Britain has recently begun a campaign to expel Russian diplomats from Europe. But let's say tomorrow new evidence shows up proving that Russia wasn't involved - the UK would certainly be in a bad position and might be forced to apologize if they ever admit they are wrong.

But has there ever been a precedent where a state apologized to another state after going as far as expelling their diplomats? Or should one expect the UK to 'maintain face' no matter what as its not common practice in diplomacy to apologize? Note that I'm only interested in cases of voluntary apologies, not situations where someone does it after losing a war or at the threat of an invasion.

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    Remember that a country doesn't need to give a reason for expelling a diplomat. A country can expel any diplomat for any reason or none. That being so, it seems unlikely that they would apologise. And countries don't normally "apologise", at least in public. Proving a negative is going to be hard.
    – James K
    Apr 5 '18 at 19:58
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    @JamesK countries don't normally "apologise" AFAIK they do. books.google.es/… There are famous examples like the Warschauer Kniefall. Or cases like telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/17/…, and others.
    – SJuan76
    Apr 5 '18 at 22:49
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    Having said that, given that the diplomats have been described as intelligence operatives, I do not expect any apology for their expulsion even if somehow Russia is cleared from the Skipal affair. In that case there could (note: could) be an apology due to accusations of Russian implications, but not because the expulsions themselves.
    – SJuan76
    Apr 5 '18 at 22:50

Normally expelled diplomats are reassigned to different post and a new diplomat is sent to the country that expelled the last one. The unwritten rule is that the selection of diplomats to be expelled are the Ambassador (the top guy in the Embassy) and staff that are highly likely to be part of the country's intelligence agencies stationed in the embassy. The benefit is that it disrupts the guest nations operations against the host nation for some time.

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    I'm sorry, but the question was: "Has a state ever apologized and reversed its decision of expelling diplomats of a foreign country?". You are not answering that question.
    – Philipp
    Apr 5 '18 at 20:12
  • @Phillip: No, I'm aware of the question, but the situation does not happen because that's not how it works. UK and all other countries have not severed diplomatic ties, but rather sent the current office holders home... Russia will have a new Ambassador in that embassy so long as the diplomatic relations are not severed.
    – hszmv
    Apr 5 '18 at 20:24

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