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Article 9 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states the following:
‘The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State. If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission.’
Both the United Kingdom and the United States are signatories to that convention. However, I wouldn’t expect Britain’s overwhelmingly anti-Trump media to do anything that amounts to background research and, thus, come to the conclusion America is acting wholly in accordance with that convention in refusing to deal with our Ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch. If anything, our woke newspaper editors and politicians are going against the provisions of that convention by refusing to recall Darroch, who’s now effectively a lame duck in our Washington diplomatic mission.
The leaking of Darroch’s assessment of the Trump White House is as suspicious in its timing as it is in its content. After all, this man – as ardent a Europhile as anyone you’d find languishing on the green benches in the Commons – has form when it comes to shooting from the lip. As UK envoy in Brussels years ago, Darroch couldn’t hide his disdain for the raft of new member states from Eastern Europe. Today, he presides over a dysfunctional (the term he used for Trump’s administration) UK Embassy, where subordinates feel they have the latitude to actually leak trite, boilerplate comments about the leader of a country we’re hoping to conclude successful trade talks with after Brexit. Why have British Embassy staff in places like Sudan, Venezuela or China not behaved in this way? That will be a question raised more and more as the ‘Save Our Hero Kim’ hysteria abates.
To have a man whose opinions are expressed like some ranty student editorial in The Guardian, stationed in the capital of our most important ally is not a good look. Those promoting Darroch as the next entry into the hall of sainthood should read more into his background. Because this guy is less a diplomatic diplomat, and much more a political one with an agenda at any given time. His opinion of Trump should be seen in that light.