|This article is about an older version of DF.|
Diplomats are emissaries from different civilizations that visit your fortress. They typically arrive shortly before or after the caravan would normally show up.
Human diplomats come when your fortress becomes important enough to rate a baron or better noble. This individual will only speak to your baron (or better), and generally says something inane such as "It's such a pleasant place you've carved out for yourselves." As the noble the diplomat wants to speak with never does anything anyway, you need do nothing to ensure the meeting occurs. If you're in a state of war with the human civilization, the diplomat may come proposing a peace treaty.
The Elves will eventually send a diplomat who meets with your head noble (such as the Duke) to talk about the "tree situation" at your fort. The Elven diplomat's first arrival will accompany the Elven caravan (subsequent diplomats will arrive separately with their own announcement) and will consist either of a stern warning (if you have cut down any trees) or a congratulation for not disrespecting the forest. Subsequent visits will be announced as usual and he will demand that you limit the number of trees you cut down before the elves return the next year. This count will be visible in your ivilization list (view the Elven civilization and press several times) and will decrement for each "Fell Tree" job your wood cutters complete, including tower-caps. If you stay within the quota, diplomatic bonds with the Elves will be strengthened, while violating the quota can strain relations and potentially lead to war.
The actual size of the quota is based on your own noble's level of influence (which is determined by office quality, happiness, and rank), so you can maximize your logging allowance by keeping your top-ranking noble happy - should your top-ranking (based on eligibility) noble be dead, then diplomats will instead meet with your Governor (even if another lower-ranking noble is available), resulting in a significant penalty to your level of influence (office quality bonus is quartered, and happiness and rank bonuses are halved) and a subsequent reduction of your logging quota.