Yellow banner with pen and letters

author: Aldo Matteucci

A practitioner’s view

2001

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): With examples from a detailed case study of the historical New Zealand Treaty of Waitangi, Aldo Matteucci shows us that the diplomat's job is to decode language. Matteucci writes that all language comes with "hidden baggage": hidden meanings and intentions, historical and political context, legal precedents, etc. In order to find these hidden meanings the diplomat needs a broad understanding of the context of a situation.

Powers speak to one another through the language of diplomacy. Diplomatic language should thus lead to better understanding between them.

Language yields an incomplete sense of the speaker’s meaning as well as of his intent. It is thus legitimate for a diplomat to seek ways to decode the partner’s conscious and subconscious meanings and intentions, or unmask his attempts at deceit – the latter being partly the purview of intelligence gathering. Language also comes with hidden baggage, baggage of many shapes and forms: historical and political context, legal precedent, whatever, that shape the words’ content. Understanding the words’ context is thus a second task of a diplomat.

A sedulous diplomat might achieve understanding of both worlds, if he has enough resources and time. This hardly ever being the case, he must somehow allocate his scarce resources in a sensible manner. The diplomat must decide which analytical tools yield the highest information return to his resource investment. He acts then as an economist, and I, as an economist, can thus stake a claim to being a diplomat who has something to say at this conference – a typical economist’s non sequitur.

Actually, my claim to speak rests on twenty odd years of experience in economic negotiations. The word “experience” is underlined. I was once addicted to all-encompassing and axiomatic theories and constructs – I have since reformed and reconstructed myself as an iconoclast. Such freedom feels wonderful – and rewarding. Let’s thus share this sense of freedom – in a conversation. The British historian Theodore Zeldin defines conversation “as one in which one starts with a willingness to emerge a slightly different person. It is always an experiment, whose results are never guaranteed. It involves risk. It’s an adventure in which we agree to cook the world together and make it taste less bitter.” 1 Should I manage to make you emerge a few minutes from now a slightly different person, with a different insight, I’ll claim success.

But let’s revert to the issues at hand. I’ll give away my point of view at the outset. Strategy comes before tactics, context before text. Agreement on what we want to achieve precedes formulation of the negotiated compromise. Thus understanding the broader – i.e. the historical and factual, or political – context should precede the search for specific words’ hidden meaning. For all our fascination for the subtlety and suppleness of words, words are but very flexible tools. And while tools cannot be dissociated from ends, tools should never usurp the end’s place: if you grasp the substance, the words will follow.

*

Having moved recently to the southern hemisphere, I have been exposed to the ongoing discussion on the relationship between the Maori population in New Zealand and the state. At the core of this discussion is the meaning of the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed on 6th February 1840 by William Hobson, representing the British Crown, and over 500 Maori chiefs.

I am certainly not an expert in this treaty. The experience with it is sufficiently rich, however, that even I, a simple amateur in this area, may end up providing you with useful reflections on it, thus allowing you to draw your own conclusions.

Let me begin by quoting the operative parts of the agreement:

Article the First: The Chiefs of the Confederation of the United Tribes of New Zealand, and the separate and independent Chiefs who have not become members of the Confederation, cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England, absolutely, and without reservation, all the rights and powers of sovereignty which the said Confederation or individual Chiefs respectively exercise or possess, or may be supposed to exercise or to possess, over their respective territories as the sole Sovereigns thereof.

Article the Second: Her Majesty the Queen of England confirms and guarantees to the Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand, and to the respective families and individuals thereof, the full, exclusive, and undisturbed possession of their lands and estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess, so long as it is their wish and desire to retain the same in their possession; but the Chiefs of the United Tribes and the individual Chiefs yield to Her Majesty the exclusive right of pre-emption over such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate, at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective proprietors and persons appointed by Her Majesty to treat with them in that behalf.

Article the Third: In consideration thereof, Her Majesty the Queen of England extends to the Natives of New Zealand Her royal protection, and imparts to them all the rights and privileges of British subjects.

The chiefs and the British Resident signed this treaty in the two languages, English and Maori.

In its brevity, the Waitangi Treaty is a beauty, for it highlights the many pitfalls of diplomacy and its context, as set out in language. As I said before, all language comes with hidden baggage. Let’s now look at this text and identify together some of the more lumbering and bulky pieces we have to watch for.

HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA

The first element of the “baggage” is undoubtedly the relative power of those who were about to sign the treaty. Every treaty reflects the relative power of the parties. The queen of an empire spanning the world on the one side, the Maori chiefs on the other – we can readily predict the outcome.

Were the Maori aware of Britain’s might? The Maori were certainly aware of the military power of the West, having a vivid if horrified memory of a French naval bombardment and subsequent slaughter 50 years before in retaliation for the killing of Marion du Fresne. Since then, Maori chiefs had visited King George IV in London and Maori sailors had travelled extensively in the Pacific. They thus knew the relative strength of the various naval fleets in the Pacific. They feared the French and sought the protection of the British, who had brought them weapons, luxuries like blankets and tobacco, and education.

Great Britain certainly was the more powerful partner. He who has power has the options, and where there are options there is room for dissent. Was there a British unity of purpose to wield the fullness of its military power in New Zealand? In fact, Whitehall was of two minds about what to do. In 1833 Great Britain had abolished slavery throughout its possessions, and the humanitarian movement held sway in Whitehall. On the other side, so much already British labour and capital had been invested in fisheries in New Zealand that British intervention was called for to exclude other powers. Additionally, the treaty was intended to protect settlers and speculators from the forays of the Maori, while restraining pakeha aggression against Maori land and people.

