The FDFA was created in 1848 and initially called the Federal Political Department. In 1961 the divisions for public development assistance and for relations with Europe were formed, and in 1979, the position of FDFA state secretary was created. The FDFA is a member of the Steering Committee of the GIP.
As of 1848, the Federal State was governed by the Federal Council, each of whose seven members headed one of the seven federal departments. The Federal Political Department (FPD) was tasked with Switzerland’s foreign policy, and at the time was headed by the Swiss president for a one-year term. With very limited means at its disposal, it boasted but a handful of officers in Bern and a meagre diplomatic and consular network abroad. (from https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/fdfa/fdfa/history-fdfa.html)
In Switzerland, diplomats are grouped in Bern and in Geneva. By tradition, the head of the diplomatic corps is the representative of the Holy See.
Almost 170 countries have accredited an ambassador to the Federal Council. Half of the representations are in Bern, while almost a quarter of them are in Geneva, as their heads are also heads of the permanent missions. These individuals thus enjoy double accreditation: to the Swiss Federal Council and the UN.
About a quarter of ambassadors accredited to Switzerland head a diplomatic mission located abroad. The 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations regulates the special status of diplomats. (from: https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/fdfa/fdfa/diplomacy.html)