Attaché is a French term in diplomacy referring to a person who is assigned ('attached') to the diplomatic or administrative staff of a higher placed person or another service or agency. Depending on custom, 'attaché' may be modified to correspond to the gender (i.e., 'attachée').

The term normally denotes an official, under the authority of an Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 or other head of a diplomatic mission
Diplomatic mission
A diplomatic mission is a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organisation present in another state to represent the sending state/organisation in the receiving state...

, who serves either as a diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

 or as a member of the support staff. He monitors various issues related to areas of intervention. To this end, he undertakes the planning for decisions which will be taken and makes all necessary arrangements, manages the agenda, conducts research for the study of particular matters, and acts as representative when necessary.

Sometimes an attaché has special responsibilities or expertise, often specified by that field. Examples include a cultural attaché
Cultural attaché
A cultural attaché is a diplomat with special responsibility for promoting the culture of his or her homeland. The position has been used as an official cover for intelligence agents. Historically, the post has often been filled by writers and artists, giving them a steady income, allowing them to...

, labor attaché, legal attaché, military/defense attaché
Military attaché
A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission . This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy...

 (or more specifically, naval attaché, air attaché
Air attaché
An air attaché is an Air Force officer who is part of a diplomatic mission; this post is normally filled by a high-ranking officer.An air attaché typically represents the chief of his home air force in the foreign country where he serves. The day-to-day responsibilities include maintaining contacts...

), press attaché
Press agent
A press agent, or flack, is a professional publicist who acts on behalf of his or her client on all matters involving public relations. Press agents are typically employed by public personalities and organizations such as performers and businesses...

, agricultural attaché
Agricultural attaché
An agricultural attaché is a diplomat who collects, analyzes, and acts on information on agriculture, agribusiness, food, and other related spheres in a foreign country or countries. Agricultural attachés may be directly employed by the sending country's agriculture ministry, or they may be...

, commercial attaché, and science attaché
Science attaché
A science attaché is a member of a diplomatic mission, usually an embassy...


A related use for the term is in the phrase attaché case, similar to a briefcase
A briefcase is a narrow box-shaped bag or case used mainly for carrying papers and other documents and equipped with a handle. Lawyers commonly use briefcases to carry briefs to present to a court, hence the name...


Military attaché

Typically, a military attaché serves on the diplomatic staff of an embassy or consulate while retaining a military commission.

Holy See

The title is also used in reference to diplomacy and in the hierarchical administration of the Catholic Church, specifically in the Roman Curia
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

, in cases where a priest, usually in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See or else released for service to the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, serves in a nunciature in a given country or to an international
----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

 or intergovernmental organization. Especially in the latter cases, the official often provides a particular expertise in the service of the Church, thus, legal or otherwise.


In the ministries of the Belgian federal state the term is used, since 2005 replacing the term adjunct-adviseur (in Dutch) or conseiller-adjoint (in French), normally used for college graduates, one rank under the head of a competence section.


- In Colombia attachés are increasingly being appointed at younger ages. This is part of the policy of political liberalization enacted by President Álvaro Uribe
Álvaro Uribe
Alvaro Uribe Vélez was the 58th President of Colombia, from 2002 to 2010. In August 2010 he was appointed Vice-chairman of the UN panel investigating the Gaza flotilla raid....

. The attachés are generally appointed from the great families of Colombian history, most recently the House of Restrepo gaining increasing prominence. This policy has been described by USA Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 Hillary Clinton as "bringing fresh ideas into the diplomatic community, by giving a voice to our young and building the great leaders of our future".

See also

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