.S. Armed Forces

(CT:GEN-298;   11-22-1999)

a. In accordance with Executive Order 9998, in districts where they are assigned, consuls general take precedence with, but after, brigadier generals in the Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps and rear admirals in the Navy.

b. Consuls take precedence with but after colonels in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps and captains in the Navy.

c.  Vice consuls take precedence with but after captains in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps and lieutenants (senior grade) in the Navy.

d. The following list illustrates precedence among consular officers and officers of the U.S. Armed Services:

(1)  Brigadier Generals and Rear Admirals;

(2)  Consuls General;

(3)  Colonels and Navy Captains;

(4)  Consuls;

(5)  Lt. Colonels and Commanders;

(6)  Majors and Lt. Commanders;

(7)  Captains and Lieutenants (senior grade);

(8)  Vice Consuls;

(9)  First Lieutenants and Lieutenants (junior grade); and

(10) Second Lieutenants and Ensigns.

2 FAM 325.2  Consular Officers and Medical Officers of the U.S. Public Health Service

(CT:GEN-298;   11-22-1999)

a. Consuls general, consuls, and vice consuls take precedence over medical officers as follows:

(1)  Consul general over medical director;

(2)  Consul with but after medical director; and

(3)  Vice consul with but after senior and assistant surgeon.

b. The exception to the above is that no medical officer of any rank takes precedence above that of the consular officer in charge of a post no matter what the latter's rank.

2 FAM 326  PRECEDENCE WITHIN DELEGATIONS TO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

2 FAM 326.1  Chiefs of Mission

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. By agreement among nations, chiefs of mission rank as follows according to title:

(1)  Papal Nuncios or Legates in Catholic countries;

(2)  Ambassador;

(3)  Minister;

(4)  Chargé d'affaires ad hoc or pro tempore;

(5)  Chargé d'affaires ad interim (of embassy);

(6)  Chargé d'affaires ad interim (of mission);

(7)  Commissioner; and

(8)  Diplomatic Agent.

b. Within each of the above categories, chiefs of mission rank according to the date of the presentation of their letters of credence.  The senior member of the corps according to these rules is known as "Dean of the Diplomatic Corps."

2 FAM 326.2  Under Chief of Mission

(CT:GEN-298;   11-22-1999)

At very large affairs, each mission may be grouped with its chief and given its chief’s rank within the assemblage as a whole.  Although precedence among U.S. citizens relative to foreign guests should be taken into account, U.S. citizens should be interspersed among the foreign guests so as to allow the most intermingling.  However, the chief of mission must be accorded his or her proper place, because he or she is the person representing the United States, and, because of that position, there are many rights the chief of mission cannot personally concede.

2 FAM 326.3  Within the Consular Corps

(CT:GEN-61;   02-10-1966)

The consular corps always ranks after the diplomatic corps.  Within the consular corps itself, the date of exequatur determines the seniority among the principal officers, and usually, depending on local practice, the senior member is the dean of the consular corps.

2 FAM 327  PRECEDENCE AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

(CT:GEN-384;   10-18-2011)

a. At international conferences, the heads of the delegations representing the various participating countries generally have no personal rank or precedence among themselves.  At the conference table or at conference social functions, the conference order of precedence determines the seating of the heads of delegations.  The rules and regulations of the conference determine the order of precedence in an international conference.  If no rules and regulations exist, the host government is responsible for establishing a temporary order of precedence (frequently the alphabetical order of country names in the language of the host country), subject to approval by the conference.

b. U.S. delegation members, including Foreign Service personnel, rank among themselves in accordance with the formally approved delegation list.  When a government holds a conference and is host at a social or ceremonial function to which the local diplomatic corps is invited, it may accord the officials accredited to that country their customary diplomatic rank instead of their delegation rank.

c.  The Office of International Conferences (IO/C) can provide further information on rules governing international conferences.

2 FAM 328 AND 329  UNASSIGNED