The introduction to the written instructions to Hobson amounted to an apology for British intervention. Maori independence was recognised, even a sovereignty of sorts, but it was also negated; British colonisation and investment was allowed for, yet its inevitability was regretted. It attempted to show that justice was being done to the Maori people even while admitting that the intervention was nevertheless unjust.2 To conclude, yes, Britain wielded power, but reluctantly and, had it been challenged, it might have altered its attitude.

Of these internal British conflicts the Maori were ignorant and, had they known about it, they would have been unable to profit from it. They lacked an indigenous political foundation. The county was too large, clan settlement too scattered and tribal divisions still too strong. At most, a territorial concept called Nui Tireni had emerged by then, so too had a sense of “Maoriness”.

What practical lessons can we draw for the diplomat? Between the extremes of thinking that a treaty can overcome the imbalance in power, and that of assuming that a treaty enshrines the imbalance, giving the stronger the right to dictate the terms as well as to enforce them, there is a world of possibilities for a skilful diplomat.

The greater the imbalance, the more the “weaker” side needs to know its counterpart’s aims and attitudes, internal difficulties, and objective strengths. I’ve seen far too many negotiations fail because the diplomats knew their own positions too well, and never reconnoitred the counterpart’s positions and arguments. They were literally entrenched behind their own briefs. My advice thus would be: know the other! Many negotiating disappointments I put down to a failure to understand the broader and specific context from which the opponent starts.

The “stronger” side, on the other hand, has a tendency to make a negotiation easy for itself by resorting to the use of power. President Clinton informed the UN in 1993 that the US would act “multilaterally when possible, but unilaterally when necessary”.3 This in my view is a prescription for blindness4 of the situation and of the counterpart’s possibilities to influence the negotiations and a surprising statement from the president of a country that had sensed the limits of power in the marshes of Vietnam.

And finally, let me point out that there are different kinds of power. There is the power to conquer and achieve. The Romans, and the British had it, the US wields it today, albeit reluctantly – or so it says. Then there is the power to obstruct or to deny, and circumstances can give this power to any group or country. Power to conquer usually bests power to obstruct, but not always. The Greeks resorted to it at the Thermopiles. Switzerland had the power to deny transit through the Alps, once it was proven feasible. The country was born from this power. When the Swiss tried to parlay this power into achieving dominance in Europe, they failed before the French guns at Marignano. And finally, remember Vietnam?

Diplomats, forever looking for the felicitous expression, describe this state of affairs as être demandeur – a term which is imperfectly rendered in English as being “the seeker” or “the buyer”. There can be a tension between the overall power balance and the specifics of a situation, and a good diplomat will always seek to use this tension to his country’s advantage. The fact that Britain sought Maori assent to colonisation – contrary to Australia, where it maintained the fiction that the country was empty – is in part the reflection of this tension.

THE CONFEDERATION OF THE UNITED CHIEFS OF NEW ZEALAND

In 1835 the British Resident had persuaded the Maori chiefs to sign a Declaration of Independence, creating the Independent State of the United Tribes of New Zealand. I take this declaration as a symbol for the over 65 years of contact between the West and the Maori.

James Cook, following up on Tasman’s discovery in 1642, had arrived in New Zealand in 1769 and returned two more times. The Maori dealt with intrusion lethally at first. They soon learned to fear the overwhelming western firepower. Each side modified its behaviour to get what it wanted. Westerners needed food and water, and wood to refit the whaling and sealing fleets. The Maori were attracted to iron tools, potatoes and other food crops to increase food security, weapons, tobacco, and education. They sensed that the West had upset the balance of power among the islanders and sought to take advantage of it. The period before 1840 was a period of extensive internecine warfare as the different clans vied for predominance, exploiting pakeha presence. The West also brought disease, however, and unruly characters whom the Maori could not control.

Reluctant to assume colonial responsibility, Britain at first tried to establish a confederation of Maori chiefs on the way to a protectorate. The Declaration of 1835 calls upon George IV “to be the parent of the infant state…its protector from all attempts upon its independence.” This declaration was acknowledged from London, and the Maori thought that it set the basis for a stable relationship with Great Britain. It formed the legal basis on which ships built in New Zealand could fly the Confederation flag, avoid seizure and enter the Australian harbours duty free.

By 1840 the British government came under pressure from potential settlers to New Zealand to scuttle the concept of indirect rule and to make the country a colony. In order to win the Maori chiefs’ agreement to the treaty, the confederation was upheld at the same time as it was emptied of its significance. This is but the first of a series of deceptions, which were carried out at the chiefs’ expense.

If I mention the antecedents of the treaty here it is because too often history is forgotten, particularly by the stronger side, or misused as spin. A Canadian philosopher or gadfly argues, “history is a seamless web linking past, present and future. Contemporary Western society attempts to limit history to the past, as if it were the refuse of civilisation.”5

History is complexity, different strands of thought and passions. We feel uncomfortable with this messy, even amorphous mass. We long for the simple and grand design, or the simplistic explanation, which of course true history never provides. We feel then that we are prisoners of history – the ancient sources of our current behaviour – and we fail to see the richness that a historical approach can provide for shaping our future. There are a thousand ways to make things better, while only one to make things right. If this road is closed, why not go for second best?

