What is a U.S. Mission?
In diplomatic terms, “mission” is a tricky word. All embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic posts in foreign countries are known as missions (and they all share a mission, which in broadest terms is to carry out the foreign policy of the President.)
But the U.S. government is also a member of many international organizations.
U.S. representatives to these organizations, and the work they do, are called diplomatic missions but they are often listed as Missions (with a capital "M").
Missions are led by an ambassador and do some of the same work as embassies:
- listening and reporting
- communicating with media
- advancing U.S. views
- negotiating with representatives of other countries and the staff from other international organizations
The United States Mission to the United Nations in New York City, for example, is the nation’s largest mission to an international organization. It has a staff of over 200 people who represent the United States’ political, economic, legal, and military interests and American values at the United Nations.
The United States also has Missions to the African Union, the Organization of American States, the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, NATO, and many other international groups.