Ways of passing information between the State Department and overseas Ambassadors or officials dealing with foreign intelligence

Based on security reasons, usually how do US Ambassadors overseas communicate with and pass on information to the State Department?
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Historically, it was done via a “diplomatic pouch” and that is probably still used. Documents were placed in a pouch, and nations mutually agreed that this pouch was inviolable.

In modern times, the obvious thing to do is communicate via highly secure end-to-end encryption technology.

Thank you so much for your instant reply.
Does the pouch mean some kind of “envelope” delivered by air?
And the encryption technology means something like Morse codes?
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There’s nothing at all encrypt about Morse code. I was referring to modern electronic encryption and security technology, with intensively long unbreakable encryption keys, and such. I don’t know any details, but I am sure that they have much more elaborate and secure technologies than are commonly available to us generic Internet users.

That is on top of everything they might do to keep their communications secure against eavesdropping in the first place.

Diplomatic pouches go back to antiquity, I believe. Yes, it was a physical pouch of some sort that you could put documents in. It would be shipped by boat across the oceans (before airplanes) and perhaps carried by courier on horseback.

Wikipedia has a brief page about diplomatic pouches.

Given that they were supposed to be inviolate, they were also used sometimes for smuggling. The Wiki page mentions that Winston Churchill allegedly obtained Cuban cigars this way.

“Morse code”? Seriously? Please google the word “encryption “.

They might well have used Morse code back in the day when that was the cutting edge in remote communication technology – but of course, that in itself wasn’t secure at all. They would certainly have elaborate code books or other encryption techniques (that we would today call “primitive”) on top of their Morse code messages.

I would imagine most diplomatic offices use one-time pads for their encrypted communications.

Forgive my ignorance…
Now i know the difference between the two.
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Thank you.

Was this necessary? The purpose of this board is for people to ask questions and learn new things.

Thank you all.

And there were coded messages sent over telegraph to embassy’s before WW1. The Zimmerman telegram comes to mind.

Which, IIRC, was routed through Britain who solemnly swore not to interpret the code, which of course they promptly did and alerted the US. So decidedly not a secure method of communication.

With the exception of the diplomatic pouch, there’s really no way to keep messages from being intercepted; you just need to make sure they can’t be understood by anybody but the intended recipient. Diplomats and agents have been doing this for centuries with varying degrees of success.

I would think that in 1917 diplomatic relations between Britain and Germany were null and void due to the ongoing war, so no need for Britain to maintain diplomatic niceties.

Yes, I understand the purpose of the board. Thank you.

Mod note: Don’t be a jerk. No warning. As one poster said, the purpose of the board is to fight ignorance, not ridicule it.

Thank you.

You may be right, but short of a one-time pad (which has the problem of delivery) I am not sure there is anything that can beat RSA encryption. They tried to stop its export, but it was fully described in one paragraph in Scientific American a few decades ago and anyone who understands Fermat’s little theorem will understand it immediately.

It’s widely thought that the Libyan government, in 1984, used a diplomatic pouch to sneak out of the UK a pair of submachine guns used to kill a London police officer: Murder of Yvonne Fletcher - Wikipedia