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Geoff Berridge
Emeritus Professor of International Politics, University of Leicester

Professor G.R. Berridge is Emeritus Professor of International Politics at the University of Leicester, where he was the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Diplomacy. For many years, he was General Editor of the Macmillan series, Studies in Diplomacy, and Associate Editor (with responsibility for twentieth century diplomatists) of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He is the author of numerous books on diplomacy, including the best-selling textbook, Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, which has been translated into numerous languages, including Chinese. His most recent books include Embassies in Armed Conflict, the third edition (with L. Lloyd) of The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy, and A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era. Professor Berridge has been an external examiner at various British universities, including Birmingham, Durham, and London (School of Oriental and African Studies).

Related events

May 2013 online diplomacy courses

In May 2013 we introduce our new online course on Economic Diplomacy, developed by expert faculty members Ambassdor Kishan Rana, Professor G. R. Berridge, and Mr Bipul Chatterjee. Other exciting courses scheduled for ...

Related blogs

Digital (and) diplomacy: Pandemic videoconferencing levels off at low altitude

As everyone knows, videoconferencing took off and seemed to make a major advance into diplomacy following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Close personal encounters were inhibited by the fear of in...

Diplomats at US intelligence hub in UK lose immunities

Recent official revelations about the ‘special arrangements’ governing the diplomatic status of the US intelligence hub at the Croughton airbase in the English Midlands, which were provoked by the Sacoolas affa...

Hostile takeover: Foreign Office swallows Development ministry

First it was the Foreign Office (FO), then it evolved into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and today it becomes – as foreshadowed by Boris Johnson on 16 June – Britain’s ‘super-department for in...

Where have all the health attachés gone?

An influential article of 2014 noted that health attachés were appointed shortly after the Second World War and were thereafter assigned by \'a growing number of countries [...] to work in embassies in countries of ...

‘Soft power’ is nothing more than influence

The term soft power (and its siblings hard power and smart power), employed to embrace a particular category of resources of potential power, originated in the stable of Joseph S Nye, Jr, a Harvard University disti...

The hole in the fence

I am a keen gardener, and during the Covid-19 lockdown I had the great good fortune to be allowed by our neighbour, Janet, to take over the care of her very large, tree-lined, and blissfully quiet garden. The weathe...

Q. Which London embassy needs 13 cultural attachés?

Answer: The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. Why? The employment of the Saudi consulate-general and consul general’s residence in Istanbul in the horrifying murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in early October...

An honorary consul in the pandemic

On 2 July 2020 I received an e-mail from Razvan Constantinescu, the energetic Romanian honorary-consul general for the south-west of England based in Bristol and president of the Bristol Consular Corps. This told me ...

The Sacoolas affair: Diplomatic immunity or special immunity?

When the abuse of diplomatic immunity is alleged to have occurred, it usually refers to diplomatic officers taking advantage of their special status under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) t...

EU-UK videoconferencing. All for show?

The future relationship negotiations between Britain and the EU, which commenced on 3 March 2020, teach many lessons in the art of negotiation. Among these are the obvious value of certain kinds of deadline and the ...

Pandemic boost for video-conferencing?

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been announced that the second round of face-to-face talks on the UK’s new relationship with the EU, due to take place in London next week with the arrival of an EU deleg...

The Sacoolas affair. Diplomatic immunity or special immunity?

When the abuse of diplomatic immunity is alleged to have occurred it usually refers to diplomatic officers taking advantage of their special status under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) (VCDR)...

Foreign Office cleaners’ strike. Diplomacy begins at home

For those of us who study embassies, consulates and foreign ministries it is easy to forget that they could not work well, if at all, without ‘support staff’. Messengers and security staff have not gone unnotic...

If at first you don’t succeed …

lie, lie and lie again. This is the maxim that, as usual, guided Boris Johnson’s behaviour in the House of Commons last night. His aim was to get a deal with the EU (it isn’t), talks with Brussels were making pro...

The Khashoggi affair and consular law

Some points of law concerning this sickening and profoundly worrying case need clearing up. I am not a diplomatic lawyer and I have no knowledge of any relevant recent case law but I have had occasion in the past to b...

Geneva Prenegotiations on Syria: Will Washington diplomatically headless, let Russia take over

UN-led prenegotiations for a settlement of the Syrian civil war between the government of Bashar al-Assad in Damascus and the main coalition of opposition groups, the Riyadh-based ‘High Negotiations Committee (HNC)...

Political appointees: more trouble for Trump with the CIA?