History is not just a source of understanding of why we are what we are today, and where we are or can be heading. By artificially limiting the available choices a theoretical approach impoverishes the diplomatic and negotiatory discourse. And this is the most elementary error a diplomat can make. If history constrains certain options, it also opens up a myriad of subtle possibilities. Had Britain built on the history of its relationship with the Maori, the evolution of the partnership between the two groups would have been fairer.

POWERS OF SOVEREIGNTY

Power imposes the negotiatory process, and often its result. This is a well-known fact. Fascinated as we are by the interplay and complexity of power relations we tend to forget or at least fade out another effect. Power imposes the very choice of the language which is used in a diplomatic negotiation and in an agreement. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century French was the language of diplomacy. It was also the period of French ascendancy.

The choice of the language implies both the meaning of the words used – their conceptual baggage – and, as in the current case, the choice of the treaty language, which was English, translated by British people into Maori without independent verification by the latter.

Sovereignty – the willingness and readiness to exercise absolute control over a bounded territory – is a Western category. It reflects our cartographic and dichotomous way of thinking.6 Among the Maori sovereignty was the result of mana – power based on hereditary rank and personal achievement.7 Manas could coexist and overlap, as they did in the medieval times in Europe. The Maori, by the way, were not alone in finding such Western categories strange: in the desert world of the Arabs or Mongolia, a frontier has little meaning.

The word kawanatanga translates sovereignty into Maori. The missionaries had used it first to define the functions of Pontius Pilate, and meant governorship and rather administrative authority. Rangatiratanga, a term used by the same missionaries to express God’s Kingdom in the translation of the Lord’s Prayer, described over lordship. This latter term was belatedly smuggled into the new official translation of the treaty established in 1865. The second article of the Waitangi Treaty guarantees this power to the Maori signatories, not the crown. As a consequence, the Maori might well have assumed that their sovereign rights were actually being confirmed in turn for a limited concession of administrative power.

The very first article of the treaty thus contains a conceptual construct foreign to the Maori. In the eyes of the British it was loaded with the baggage of the then emerging international law. We encounter here possibly one of the most intractable problems of language in diplomacy. We have hardly any word left, which has not been used in a previous diplomatic context and is thus free of hidden reference to preceding negotiatory contexts or treaties.

When I participated in negotiations on free trade agreements one had to steer a narrow course between using “WTO language” and “EU treaty language” in describing certain rights and obligations linked to a term like “measure with equivalent effect”. The treaties from which the term is taken differ in their scope and finality, and must be interpreted in different ways. This reflects itself in the jurisprudence, which differs. In addition, the Vienna Convention on Treaties sets some general parameters for interpretation. No wonder we take international lawyers to the negotiations.

Next to the historical context then, we also need to consider the legal context of the language to be used. This problem is becoming more and more complex, and ironically, is being compounded by information technology. Our enhanced capacity to retrieve precedents quickly from databases by the use of search engines and the feasibility to establish hypertext links to these precedents pushes us to the very limits of our capacity to act while remaining coherent. And this applies both to the negotiation and to the interpretation of the treaty, given our novel capacity to record in every detail every aspect of the negotiatory process and to retrieve it at will when interpreting the text.

Business, forever practical, has found a way out of this quandary: the increasing use of arbitration in settling legal disputes over contracts. This tool provides for quick and ready ad hoc justice, justice with little or no precedent or legal consequences. It is anecdotal law if you wish – and do I see wry smiles among you remembering the passion of Chinese scholars for collecting anecdotes rather than constructing theories?

In fact, even the refutation of an argument on the grounds of contradiction is a mental construct, arising out of the Platonic view that reality can be whittled down to an essential and permanent core, safely discarding superstructures. Who knows, maybe Walt Whitman was right after all, when he proclaimed, in the Song of Myself:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes).

In a less frivolous tone, I would like to submit that Isaiah Berlin’s insight applies here. It is the idea that the ultimate human values are objective but irreducibly diverse, that they are conflicting and often uncombinable, and that when they come into conflict with one another they are often incommensurable, that is they are not comparable by any rational measure. Its implication for political philosophy is that the idea of a perfect society in which all genuine ideals and goods are achieved is not merely utopian, it is incoherent. Political life, like moral life, abounds in choices between rival goods and evils, where reason leaves us in the lurch and whatever is done involves loss and sometimes tragedy.8

RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF BRITISH SUBJECTS

The trade-off the British offered the Maori for giving up independence was to partake of the rights and privileges of being British subjects. Here we have another concept with baggage. The baggage here is that of common law. By becoming British subjects the Maori had accepted Britain’s common law. The states wishing to adhere to the EU know how heavy this baggage is. They have to scrutinise the acquis communautaire, a process that lasts months and years, and prove to the EU Commission’s satisfaction that their legislation is compatible with EU law. The first translation of the laws of England into Maori was carried out in 1865.

Was this a prevarication of the Maori? Of course it was. Not so much that they were not told what their obligations were, as many as they were. But that they were not clearly told what their rights were – and they were very significant.

In particular, it has been held that the acceptance of British sovereignty and common law extinguished prior rights. In Britain, however, common law emerged as a means to preserve prior rights – rights dating back to times immemorial – even when they contradicted general principles. Thus, by becoming subject to common law, the Maori should have achieved an additional degree of protection for their existing rights.

I am not going to venture into this politically highly charged field. The Treaty of Waitangi, however, as imperfect a document and as a process it was, is now the basis for a belated review of what the rights of the Maori are. The Tribunal of Waitangi has been established and has restored, among other things, extensive fishing rights on the South Island to the Maori.

