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Author: Milan Jazbec

Persuasion in sociology of diplomacy


Dr Milan Jazbec, a practitioner and researcher in diplomacy, positions a discussion on persuasion in the sociology of diplomacy. Social context determines both diplomacy and persuasion. Dr Jazbec makes a distinction between pressure and persuasion. In a rather counter-intuitive view to dominant discourse, he argues that genuine persuasion cannot be public. As soon as it becomes public, it immediately becomes pressure.

I was never interested in diplomacy. My ambition and goal, from early childhood, was to become a journalist, which I actually achieved a decade and a half later. However, diplomacy entered my life much later then journalism and I would guess more or less by chance.

It was in mid-October 1987, when I started with my work as a mid-level diplomat in the then Yugoslav Foreign Ministry in Belgrade. So, roughly speaking, my diplomatic career started a quarter of a century ago, by which time Prof. Dietrich Kappeler already had spent the same amount of time in his diplomatic engagement. At the time, I did not know anything about him, and was practically an outsider in the profession that later became my vocation, activity, and hobby.

I was an outsider, in spite of the fact that I passed the diplomatic exams with almost the very best grades. Everything that I know now and have produced so far in the area of diplomacy is the result of enthusiastic, devoted, and demanding work throughout the past two and a half decades. Consequently, this was also the time during which Prof. Kappeler was slowly entering my research contemplations in this field.

In contrast to my experience with our jubilant, I met Dr Jovan Kurbalija in early 1990, a few days after he, as a novice, with a degree from the Belgrade Faculty of Law in his pocket, entered the Foreign Ministry and landed in our department. We became acquainted at the very beginning and became friends soon afterwards. We spent approximately one year together.

In early summer of 1991 I left to Klagenfurt as a consul (the last of Yugoslavia, as it soon turned out, and just as soon after, the first of Slovenia) and Jovan left for the Diplomatic Academy of Malta, where his later career took off. I am glad and proud that our friendship has managed to strengthen with the passing of time.

Scholarly contemplation

My first encounter with diplomacy as a practitioner in those Belgrade years immediately encouraged me to dwell on it theoretically, primarily generally and later also seeking for backgrounds and specifics. This led to my theorising and the consequent publishing of various articles. My first book on diplomacy (on consular relations) was published exactly a decade after I entered the profession and my latest (the fourteenth) was published in July 2012, on the twentieth anniversary of the international recognition Slovenia and its diplomacy.

When I started with my scholarly contemplation and writings, I was careful enough not to choose foreign policy but diplomacy. The former is too sensitive a research issue for a career diplomat, while the latter offers a lot of challenge, practical examples, and unlimited potential for theorising. I think one could say that I have been absorbed by diplomacy so far (being most probably by now transformed to an insider).

What diplomacy is

My first understanding of the term was diplomacy as a skill. With that, I actually fully hit upon Prof. Kappeler’s understanding, without knowing it at that time. A skilful diplomat is nothing but a persuasive one. Diplomacy as an activity followed as the next nuance and this was quite obvious for me, already a practitioner. It took a year or so before it occurred to me, listening to experienced colleagues, that diplomacy is also a profession.

Diplomats are primarily professionals, career civil servants, or bureaucrats, dealing with the implementation of foreign policy through the exercise of diplomatic functions. Even more, they (actually, we) are the only part of public administration permanently pursuing this as a full time job. This distinguishes them (us) from all others who occasionally deal with the same issues. All these three understandings radiate persuasion as the key element, as the essence of diplomacy, as we claim in this collection of papers.

Before continuing with the presentation of the evolution of my understanding of diplomacy, let me first elaborate my views on persuasion.

Where persuasion fits in

Perhaps one might say that persuasion is not just an activity, a skill, a way of doing diplomatic business, but rather a notion of diplomacy. It is a flexible concept for a broader framing of diplomacy into something not always clearly understandable, easy to catch and grasp, but a fluid understanding of what diplomats (and others occasionally engaged in this business) pursue and produce at the same time.[1] Since diplomacy is a solution-oriented and conflict-preventing way of seeking to overcome differences and to make consensus or compromise possible, it is not necessary to contemplate why there is a need for persuasion and who is to be persuaded.

How to persuade would be the next question. The most efficient way to do so, I would say, is through personal example and natural authority. This includes persuading both by words and deeds as well as direct and indirect ways of doing so. Keeping in mind that the majority of states do not possess enough power as a means of persuasion, they should rely on a soft approach to this business. This could stand out in particular when persuasion is being exercised among states that are part of the same integration framework, as in the case of the EU. At the same time, the persuasive approach is accompanied by tougher means, in particular when issues of crucial importance are at stake. One could imagine that when concluding negotiations of the next budget period in late-night sessions of the European Council, the EU member states move on from softer to harder approaches and means. The tougher the negotiations are, the more states tend to cluster among two or three and push their interests; it is quite easily the case that at the very end, the ultimatum as the final method of persuasion is employed.