While studying documents on the ‘treaty of friendship’ signed between the State Department and the CIA in 1977, which – by providing assurances that Agency operations would no longer cause nasty surprises to di...

Who would want to be a diplomat now?

‘Who would want to be a diplomat now? Civil servants are judged as though they are reality TV contestants, while reality TV stars have inherited the Earth.’ So writes one of the Guardian’s sharpest columnists,...

Related resources

Diplomatic Notebooks 1, 1958-1960: The view from Ankara

This volume consists mainly of notes taken by Kuneralp in his private meetings at the ministry with individual members of the Ankara diplomatic corps who called on him or whom – less frequently – he had summoned. ...

22 Aug, 2019

Diplomatic Security under a Comparative Lens – Or Not?

The book under review here, Diplomatic Security: A Comparative Analysis, edited by Eugenio Cusumano and Christopher Kinsey, contains the views of scholars from China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Ital...

09 Aug, 2019

Brian Barder’s Diplomatic Diary

The diary does not cover Barder’s early career, which started in the Colonial Office in 1957, but begins when he arrived in Moscow in February 1971. In that important embassy he was first secretary political, nu...

01 Aug, 2019

The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy

Indispensable for students of diplomacy and junior members of diplomatic services, this dictionary not only covers diplomacy\'s jargon but also includes entries on legal terms, political events, international organiza...

17 Aug, 2018

The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece – A Short Introduction

This book works to its own view by looking at the conditions that produced this diplomacy, the personnel it employed, forms it took, and – in a concluding essay – its fitness for its various purposes. In passing, ...

10 Aug, 2018

Room For Diplomacy: Britain’s Diplomatic Buildings Overseas 1800-2000

The structure of his work, which has 20 chapters, is a good blend of the thematic with the chronological: for example, ‘Chapter 4: Consulates 1850-1900’ and ‘Chapter 5: Legation Houses 1850-1900’; and, ‘Chap...

25 Aug, 2017

Room for Diplomacy: The history of Britain’s diplomatic buildings overseas, 1800-2000

He was the ministry’s regional architect in Hong Kong in the 1970s, moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when it secured control of its own buildings abroad (the ‘diplomatic estate’) in 1983, and was soo...

10 Aug, 2017

The Summer Capitals of Europe, 1814-1919

The Summer Capitals begins with over 100 pages devoted to a detailed description of the spa towns of Europe in the nineteenth century: where they were, what ‘cures’ and accompanying facilities they offered (inclu...

03 Aug, 2017

Curing the Sick Man: Sir Henry Bulwer and the Ottoman Empire, 1858-1865

Bulwer was the British ambassador at Constantinople who immediately followed at that post the most famous British diplomat of the period, Lord Stratford de Redcliffe (formerly Stratford Canning). Partly because Stratf...

19 Jul, 2017

The Embassy: A story of war and diplomacy

Its successful diplomacy was assisted by a popular yearning for peace, the absence of significant anti-Americanism in the country, the reputation of the United States for vigorous military intervention in support of i...

19 Aug, 2016

Diplomatic Interference and the Law

The author believes that international lawyers have hitherto been disposed to give too much weight to the rule of non-interference, which obviously favours receiving states, and either overlook or unduly minimise the ...

12 Aug, 2016

John le Carré: The Biography

In the event, this was the only disappointment of The Biography because it was the one subject on which le Carré – whose real name is David Cornwell – refused to speak to the author. (It looks as if we shall ha...

28 Aug, 2015

A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era: The Life and Writings of E. C. Grenville-Murray, Second Edition (Revised) 2015

His chief target was the use of patronage and favouritism in appointments to the diplomatic service but he also urged many other diplomatic reforms. His writing was powerful but his gift for satire was sometimes over-...

04 Aug, 2015

The Demilitarization of American Diplomacy: Two cheers for striped pants

Its contents list and other details, including numerous well-deserved plaudits, can be seen here. This book is an account of the marginalization of the State Department and the running down of its Foreign Service ...

22 Aug, 2014

Back Channel to Cuba: The hidden history of negotiations between Washington and Havana

In one way, it was cruel luck for the authors because this is what they had convincingly argued for, and – missing the denouement – their book ends on a note of disappointment with President Obama. But in another ...

04 Aug, 2014

Radio Free Europe: An insider’s view

In this book, Brown begins by describing how RFE was brought to its ‘lowest ebb’ by its inept handling of the Hungarian uprising and then recovered during the 1960s with the help of more measured, professional bro...