*

The organiser of this conference expounded to me recently a difficulty his students encounter – in a world of hypertext links – namely to know when a paper is complete. For one can always add another link or another argument. My first reaction was a shrug. An analysis is never more than work in progress, so the search for boundaries or completeness is hardly fruitful.

Then I remembered an article by the biologist Stephen J. Gould9 about the “scale dependency of laws”. No two species can occupy the same ecological niche – this is a well-known law of ecology. Man and lion may not lie next to one another – except in Paradise. But this law is not true in an “absolute sense”. For bacteria and man have lived in the same ecological niche, maybe somewhat uncomfortably, but they have lived. The ecological law applies only at the same scale. The same applies to arguments. What I have assembled in this causerie on language and diplomacy in the context of the Treaty of Waitangi are arguments and considerations, which apply – in my view at least – to the same level of generality and importance. At different or more specific levels, other considerations apply.

The issue of hidden baggage in diplomatic language – power, concepts and constructs, international and national law – is the landscape in which the diplomat then exercises his skill.

Diplomacy then is an act of recognition first. It is an acknowledgement of the realities that surround the process, in particular the hidden baggage. Even more, though, diplomacy is an act of intuition. It is finding one’s way in a landscape often stark, often forbidding. For this you have no patent process or medicine, and you never have a certainty of success. Changes in the weather, or changes in the temperature, a hail of stone, or an avalanche can do you great harm or bring your efforts to nought. But that’s the fun of the challenge, and of diplomacy.

ENDNOTES

1. Theodore Zeldin, Conversation: How Talk Can Change Your Life (London: Harvill Press, 1998), vii, 103.

2. Claudia Orange, The Treaty of Waitangi (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books Ltd., 1987), x, 312.

3. As cited in Noam Chomsky, Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (Cambridge, Massachusetts: South End Press, 2000).

4. Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (New York: Little Brown, 2000), xix, 268.

5. John Ralston Saul, The Doubter’s Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995), 342.

6. This attitude may be the result of the western civilisations having evolved from an agricultural base. Hunting and gathering societies or those living from fish had a different view of what defines a territory. See T. Flannery, The Eternal Frontier (Melbourne: 2001), 404.

7. Keith Sinclair, The Oxford Illustrated History of New Zealand (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1997), viii, 408.

8. John Gray, Berlin (London: Fontana, 1995), viii, 189.

9. Stephen J. Gould, The Lying Stones of Marrakech (London: J. Cape, 2000), 372.

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Diplomacy under a Foreign Flag: When nations break relations

Diplomacy: The world of the honest spy

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

Some years ago, John Young, Professor of International History at the University of Nottingham and long-serving Chair of the British International History Group, turned his thoughts and research in the direction of diplomatic procedure. This is the first monograph to be the product of his shift in direction and it is to be most warmly welcomed. It is original in focus, impeccably researched (private papers and oral history transcripts have been sifted as well official documents in The National Archives), crisply written, and altogether a major contribution to the contemporary history of diplom...

The Work of Diplomacy

Inside the U.S. Embassy: How the Foreign Service Works for America

The Professional Diplomat

John le Carré: The Biography

I thought to review this book because I had enjoyed the spy novels of John le Carré and, having introduced a chapter on secret intelligence into the latest edition of my textbook and mentioned him in it (p. 155), was keen to see if Adam Sisman had turned up anything new about the novelist’s own short career as an intelligence officer in what was then West Germany.

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

This is the eighth volume in the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy Series, and is a very solid addition to it. Cross, who was born of missionary parents in Beijing, spent 32 years in the US Foreign Service, and though his tours abroad included Egypt, Cyprus and London, most were in Asia and it is on these which this memoir concentrates.

All Fall Down: America’s fateful encounter with Iran

All Fall Down is the definitive chronicle of Americas experience with the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis of 1978-81. Drawing on internal government documents, it recounts the controversies, decisions and uncertainties that made this a unique chapter in modern American history. From his personal experiences, the author draws revealing portraits of the people who engaged in this test of wills with an Islamic revolutionary regime.

Switzerland’s good offices: a changing concept, 1945-2002

Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador

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

The publication of these memoirs in autumn 2005 caused a public furore in Britain so I shall not waste time giving any background on Sir Christopher Meyer. (Just punch his name into Google, which will enable you in the blink of an eye even to find out from the BBC website which records he chose when he appeared on Desert Island Discs.)

The School for Ambassadors

Politics Among Nations

Persuasion, trust, and personal credibility

Ambassador Kishan Rana indicates the cultivation of relations and the credibility of diplomats as the basis for persuasion in diplomacy. He provides an initial taxonomy of the type of relations that diplomats should cultivate. When it comes to credibility, Ambassador Rana presents the main ways of developing and maintaining credibility in diplomatic relations. The more credible the diplomat, the more likely it is that their persuasion with local interlocutors will be successful.

To joke or not to joke: A diplomatic dilemma in the age of internet

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): The first paper, presented by Prof. Peter Serracino-Inglott as the keynote address at the 2001 conference, examines the serious issue of diplomatic communication in a playful manner, through one of the most paradigmatic and creative examples of language use: joking.

