When your Empire decides to establish permanent missions in known City-States, the effect is visible. A quiet, permanent diplomatic presence can work wonders in a city, and immediately City-State governments improve their relationship with your Empire, regardless of circumstances.
- Resting point for Influence with all City-States is increased by 20.
This is an incredibly powerful Policy! Immediately after adopting it you will see relationship statuses gradually moving up the scale until they reach +20 (if they aren't already greater, of course). For all practical effects, you have just gained 20 free Influence points with all city-states (not just the ones you've already met)! This means that, from now on, you'll only need to gain 10 Influence with any City-State to achieve Friendship status, and this can be done, for example, by gifting 2-3 units, or making a single donation of 250 Gold.
Note that the Influence gain is not immediate; that is, you won't see the cursors jumping 20 spaces on the next turn. What happens is simply that the Neutrality point moves 20 points up the scale, and the natural Influence fluctuation will need to do its work before you see the full 20 points of Influence boost. Any negative actions you take now will also bring down the Influence, but again - you will be losing it from a starting point of +20, which is much different than a starting point of 0!
In short, you should adopt this Policy as early as possible, unless you're seeking more immediate benefits and you have enough Gold for Gifts, in which case you should go with the other level 1 Policy in the tree, Philanthropy.
As relations between nations became more formal, consulates were established to assist and protect the interests of a country's citizens in the territory of another country, and to promote trade and friendship between the two countries. Whereas an ambassador is the singular personal representative from one ruler to another, there can be several consuls in a country, usually one in each major city.
The concept of providing service to a nation's citizens while abroad arose out of the ancient Greek practice of wealthy merchants acting as a "proxenos" in other Hellenic city-states to aid fellow merchants. Although the role of the consulate expanded in the late 1800s to include cultural and educational exchanges, its role as a nation's representation on the local level in a distant land remains unchanged.