Persuasion, understood as an approach, method ,and skill, for sure easily – or at all – stands out because of personal qualities of a diplomat in question, i.e. the one engaged in a process. Here, we could refer to Nicholson, who claims that an efficient, or even an ideal, diplomat (meaning also a negotiator) should derive their success from moral influence, which is founded on seven specific diplomatic virtues: truthfulness, precision, calm, good temper, patience, modesty, and loyalty.[2] Honesty and trust compose natural authority, which makes a self-confident diplomat, who knows how to encourage their counterpart, but also how to wait and let them get to know when a certain option is not adjustable. Often it is better to leave the counterpart to come to that conclusion by themselves than to rush them into such a conclusion by our eagerness. This could be an example of indirect persuasion, which as a rule is not a swift process, but a longer-lasting one.

Last but not least, one could say that good persuasion should reflect a given social context if it really aims to be successful. With this proposition we return to an understanding of diplomacy as a phenomenon.

The sociology of diplomacy

Working on my doctoral thesis, which took almost a decade (and literally a one-metre-high pile of books studied) and spanned two postings (Klagenfurt and Stockholm), a rather clear interpretation of diplomacy as an organisation articulated itself in front of me.[3] A parallel with military organisation served well for the drawing of some initial conclusions and to aggregate some characteristics of the diplomatic organisation, while Aldrich[4] and Morgan[5] offered the theoretical background to back up the case. Needless to say, Weber’s concept of bureaucratic organisation was at the core of this understanding, interpretation, and application.[6]

This was also the time when the concept of the sociology of diplomacy began to emerge in my research. Initially, I understood it as a sociological approach to the understanding of diplomacy, which emerged out of my study of sociological and organisational aspects of new diplomacies. I tried to describe it ‘as an approach and point of view for further theoretical conceptualization and empirical researches of new diplomacies, based on a) broad selection of methods, which sociology has developed so far for the study of social phenomena, and b) large practical experiences, which diplomacies of small new states have contributed during the first decade of their existence to the field’.[7]

The next decade was spent researching this new topic, conceptualising, and defining it as well as its various research aspects. The more I dwelled on the issue, the more an understanding of a social dependence of diplomacy came to the forefront. The break-even point in that process was reached with the quotation from Benko, claiming that ‘diplomacy was established in a function of a historical situation, what would mean that in different historical periods the articulation of needs and interests dictated the establishment of diplomacy and guaranteed its existence.’[8]

There is a significant and most probably also key interdependence between crucial historical periods and the way diplomacy is developing. One could claim this for the periods of the Greek city states, the medieval Italian city states, the Peace of Westphalia, the establishment of the League of Nations and the consequent end of the ancient regime as well as for the end of the Cold War and the consequent structural intensification of globalisation. Different historical situations and their social circumstances played a crucial role in shaping the mode and notion of diplomacy, its understanding, methods and form. So, generally speaking, it is a concrete social context that plays the decisive role in the way diplomacy appears and is being, accordingly, also researched.

With the end of the Cold War, this phenomenon highly increases in importance. First, one has to say that the globalisation processes gained increasingly on the structural momentum and secondly, an unprecedented revolution in both information/communication and transport technology definitively changed the historical situation and its social context. Their complexity and interdependence nowadays demand an understanding of diplomacy and its research not only with political sciences, history, law, and recently also with diplomatic studies, but furthermore with the approaches, methodology, apparatus, and reasoning of sociology. Therefore, according to my strong belief, a need for constituting the sociology of diplomacy has emerged.

The establishment of any special sociology is the result of a defined research topic (in our case the phenomena, relations, and processes within diplomatic organisation and with its environment, including diplomat as its main promotor), methodology (to a certain extent borrowed from general and similar special sociologies, like the sociology of international relations) as well as of initial research production.[9] This special sociology would focus on diplomatic topics, like recruitment, education and training, promotion, social composition of diplomacy, gender issues, diplomacy as a profession, the so-called ideal diplomat and their relation towards a current historical situation, etc. These and other topics are dealt with in my book Sociology of Diplomacy, published in July 2012.[10] As far as I can say, it was the first time that this emerging area and subdiscipline was thoroughly presented and elaborated, with contributions from various distinguished scholars and practitioners.