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

Nigel Brailey, a University of Bristol historian who is well known to students of Sir Ernest Satow, is to be congratulated on bringing out a revised edition of this work, the fruit of Satow's period as British minister-resident in Bangkok from 1885 until 1888. It is the journal which Satow, later the author of the famous Guide to Diplomatic Practice, kept on his long boat journey from Bangkok to the northern city of Chiangmai and back again, which took from the beginning of December 1885 until the end of the following February.

Diplomacy by other means

Diplomacy by other means

DiploDialogue – Metaphors for Diplomats

On Diplo’s blog, in Diplo’s classrooms, and at Diplo’s events, dialogues stretch over a series of entries, comments, and exchanges and may even linger. DiploDialogue summarises. It’s like in sports events: DiploDialogue aims to bring focus by deleting what, in hindsight, is less relevant. In this first DiploDialogue, Katharina Höne and Aldo Matteucci discuss the usefulness of analogies and metaphors for understanding international relations and diplomacy.

Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge

I started writing a memoire in 1998, but on a long train journey in Germany (Stuttgart to Essen), accompanied by my wonderful wife Mimi, a thought came that it might be much more interesting to write about how the Indian diplomatic system works – or does not really work. That became my first book, Inside Diplomacy (1999). Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge, first published in 2015, is that delayed memoire.

The Diplomatic Corps as an Institution of International Society

The British Diplomatic Service 1815-1914

Cursed is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat [Philip Habib] Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982

The idea of diplomatic culture and its sources

To what extent does an independent diplomatic culture exist which permits diplomats to exert their own influence on the conduct of international relations? Insofar as such a culture exists, what does it look like, is it a good thing and, if it is, how is it to be sustained? This paper explores what we generally mean when we talk about culture and how we see culture operating in contemporary international relations. It sketches the basic elements of a diplomatic culture and discusses different accounts of its origins.

Twitter for Diplomats

Twitter for Diplomats is not a manual, or a list of what to do or not to do. It is rather a collection of information, anecdotes, and experiences. It recounts a few episodes involving foreign ministers and ambassadors, as well as their ways of interacting with the tool and exploring its great potential. It wants to inspire ambassadors and diplomats to open and nurture their accounts – and it wants to inspire all of us to use Twitter to also listen and open our minds.

Diplomats at War: British and Commonwealth diplomacy in wartime

In their Preface, the editors of Diplomats at War say that the two world wars in the twentieth century had a “catalytic impact upon the practice of diplomacy”; among other things, they continue, this produced “an unprecedented revolution” in the way heads of mission conducted their business.

Blundering Into Disaster: Surviving the First Century of the Nuclear Age

A practitioner’s view

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): With examples from a detailed case study of the historical New Zealand Treaty of Waitangi, Aldo Matteucci shows us that the diplomat's job is to decode language. Matteucci writes that all language comes with "hidden baggage": hidden meanings and intentions, historical and political context, legal precedents, etc. In order to find these hidden meanings the diplomat needs a broad understanding of the context of a situation.

The Office of Ambassador in the Middle Ages

Multistakeholder diplomacy at the OECD

In his paper John West outlines multistakeholder diplomacy at the OECD. West first explores the main points and facts of the OECD before going into the emergence of globalising stakeholder societies. Finally he gives his remarks on multistakeholder diplomacy at the OECD.

Ever the Diplomat

Inside Diplomacy

This is a book on diplomacy in general and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in particular. It is also a gem, and a large gem. It breathes life, wisdom, and good humour, and is full of rich detail. I found it thoroughly absorbing. Students of diplomacy at all stages of their careers will find it immensely useful, while those in a position to influence the future shape of the IFS will discover a whole raft of constructive suggestions for reform fearlessly advanced.

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

I am in favour of biographies of relatively obscure individuals like Jack Garnett because there are plenty of them on the famous; moreover, studies of this kind often turn up interesting details (including how the famous were seen from the foothills) and stimulate thought on bigger questions. John Fisher’s well written and thoroughly researched study of this early twentieth century British diplomat, into which contextual detail is expertly woven, is no exception.

How do you know what you think you know?

In his paper, J. Thomas Converse focuses on four records-related areas where the issues of knowledge management and diplomacy come together and provide the greatest challenges to archivists, diplomats, historians and technology providers: validation, trustworthiness, context and longevity. He also explores some of the changes and challenges brought about by technology, and urges for a continued embrace of technology, while at the same time demanding the validating and relational functions which give archives their trustworthiness.

Bilateral Diplomacy

Bilateral Diplomacy is the first of the DiploHandbooks, a new series on practical diplomacy. The book breaks new ground in the role ascribed to bilateral diplomacy, and its importance in international affairs today. It also covers the de facto “empowerment” of the embassy that flows from its new responsibility for relationship management.

Diplomacy and domestic politics: The logic of two-level games

Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before they Start

The Contemporary Embassy: Paths to Diplomatic Excellence

21st Century Diplomacy: A practitioner’s guide

Kishan Rana is a man of lengthy and varied experience in the Indian Foreign Service, ending his career as ambassador to Germany. Since then he has spent many years as a globe-trotting trainer of junior diplomats on behalf of DiploFoundation. Few people, therefore, are as well placed to write a practitioners’ guide to the diplomatic craft; and, insofar as concerns the content of his book, which can be found described here, he has not disappointed.

Who needs diplomats? The problem of diplomatic representation

This paper discusses the problem of diplomatic representation. Diplomats should remind themselves and others that they are first and foremost the representatives of sovereign states, that this is their raison d’être and a precondition for anything else they might aspire to be or to do. This might require an adjustment in their professional orientation but not a transformation.

