Switzerland has a long tradition of neutrality originally dating back to 1815. Its status as a neutral state has permitted Switzerland to offer its good services to enable negotiations between conflicting powers and in challenging situations between opposing sides such as the Suez Crisis (1956) or, as pertains to America, the Cuban Missiles Crisis (1962). In addition, Switzerland has acted as a protecting power since the 19th century when it looked after the interests of the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Grand Duchy of Baden in France during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-71. It also carried out protecting power mandates during the First World War. During the Second World War Switzerland became a protecting power par excellence on account of its neutrality, representing the interests of 35 states – including major warring powers – with more than 200 individual mandates.
Today, there are six remaining mandates. Switzerland has been representing American interests in Iran since 1980. Its Foreign Interests Section in Tehran handles most United States consular affairs in Iran including passport applications, changes in civil status or consular protection for US citizens.
Switzerland’s services as a US protecting power have been appreciated by numerous American administrations. Both President Trump, on the occasion of Swiss President Ueli Maurer’s recent visit at the White House, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, when receiving Switzerland’s foreign minister Ignazio Cassis in Washington in February and visiting him in Switzerland in early June, expressed their gratefulness for Switzerland’s endeavors in the fulfillment of this mandate. Pompeo stated «Switzerland has done a remarkable work that we (America) are very appreciative of in being our protecting power there in Iran.”
In April 2019, Mr. Cassis and the US ambassador to Switzerland, Edward McMullen, signed an arrangement providing for a Swiss protecting power mandate for the United States in Venezuela. This protecting power mandate, however, still has to be approved by the Venezuelan government in order to be implemented.
The American-German Business Club Frankfurt are excited to welcome Mr. Urs Hammer, Consul General of Switzerland in Frankfurt, for a luncheon on June 26th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Frankfurt. Mr. Hammer will speak about the evolution of Switzerland’s mandates as protecting power and the implications this role involves.
Mr. Hammer was born in 1960 in Chur in the canton of Graubünden. He joined the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in 1992 and has had various postings in Bern, Paris, Geneva, Rome and Brussels. From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Hammer worked as deputy head of mission in Berlin. From 2012-2017, he acted as Switzerland’s Ambassador in Luxembourg.
60329 Frankfurt am Main
Event date & start/finish time: 26 June 2019, 12:00 -14:00