Recently, it became somewhat common for governments to publish letters, like the two examples given below. I just wonder: How are those letters between governments and/or international organizations being transported and delivered? How long does delivery of such a letter take?

I can not imagine that some official just sticks a stamp on the envelope and hand it to an "ordinary" postal service like the USPS or the Royal Mail.


Example Letter 1 Example Letter 2


1 Answer 1


Formally, the letters get sent through diplomatic channels. That is, someone is transporting the letter in a diplomatic bag to a relevant embassy who delivers it or to its recipient directly.

More practically, the letters also get sent digitally (read: email, press release, twitter, etc.) so that the recipients get the message immediately.

(In case the latter makes you wonder about security: if someone hacked e.g. Trump's Twitter account and "sent" a fake diplomatic letter, it would end up getting denied shortly after. The formal letter is the one that actually matters.)

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    There is also the combination of the letter being sent digitally to the embassy, which prints and delivers it. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 22:16
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    I'd imagine countries that send a lot of diplomatic mail to each other also have digital signature systems that they can use to authenticate messages from each other. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 22:22
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    Digital transmission to an embassy has the advantage of secure channels, including encryption, so the embassy knows the message is authentic. The decrypted and printed copy is hand delivered by an accredited diplomat, so the receiving country knows it is authentic. Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 7:58
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    @PatriciaShanahan Do you have proof of this procedure? If yes, maybe you can extend the answer by editing in your findings. Will the original be delivered later, or does the copy replace the original?
    – dirdi
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 10:35
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    @dirdi The obvious, and very well documented, historical instance is the Japanese attempt during WWII to deliver to the US State Department a document that could be claimed to be a declaration of war just before the Pearl Harbor attack. Various problems, including slow decryption and typing in Washington, delayed delivery until after the attack. See, for example, Japan Admits It Bungled Notice of War in '41. Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 10:52

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