The Craft of Diplomacy: How to Run a Diplomatic Service

A weak diplomatic hybrid: U.S. Special Mission Benghazi, 2011-12

In the widespread coverage of the brutal murder of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and others in the US mission in Benghazi on 11 September 2012, there has been much confusion over the character of the post. It has been repeatedly described in the media as the American ‘consulate’ but the official position, recently stated emphatically by the Report of the Accountability Review Board for Benghazi (ARB) convened by secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is that ‘the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi was never a consulate and never formally notified [in any character] to the Libyan ...

A Diplomat’s Handbook of International Law and Practice

Just a Diplomat

Close students of the new, Conservative Party Mayor of London, the at once engaging and alarming Boris Johnson, will know that he has Turkish cousins. One of these is Sinan Kuneralp, a son of the late Zeki Kuneralp, probably the most distinguished and well liked Turkish diplomat of his generation. Sinan Kuneralp is a scholar-publisher and runs The Isis Press in Istanbul, a house at the forefront of publishing scholarly works and original documents on the Ottoman Empire, chiefly in English and French. The three works noticed here are all its products and reflect the publisher’s own special in...

The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy, Third Edition

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 organizations, e-Diplomacy, and major figures who have occupied the diplomatic scene or have written about it over the last half millennium.

A Dictionary of Diplomacy

Like all professions, diplomacy has spawned its own specialized terminology, and it is this lexicon which provides A Dictionary of Diplomacy's thematic spine. However, the dictionary also includes entries on legal terms, political events, international organizations and major figures who have occupied the diplomatic scene or have written influentially about it over the last half millennium. All students of diplomacy and related subjects and especially junior members of the many diplomatic services of the world will find this book indispensable.

The inertia of Diplomacy

Diplomacy is used to manage the goals of foreign policy focusing on communication. New trends affect the institution of diplomacy in different ways. Diplomacy has received an additional tool in the form of the Internet. In various cases of interdependence and dependence interference in a country’s affairs is accepted. Multilateral cooperation has created parliamentary diplomacy and a new type of diplomat, the international civil servant. States and their diplomats are in demand to curb the excesses of globalization. The fight against terrorism also brought additional work for diplomac...

Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy

Internet Guide for Diplomats

The Internet Guide for Diplomats is the first guide specifically conceived and realised to assist diplomats and others involved in international affairs to use the Internet in their work. The book includes both basic technical information about the Internet and specific issues related to the use of the Internet in diplomacy. Examples and illustrations address many common questions including web-management for diplomatic services, knowledge management and distance learning.

Inside Diplomacy

This is a book on diplomacy in general and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in particular. It is also a gem, and a large gem. It breathes life, wisdom, and good humour, and is full of rich detail. I found it thoroughly absorbing. Students of diplomacy at all stages of their careers will find it immensely useful, while those in a position to influence the future shape of the IFS will discover a whole raft of constructive suggestions for reform fearlessly advanced.

Diplomatic Persuasion: An Under-Investigated Process

The under-investigation in diplomatic studies of processes of persuasion in explaining diplomatic outcomes needs to be addressed in the interests of better scholarly explanations and diplomatic practice. Although such processes are implicit in nearly all concepts and practice of diplomacy, neither scholars nor practitioners explicitly investigate them. Yet other related fields of study and disciplines examine persuasion and demonstrate its explanatory value.

The Diplomats, 1939-1979

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

This is the first book of a very promising young historian. Laurence Guymer, who is head of the Department of History at Winchester College and a research associate in the School of History at the University of East Anglia, has produced a biography of Sir Henry Bulwer that successfully challenges the conventional account of this colourful mid-Victorian figure. It also raises the question of how ‘diplomatic success’ is judged.

Yes, (Saudi) Minister! A Life in Administration

After a brilliant ministerial career in Riyadh, Algosaibi fell from grace at the Ministry of Health in 1984. This was the start of his diplomatic life, which commenced in Bahrain and continued in London. This is a shrewd and lively book.

The Practice of Diplomacy, 2nd ed

Reflections on multistakeholder diplomacy

Through analysis of the procedural and institutional arrangements in the functioning of international bodies, Valentin Katrandjiev, seeks to measure the extent to which diplomats accept nonofficial networks and entities as equal partners in the diplomatic negotiation process. Katrandjiev analyses the trend that on the domestic front, societies demand greater public accountability of governments in the process of national foreign policy making. He attempts to do so through the organisational units in MFAs responsible for relationships with domestic stakeholders.

Diplomat’s Dictionary

Backstabbing for Beginners: My Crash Course in International Diplomacy

On 21 April 2004, the Security Council adopted resolution 1538(2004), the most embarrassing resolution in the history of the United Nations. The resolution appointed an independent high-level inquiry whose mandate was to 'collect and examine information relating to the administration and management of the Oil-for-Food Programme, including allegations of fraud and corruption on the part of United Nations officials, personnel and agents, as well as contractors, including entities that have entered into contracts with the United Nations or with Iraq under the Programme.'

Journeying Far and Wide: A Political and Diplomatic Memoir

Kaiser was an active Democrat and 'noncareer officer' in the US Foreign Service under three Democratic presidents: Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter. His memoir, which is uncluttered with the trivial detail sometimes found in this genre and written with great verve, will be valued by diplomatic historians of the whole period since the Second World War. (Kaiser had served earlier as Assistant Secretary of Labor for International Affairs in the Truman administration.)