08 Jan, 2014

Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a political survivor

In the long chapters on his time at the Foreign Office in these memoirs he is very interesting on the genuine fear of nuclear war between India and Pakistan and the steps taken to avoid it, his keenness to negotiate w...

14 Sep, 2013

Diplomatenleben

This book contains 60 texts – mostly in German – written by career diplomats and journalists collected by the author while in the service of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs from 1980 to 2013. The f...

23 Aug, 2013

Transformational Diplomacy after the Cold War: Britain’s Know How Fund in Post-Communist Europe, 1989-2003

We are fortunate that this one has been released to the general public because it is based on official papers which would otherwise have remained classified for many years to come. For information on the contents of t...

30 Apr, 2013

British Diplomacy and the Descent into Chaos: The career of Jack Garnett, 1902-19

Garnett was inclined to be moody, headstrong, quickly bored, and indiscreet in gossiping about his chiefs and their wives. As a result, although able, adventurous, not shy of hard work, deeply patriotic and ambitious,...

03 Aug, 2012

21st Century Diplomacy: A practitioner’s guide

The structure works pretty well and it is, like all of Ambassador Rana’s writing, lively and wise. It is also full of interesting facts, for example that Latvia won a prize in 2003 for the best foreign ministry webs...

16 Jan, 2012

Diplomats at War: British and Commonwealth diplomacy in wartime

The first statement is unexceptionable but the second is presumably hyperbole because revolutions generally mark the fact that fundamental changes have occurred, and the corollary of this is that they are lasting – ...

26 Aug, 2011

Economic Diplomacy: India’s experience

It is no surprise to learn that the impetus to the development of India’s economic diplomacy was provided by the huge surge in the price of crude oil in 1973. Where they did not already exist, embassies were soon op...

18 Aug, 2011

The Practice of Diplomacy: Its evolution, theory and administration

The series of chapters on the ‘old diplomacy’ and how it came to terms with the twentieth century is a tour de force. I am bound to say, however, that I think it was a mistake to employ the concept of ‘total dip...

12 Aug, 2011

The Queen’s Ambassador to the Sultan: Memoirs of Sir Henry A. Layard’s Constantinople Embassy, 1877-1880

The editor has also added numerous sub-headings to aid the selective reader and provided a very sharp, warts-and-all introduction to the ambassador’s apologia for his embassy to Constantinople. An otherwise excellen...

10 Mar, 2010

The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell diaries

First among these is summitry. Here, what emerges in general is the risk of ‘getting hooked on the international stuff’ (p. 585) despite the exhaustion it generates, the danger of neglecting the domestic agenda to...

09 Jul, 2009

Twentieth-Century Diplomacy: A Case Study of British Practice, 1963-1976

What is so original about the book is that the author has asked himself: What are the major forms of diplomatic contact? And followed this with the question: How and to what effect were they each employed by one state...

19 Feb, 2009

Just a Diplomat

Zeki Kuneralp was twice Turkish Ambassador in London and, in between, secretary-general of the foreign ministry in Ankara. He finished his career, which was marked not only by great achievements but by great personal ...

17 Dec, 2008

Tilkidom and the Ottoman Empire: The Letters of Gerald Fitzmaurice to George Lloyd, 1906-15

I decided to bring out the letters separately for three reasons. First, I had found it necessary roughly to transcribe most of them for the purposes of writing the biography. Fitzmaurice often wrote in haste and seem...

08 Aug, 2008

Diplomacy with a Difference: The Commonwealth Office of High Commissioner, 1880-2006

As a result she has written the kind of book that used to appear before a swarm of failed mathematicians settled on British universities and spawned things like the risible ‘Research Assessment Exercise’, which ha...

08 Oct, 2007

Politics and Diplomacy in Early Modern Italy: The structure of diplomatic practice, 1450-1800

It is invidious to pick out particular chapters, so I should make clear that the two I mention below are simply those in which I happen to have a special interest at the moment. I found Andrea Zannini’s lucid and c...

26 Apr, 2007

The Year of Europe: America, Europe and the Energy Crisis, 1972-1974

Putting the documents on searchable CD-Roms is a new departure for the FCO Historians and I congratulate them on it. That they are searchable is an obvious advantage of great value but the new format also enables them...

11 Aug, 2006

Spies in Uniform: British Military and Naval Intelligence on the Eve of the First World War

Focusing on the work of British military and naval attachés in Berlin in the decade and a half before the First World War, Seligmann then fires at this target some hefty broadsides and scores some damaging hits. His ...

