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Note verbale

Topics Covered:

  1. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.


Note verbale


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Various means of diplomatic communication and their significance.


Why in News? India has raised with Pakistan the alleged abduction of two minor Hindu girls in that country and their alleged conversion to Islam. The government raised the matter through a note verbale sent to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.


What is it?

A note verbale is a diplomatic communication from one government to another, delivered through each other’s diplomatic representatives. Like many other diplomatic terms, note verbale is French, and literally means a verbal note, because it was meant to be delivered orally to the recipient. In modern times, it is a written note.

Notes verbale are the commonest method of formal diplomatic communication. They are used to convey information or requests of all kinds.


Features of Note Verbale:

  1. A note verbale is written on the sending entity’s letterhead, and stamped with that entity’s seal, but not signed.
  2. It is written in the third person.


Other formal types of diplomatic communication:

  1. A demarche is a more formal type of communication of one government’s official position, views, or wishes on a given subject to an appropriate official in another government. Demarches generally seek to persuade, inform, or gather information from a foreign government. Governments may also use a demarche to protest or object to actions by a foreign government.
  2. A demi official (DO) is a first person communication that begins with a “Dear…” and is signed by the writer, usually a high representative of the sending entity. DOs are used only when the addressee and the representative know each other extremely well and occupy high office.


less formal kinds of communication between governments:

Non-papers and aide-memoires, which are summaries of discussions between two countries.

  • A non-paper is written on a blank sheet of paper with no signatures and is addressed to no one, giving those party to the discussions deniability; an aide-memoire has to have an addressee, and indicates the sender’s identity, usually with an initial.


Sources: ie.