International Regimes

Renaissance Diplomacy and the Reformation

We invite you to continue our walk along timeline of Evolution of diplomacy and technology. In May, our next stop is Renaissance diplomacy and the impact of the invention of the printing press on diplomacy in the Reformation period.

Lucky George: Memoirs of an Anti-Politician

This is a belated and less than comprehensive note on this book, which I stumbled upon in a second-hand bookshop while on holiday. It is one of the most lively, shrewd, and brilliantly written diplomatic and political memoirs that I have ever come across.

Innovation in Diplomatic Practice

Diplomacy and Journalism in the Victorian era: Charles Dickens, the Roving Englishman and the “white gloved cousinocracy”

In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to Six Cold War Presidents

Twentieth Century Diplomacy: A case study of British practice, 1963-1976

Book review by Geoff Berridge 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 over a period sufficiently short to make detailed research possible […]

The Art of Diplomacy: The American Experience

Diplomatenleben

A must-have for German-speaking students of Swiss diplomacy (and diplomacy generally) since the Second World War is Dr. Max Schweizer’s recently published Diplomatenleben.

Modern Diplomacy: Dialectics and Dimensions

Positive Diplomacy

The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy

Diplomatic Education

Diplomatic Education’ was published as Chapter 11 in: An Anthology Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the Higher Colleges of Technology, ed. Tayeb A Kamali, (HCT Press, UAE, 2007).

Statecraft

Diplomacy for a Crowded World

Under the Wire: How the Telegraph Changed Diplomacy

Review by Geoff Berridge

The Beijing-Washington Back-Channel and Henry Kissinger’s Secret Trip to China

Essence of Diplomacy

Christer Jönsson is Professor of Political Science at Lund University in Sweden, where Martin Hall is a Researcher. Their book is described as an exercise in ‘theorizing’ diplomacy, that is, an attempt to provide a general account of its causes and consequences. (The authors are thus severe in denying the title of ‘theory’ to the ‘prescriptive tracts’ which scholar-diplomats have written about their art over hundreds of years, though I notice that they are more indulgent to the use of the term ‘political theory’ as in, for example, ‘liberal political theory’.)

Japanese middle-power diplomacy

21st Century Diplomacy: A Practitioner’s Guide

In the 21st century, new kinds of challenges resulting from interdependence among states and globalisation have had a determining impact of the conduct of diplomacy. Diplomacy has become multifaceted, pluri-directional, volatile and intensive, due to the increased complexity in terms of actors, dialogues subjects, modes of communication, and plurality of objectives. This unique text, written by a leading scholar and Foreign Service expert, examines all such factors to provide the definitive guide to diplomacy as it is practiced today. With a multitude of examples from around the world, includi...

The New Diplomacy

Shaun Riordan was a British diplomat for 16 years before resigning in 2000 to take up private consultancy work and journalism in Spain, where he had ended his diplomatic career as political officer in the embassy. He has written a conceptually flawed, often vague, sometimes contradictory, and essentially polemical attack on 'traditional diplomacy'. It is also peppered with New Labour jargon ('stakeholders', 'global governance', 'civil society'), has its fair measure of superficially examined mantras, misquotes Clausewitz, and sports a shop-soiled title - is he not aware that Abba Ebban publish...

Embassies in Armed Conflict

Texts in diplomacy

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Professor Dietrich Kappeler provides an overview of the various types of formal written documents used in diplomacy, pointing out where the practices surrounding these documents have changed in recent years. He also discusses multi-language treaties, including the difficulties of translation and interpretation.

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, Fifth Edition

In 2005, I reviewed the third edition of Diplomacy: Theory and Practice by G.R. Berridge as essential reading for Robinson Crusoe, had he been a student of diplomacy. We all know that eventually Crusoe ended his assignment on the foreign island and returned to his native country where he found himself a wealthy man for whom bibliography no longer had a role to play … unlike the rest of us, who have continued to practise diplomacy and read books about it.

Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk

Bilateral Diplomacy: A Practitioner Perspective (Briefing Paper #15)

Performance Management in Foreign Ministries: Corporate Techniques in the Diplomatic Service

Instruzione e formazione del diplomatico: la tradizione inglese

FDR’s Ambassadors and the Diplomacy of Crisis: From the rise of Hitler to the end of World War II

What effect did personality and circumstance have on US foreign policy during World War II? This incisive account of US envoys residing in the major belligerent countries – Japan, Germany, Italy, China, France, Great Britain, USSR – highlights the fascinating role played by such diplomats as Joseph Grew, William Dodd, William Bullitt, Joseph Kennedy and W. Averell Harriman. Between Hitler's 1933 ascent to power and the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki, US ambassadors sculpted formal policy – occasionally deliberately, other times inadvertently – giving shape and meaning not always intended by ...

The Evolution of Diplomatic Method

Diplomatic Classics: Selected texts from Commynes to Vattel

Reforming Diplomacy: Clear Choices, New Emphases

True Brits: Inside the Foreign Office

Embassies and Foreign Courts

Pragmatics in diplomatic exchanges

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Edmond Pascual interprets diplomatic communication with the linguistic tools of pragmatics. He begins by reminding us that while the diplomat is a "man of action," the particular nature of the diplomat's action is that it consists of speech. Pascual applies three concepts of pragmatics to diplomatic discourse: speech as an intentional act; the effects of the act of speech; and the role of the unsaid in the act of speech.

