Plenipotentiary

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The word plenipotentiary (from the Latin plenus "full" and potens "powerful") has multiple meanings. As a noun, it refers to a person who has "full powers". In particular, the term commonly refers to a diplomat fully authorized to represent a government as a prerogative (e.g., ambassador). As an adjective, plenipotentiary refers to something—an edict, assignment, etc.—that confers "full powers". [1]

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Diplomat person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization

A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with one or more other states or international organizations. The main functions of diplomats are: representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state; initiation and facilitation of strategic agreements; treaties and conventions; promotion of information; trade and commerce; technology; and friendly relations. Seasoned diplomats of international repute are used in international organizations as well as multinational companies for their experience in management and negotiating skills. Diplomats are members of foreign services and diplomatic corps of various nations of the world.

A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.

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Diplomats

Before the era of rapid international transport or essentially instantaneous communication (such as telegraph in the mid-19th century and then radio), diplomatic mission chiefs were granted full (plenipotentiary) powers to represent their government in negotiations with their host nation. Conventionally, any representations made or agreements reached with a plenipotentiary would be recognized and complied with by their government.

Communication is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.

Radio technology of using radio waves to carry information

Radio is the technology of signalling or communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are generated by an electronic device called a transmitter connected to an antenna which radiates the waves, and received by a radio receiver connected to another antenna. Radio is very widely used in modern technology, in radio communication, radar, radio navigation, remote control, remote sensing and other applications. In radio communication, used in radio and television broadcasting, cell phones, two-way radios, wireless networking and satellite communication among numerous other uses, radio waves are used to carry information across space from a transmitter to a receiver, by modulating the radio signal in the transmitter. In radar, used to locate and track objects like aircraft, ships, spacecraft and missiles, a beam of radio waves emitted by a radar transmitter reflects off the target object, and the reflected waves reveal the object's location. In radio navigation systems such as GPS and VOR, a mobile receiver receives radio signals from navigational radio beacons whose position is known, and by precisely measuring the arrival time of the radio waves the receiver can calculate its position on Earth. In wireless remote control devices like drones, garage door openers, and keyless entry systems, radio signals transmitted from a controller device control the actions of a remote device.

Historically, the common generic term for high diplomats of the crown or state was minister. It therefore became customary to style the chiefs of full ranking missions as Minister Plenipotentiary. This position was roughly equivalent to the modern Ambassador, a term that historically was reserved mainly for missions between the great powers and also relating to the dogal (city) state of Venice.

Ambassador diplomatic envoy

An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment. The word is also often used more liberally for persons who are known, without national appointment, to represent certain professions, activities and fields of endeavor such as sales.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

Permanent missions at a bilateral level were chiefly limited to relations between large, neighboring or closely allied powers, rarely to the very numerous small principalities, hardly worth the expense. However, diplomatic missions were dispatched for specific tasks, such as negotiating a treaty bilaterally, or via a conference, such as the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire. In such cases, it was normal to send a representative minister empowered to cast votes. For example, in the Peace Treaty of Versailles (1783), ending the American Revolution, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay were named "minister plenipotentiary of the United States" to the Netherlands, France and Spain, respectively.

A principality can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or by a monarch with another title considered to fall under the generic meaning of the term prince.

Holy Roman Empire Varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

John Adams 2nd president of the United States

John Adams was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, and also served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and regularly corresponded with many important figures in early American history including his wife and adviser, Abigail, and his letters and other papers are an important source of historical information about the era.

By the time of the Vienna Congress (1814–15), which codified diplomatic relations, Ambassador had become a common title, and was established as the only class above Minister Plenipotentiary. Ambassadors gradually became the standard title for bilateral mission chiefs, as their ranks no longer tended to reflect the importance of the states, which came to be treated as formally equal.

In modern times, heads of state and of government, and more junior ministers and officials, can easily meet or speak with each other personally. Therefore, ambassadors arguably do not require plenipotentiary powers. However they continue to be designated and accredited as extraordinary and plenipotentiary.

Administration

Outside of diplomatic plenipotentiaries, some permanent administrators are also given plenipotentiary powers. Central governments have sometimes conferred plenipotentiary status (either formally or de facto) on territorial governors. This has been most likely to occur when the remoteness of the administered territory made it impracticable for the central government to maintain and exercise its policies, laws and initiatives directly.

There have been instances where a mandate was conferred publicly on a senior official, such as a minor member of the ruling house (sometimes with the title of viceroy) but with secret instructions drastically limiting the position's power by conferring plenipotentiary status on a more junior administrator, possibly of lower social class or caste. Thus, the formal position an individual holds has not always been a reliable indicator of actual plenipotentiary authority.

Even in modern times, the Plenipotentiary title has been revived sometimes, for example for the administrators of protectorates or in other cases of indirect rule.

Examples of plenipotentiary administration are given below.

Colonial era

Pre-World War II Europe

Nazi Germany

In Africa

Since 1945

South Africa

It may be impractical to hold a new referendum for each step of series of negotiated changes, and thus ministers might ask an electorate for plenipotentiary powers in advance, as in the South African apartheid referendum, 1992. Prior to the referendum, the state president F. W. de Klerk had already implemented extensive reforms e.g. removing the Group Areas Act. However, his right to negotiate these reforms was questioned by other parties e.g. Andries Treurnicht's Conservative Party, particularly in response to the National Party's Potchefstroom by-election defeat in February 1992. Given how heavily entrenched apartheid was in the South African legal system at the time, Mr. de Klerk needed to nullify many previous bills and pass many new ones, making a series of individual referenda impractical. Consequently, as a practical solution to the political deadlock, Mr. de Klerk held a referendum on 17 March 1992 to ask the white South African electorate to give him plenipotentiary powers.

Russia

On May 18, 2000, in the post-Soviet Russian Federation the title Plenipotentiary of the President was established for the appointees of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in each of the seven federal districts created on May 13: Dalnevostochny (Far Eastern), Privolzhsky (Volga Region), Severo-Zapadny (North Western), Sibirsky (Siberian), Tsentralny (Central), Uralsky (Ural) and Yuzhny (Southern).

Translation

This word has been voted as one of the ten English words that are hardest to translate in June 2004 by Today Translations, a British translation company. [2] However, almost the exact word exists in at least some of the Romance languages (such as Portuguese - plenipotenciário; French - plénipotentiaire; Romanian - plenipotențiar; Spanish - plenipotenciario; Italian - plenipotenziario), with exactly the same meaning; the Albanian word i/e plotfuqishëm sounds similar, although it has native roots; other languages have their own equivalents; for instance, German - Bevollmächtigt(er) (adjective or noun), Dutch gevolmachtigd(e), Swedish fullmäktig, Norwegian fullmektig (all these Germanic cases are literal parallels); Serbian punomoćan (пуномоћан in Cyrillic); Russian полномочный (полный "full", мочь "to be in power, to be able"); Czech zplnomocněný (plno "full", moc "power"); Slovak splnomocnený (plno "full", moc "power"); Slovenian pooblaščeni (adjective) or pooblaščênec (noun); Polish pełnomocnik (pełno "of full", moc "power"); Bulgarian пълномощен (pǎlnomošten); Finnish täysivaltainen; Greek πληρεξούσιος plirexoúsios; Turkish tam yetkili; Tatar wäqälätle.

See also

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References

  1. "Dictionary.com - plenipotentiary". Dictionary.com.
  2. TodayTranslations.com Most Untranslatable Word.