02 May, 2006

Essence of Diplomacy

Not surprisingly, therefore, the book is also described as a deliberate attempt to ‘build bridges’ between those who work in International Relations theory and those – like me – who focus just on diplomacy. It...

29 Nov, 2005

England and the Avignon Popes: The practice of diplomacy in late medieval Europe

The author concentrates on the period from 1342 until 1362, when the francophile popes Clement VI and Innocent VI sought to mediate a settlement to the renewed conflict (subsequently dubbed ‘the hundred years war’...

31 Oct, 2005

The History and Politics of UN Security Council Reform

It surveys the history of efforts to reform the Security Council (mainly its membership but procedure as well) from the very beginning of the Cold War right through until the year 2000. Thus it provides the essential ...

21 Oct, 2005

Lucky George: Memoirs of an Anti-Politician

The author is also engagingly frank about his early (and not so early) sexual adventures. Walden spent just over 20 years in the British Diplomatic Service (1962-83) before leaving to become an MP because he could not...

29 Sep, 2005

DC Confidential: The controversial memoirs of Britain’s ambassador to the U.S. at the time of 9/11 and the Iraq War

His memoirs have attracted attention in part because they reveal confidential information on very recent events and persons still in office and in part because they argue that British prime minister, Tony Blair – th...

12 Aug, 2005

Cyprus: the search for a solution

Hannay lays the main blame for the failure of the UN mediation up to May 2003 squarely at the door of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, but also emphasises the contribution of generic and ‘Cyprus-specific p...

05 Aug, 2005

Managing the Cold War: A view from the front line

For his career, see this obituary. Since, furthermore, he is right to say that this, together with the reunification of both Germany and Europe without major violence, ‘was arguably the most important, most welcom...

20 Jun, 2005

Under the Wire: How the telegraph changed diplomacy

I must admit that I found the plan of the book rather confusing, and there is a certain amount of repetition. Some long sections, for example on nineteenth century diplomatic life and work patterns in Chapter 5, also ...

11 Mar, 2005

Multilateral Conferences: Purposeful International Negotiation

As he says in the very first line: \'This book is an elementary introduction to how multilateral conferences work and what you, as a participant in such a conference, can do to produce the outcome that you want.\' It ...

12 Aug, 2004

Discourse on the Art of Negotiation

Nevertheless, they have taken up a brave challenge here because neither are historians of diplomacy. Gruzinska is a student of French language and literature, and Sirkis is an electrical engineer (emeritus), both at A...

06 Aug, 2004

The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution

For students of diplomacy this book is, of course, chiefly of interest for the light that it throws on diplomacy in a time of revolution. In this connection the chapters dealing with Jefferson\'s Paris mission are int...

10 Feb, 2004

Cursed is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982

This book is a detailed account of how – continuing heart problems notwithstanding and to his great delight – the Reagan administration brought him out of retirement to serve as a special envoy in the Middle East....

09 Aug, 2002

The New Diplomacy

The major weakness of the book is that it repeatedly confuses the diplomatic machine (though he occasionally uses this term) with the realist foreign policy tradition. This emerges most clearly in chapter 3 where he a...

02 Aug, 2002

Unvanquished: A U.S.-U.N. Saga

The US government had come to the conclusion that it did not want an independent spirit on the 38th Floor of the Secretariat and thought that \'BB-G\' would make a useful scapegoat for the failures of US policy in the...

09 May, 2002

Chinese Ambassadors: The rise of diplomatic professionalism since 1945

Xiaohong\'s method is to present the biographies of a small number of ambassadors she takes to be representative of the four generations of Chinese ambassadors between 1949 and 1994 that she identifies. In between the...

01 Feb, 2002

The system of privileges and immunities applicable to the international organisations in Switzerland and to the permanent foreign delegations in Geneva

It achieves this aim very comfortably, notably by spelling out with great clarity the different privileges available to different categories of staff, and should be carried in the hand-luggage of every diplomat newly ...

11 Jan, 2002

Keeping the Peace in the Cyprus Crisis of 1963-64

He has scoured the archives not only of Britain, the United Nations, and the United States (the latter dragged into the crisis by the serious implications for NATO of any outbreak of fighting between Athens and Ankara...

16 Aug, 2001

The Diplomacies of New Small States: The case of Slovenia with some comparison(s) from the Baltics

Unfortunately, I cannot be enthusiastic about his book, which is concerned chiefly with practical guidance for ‘new small states’ on setting up ‘diplomatic organisations’, i.e. MFAs and diplomatic and consular...