Diplomacy and the American Democracy

International Encyclopedia Of Public Policy And Administration

Public administration - the implementation side of government - is becoming an increasingly international discipline.

A Selection of New diplomatic memoirs

I have just written a review article on these six books of British diplomatic memoirs for the English Historical Journal, so here I shall just provide some notes on those that I believe to be most valuable to students of diplomacy.

The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries

Reveiw by Geoff Berridge

British Heads of Mission at Constantinople, 1583-1922

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 4th ed

Foreign Ministries: Managing Diplomatic Networks and Optimizing Value

This is a collection of papers presented at the 2006 Conference on Foreign Ministries hosted by DiploFoundation in May 2006, in Geneva. The overarching theme is the adaptation and reform that these ministries have undertaken, in the shape of country experiences and the transformation implemented in specific areas such as the application of information technology for outreach to domestic publics, adaptation in consular services and outsourcing options. Some of the challenging issues addressed cover relations between civil servants and politicians, the role of sub-state entities in diplomacy, an...

Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a political survivor

Jack Straw was the ablest and wisest of Tony Blair’s foreign secretaries and served in this capacity from 2001 until he was ungratefully dumped without warning by his leader in 2006. Afterwards he hit the headlines by courageously publishing his dislike of the full veil worn my some Muslim women, on the grounds that this was such a visible statement of separation and difference that it complicated community relations and was, in any case, a cultural preference rather than a religious obligation. (Straw was then and still is the Labour MP for a Bradford constituency with a large Muslim popula...

Diplomatic Security under a Comparative Lens – Or Not?

“Diplomatic security” is the term now usually preferred to “diplomatic protection” for the steps taken by states to safeguard the fabric of their diplomatic and consular missions, the lives of their diplomatic and consular officers, and the integrity of their communications; it has the advantage of avoiding confusion with the controversial legal doctrine of diplomatic protection.

Public diplomacy: Taxonomies and histories

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

Once more students of Ottoman diplomatic history are in debt to the scholar-publisher, Sinan Kuneralp, for Sir Henry Layard was one of the most remarkable and controversial of British ambassadors to Turkey in the nineteenth century and served there during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-8 – and yet the volumes of his memoirs dealing with this period have hitherto languished unpublished in the British Library, in part perhaps because of their size. (Layard admits himself to having been ‘somewhat minute, perhaps a great deal too much so’, p. 692.)They are here published almost in their entir...

“Control yourself, Sir!”: A call for research into emotion cultures in diplomacy

This essay examines and seeks to explode the notion that diplomats are, or should be, immune to emotion in the conduct of their duties. It also discusses the concept of emotion cultures - cultural rules governing the experience and expression of emotion and suggests the possibility that modern diplomacy, perhaps a distinctive culture in itself, encourages the socialisation of diplomats into a distinctive, ostensibly global diplomatic emotion culture.

The Consular Dimension of Diplomacy

Persuasion: bad practices and … others

Persuasion is a very relative concept. Like beauty, persuasion is the eye of the beholder. Admittedly, persuasion does not exist in the absence of results. One can say that persuasion can be defined as such, if and only if it is effective and reaches its goals. If we accept this prerequisite, we may find persuasion where we least expect it.

Force and Statecraft: Diplomatic Problems of Our Time

In this classic text, an eminent historian of international affairs and a distinguished political scientist survey the evolution of the international system, from the emergence of the modern state in the 17th century to the present. Craig and George pay particular attention to the nineteenth century's "balance-of-power" system, the basic tenets of which still determine many applications of modern diplomacy. The authors also focus on the ways in which the 20th century diplomatic revolution--a complex of military, political, economic and ideological factors--has destroyed the homogeneity of th...

Diplomacy and Global Governance: The Diplomatic Service in an Age of Worldwide Interdependence

Managing the Cold War: A view from the front line

Michael Alexander, a Russian-speaking senior British diplomat who died in 2002, was a major behind-the-scenes figure in what he calls the ‘management’ of the cold war to a peaceful conclusion.

What Diplomats Do: The Life and Work of Diplomats

Sir Brian Barder’s book What Diplomats Do offers comprehensive insight into the life and work of diplomats. It deserves to be read by practitioners and aspiring practitioners of diplomacy, by students and teachers of diplomacy, and by anyone interested in what diplomats actually do. It crosses genres as easily as it addresses and holds the attention of a broad audience.

The Ambassadors and America’s Soviet Policy

Getting to the Table: The Process of International Prenegotiation

The Limits of Neorealism

The Limits of Neorealism

Guerrilla Diplomacy: Rethinking International Relations

In a previous book review for DiploFoundation, Petru Dumitriu described G. R. Berridge’s Diplomacy: Theory and Practice as 'a Robinson Crusoe’s book on diplomacy'. Suppose one is left on a deserted island and allowed only one book to study diplomacy; in that case, Dumitriu recommends Diplomacy: Theory and Practice. Without doubt, I wholeheartedly support this recommendation.

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice

Let us suppose that you are left, like Robinson Crusoe, on a deserted island, under instructions to learn about diplomacy. To that elevated purpose you would be allowed to keep one book only, the rest of the luggage consisting of things more essential for your physical survival, like a gun and gunpowder. The choice of that particular book may not be that difficult, if you had at hand the third edition of Diplomacy: Theory and Practice by G.R. Berridge.

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 2nd edn

Lessons from two fields

Mediation in International Relations

Getting Our Way: 500 Years of Adventure and Intrigue: The Inside Story of British Diplomacy