09 Aug, 2001

Leadership Selection in the Major Multilaterals

Despite the title, this book is actually concentrated almost exclusively on the problems of leadership selection in the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO, that is, the major economic multilaterals. Nevertheless, Kahler...

02 Aug, 2001

Frontline Diplomacy: The U.S. Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection on CD-ROM

The CD-ROM under review here is the fruit of this project. It contains the transcripts of 893 interviews in one single, master database. (Of these, 28 are with women ambassadors and ‘conducted from a sociological pe...

09 Aug, 2000

A Diplomat in Siam (introduced and edited by Nigel Brailey)

The purpose of the trip, from which he returned with a serious case of malaria, was to investigate the delays in the Chiangmai \'native\' court\'s determination of disputes involving British subjects engaged in the te...

04 Aug, 2000

A Selection of New diplomatic memoirs

Harry Brind, Lying Abroad: Diplomatic Memoirs (London/New York: 1999) pp. xi + 260. [ buy this book ]   Richard Faber, A Chain of Cities: Diplomacy at the End of Empire (London/ New York: 2000) pp. vii + 224. ...

04 Aug, 2000

Inside Diplomacy

Kishan Rana served without interruption in the Indian Foreign Service from 1960 until he retired in 1995 after three years as Ambassador in Germany. He specialized in economic diplomacy and – early on – in Chinese...

10 Jul, 2000

Making Foreign Policy: A Certain Idea of Britain

According to Sir John, both foreign and domestic policy-making now suffer from unprecedented time pressures. This is because higher priority is now attached to the second order activities of management and policy pres...

15 Mar, 2000

The History of Diplomatic Immunity

It begins in ancient times (though having less on the second millenium BC than Professor Raymond Cohen would no doubt like) and comes right up to the present. Though inevitably it is chiefly a work of synthesis, the a...

11 Dec, 1999

The International Law Commission 1949-1998. Vol. One: The Treaties, Part I

In each chapter Sir Arthur Watts provides a useful introduction, summary ILC history of the topic, selected bibliography, ILC final draft articles and commentary, and then the full text of the convention as signed at ...

19 Aug, 1999

Yes, (Saudi) Minister! A Life in Administration

I particularly enjoyed the hilarious account of his doctoral studies in the 1960s under John Burton at UCL and his impromptu viva with Burton and Vatikiotis. With narrow-eyed apparatchiki of the \'quality\' industry n...

06 Aug, 1999

Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a Complex World

According to the editors of this book, ‘multiparty mediation’ refers to ‘attempts by many third parties to assist peace negotiations in any given conflict’. Though not a new phenomenon, this certainly has been...

05 Aug, 1999

Born a Foreigner: A Memoir of the American Presence in Asia

He served in Indonesia and Malaysia, and in Vietnam (where he was chief of pacification efforts in I Corps) during the critical years 1967 to 1969. Thereafter he was ambassador to Singapore from 1969 to 1972 (where he...

04 Aug, 1999

Decision-Making in the UN Security Council: The case of Haiti, 1990-1997

David Malone is a former Canadian diplomat. During the first five years of the period on which his book focuses he represented Canada at the UN in New York, first on ECOSOC and then as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent ...

14 Aug, 1998

Funeral summits

...

09 Aug, 1996

Journeying Far and Wide: A Political and Diplomatic Memoir

Students of diplomacy will also find it of interest, and for us chapters 6-9 are probably the most important. From 1961 until 1963 Kaiser was US ambassador to Senegal and Mauritania (chapter 6), and from 1964 until 19...

07 Aug, 1993

Consular Law and Practice, 2nd edn

The book begins with short chapters on the historical evolution of consular practice, definitions, and classification. This is followed by three chapters on consular relations in general, fourteen chapters on differen...

09 Aug, 1991

Return to the UN: United Nations diplomacy in regional conflicts

‘The book is well written and closely argued. Although it may be unduly optimistic about the UN’s future prospects, it deserves a wide readership among students of international cooperation’, Ken Cosgrove, Int...

29 Nov, 1990

South Africa

...

04 Aug, 1989

The Politics of the South Africa Run: European Shipping and Pretoria

Thus flattered beyond my feeble powers of resistance, I sent him one of my two remaining copies and promised to explore the possibility of a re-print. OUP, however, did not think this ‘viable’ – despite the abu...

24 Sep, 1987

Diplomacy at the UN

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03 Sep, 1985