Diplomacy as a social process

Additionally, this was also the time when a notion of diplomacy as a process became fully clear to me. It means that I primarily and on the whole understand diplomacy as a dynamic social process, which enables foreign policy communication among subjects of international public law, and depends primarily on the changing social situation within a given historical context and is in principal relation towards the nation state.[11]

This process nature of diplomacy stems from one point of view from its social context and from another from the fact that ‘without communication there can be no diplomacy’.[12] And as Petrič claims: ‘the core of diplomacy is communication among states, conducted by special personnel’ and this ‘communication with diplomats of other states and with the representatives and foreign policy bureaucracies of those states as well as with representatives and bureaucrats of international organizations represents the main activity of diplomats.’[13],[14] At the same time, this definition is general enough to be able to encompass various aspects of defining diplomacy (like the already mentioned skill, activity, profession, and organisation as well as foreign policy, behaviour, and also its reference to being an institution of the international community and not only of nation state) and dwelling on its substance.

But when it comes to its essence, I would stick to diplomatic functions as they are defined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. They have been formulated quite precisely, but at the same time broadly enough to be able to survive half a century, without any clearly exercised determination of states to adapt them. This, however, does not mean these functions have not gone through a process of change.

The ratio of diplomats to negotiations

Representing the sending state in the receiving state is today much different than it was half a century ago or even earlier, but still serves its main purpose. Consular protection is increasing in importance due to the increased possibility to travel around the globe and to do business practically everywhere. Observing (by legal means) and reporting to the governments of sending states is increasing in importance as well, in particular due to complex societies and the growing difficulty to influence governments and their policies. Negotiations, historically the very heart of diplomatic activity, witness an increase in the number of experts – non-diplomats taking part in the process, while diplomats arrange the environment and conditions for it. One could even say that as the amount of negotiations is increasing, the proportion of diplomats included is decreasing. Using each opportunity to deepen friendly relations among states and people remains an indispensable part of this profession.

So, finally, after this discourse, where do I see persuasion in diplomacy and how do I understand it?

Persuasion in diplomacy

Let me first try to say that its amount and level of practical use depend on its social context, too. The exercise of persuasion took a much different shape in the era of classic diplomacy, such as in the time of overseas mercantilist expansion of the western powers, than is the case at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This is due to the changed structure of the international community and the way actors appear and function as well as a much diversified set of actors (state, non-state, private sector, civil society, media, individuals, etc.). I would say the contemporary highly complex and sophisticated interdependent international community cannot primarily rely on the use of force and exercise of power (this, of course, does not mean that it is no longer present or in use).

Manoeuvring space

Persuasion as a method and approach is being exercised by many different actors, not only by professional diplomats, which shows the high degree of its usage, efficiency and potential. Furthermore, it demonstrates the universality of diplomatic engagement as such. Diplomacy is a skill, present in daily life, used practically all the time. But due to the current social context there is much more manoeuvring space for the applicability of persuasion and its efficiency than there was, for example, a century or even longer ago. In particular, non-state actors like NGOs and media with their appearance and activity reduce significantly the manoeuvre space, where a hard line, ultimatum approach used to be in place. However, the pressure of lobbies still remains a method of persuasion, but overall their approach in a form of pure pressure has decreased.

Persuasion and pressure

Secondly, it is important to always distinguish between persuasion and pressure. Theoretically speaking, every attempt at persuasion could be interpreted also as pressure, but in practice this is far from true. Persuasion presupposes a rather broad area of operation in an open, trustworthy, and reliable atmosphere, where the main goal is generally defined and is solution-oriented, keeping in mind the general good and the benefit of all parties included. Pressure, on the contrary, follows the clearly defined goal of the dominant party, with a straightforward and rather dominant approach, where the interests of others are primarily taken into account only to the extent to which they serve the needs of the dominant side. One could say that in the current globalised society, far fewer situations appear where such an approach could prevail, primarily due to the social context. The role of media and the critical voice of NGOs both limit the modus operandi of a hard power pressure approach, or at least minimise the long-term results of its usage.

Off the record

Thirdly, one should bear in mind that persuasion is a method of working behind doors, off the record, without publicity. This is the only way that it can be successful. When persuasion goes public, it immediately becomes pressure. Sometimes, going public could be a way of doing the business of negotiations, to add pressure to the whole process. But still, even in such cases, persuasion is what remains behind the curtain. Not for the sake of pure secrecy, but for the sake of the atmosphere, of trust, and to avoid the fact that situations where options are given, taken, and refused, would become widely known. To refuse an option could sometimes provoke humiliation and destroy the process, but if it is being done behind the curtain and leads to a final result, then it is no longer important. But, alas, it would have been, had the process been public.

Finally, the current social context is not always favourable for these nuances. An enormous media web is timelessly on the prowl for information, and it is highly demanding to keep any process secret. At the same time, as already pointed out, the same media complex is vigilant, ready to uncover pressure activities. In this intersection, I see the crucial role of the social context both for the persuasion process as well as for a comprehensive understanding of diplomacy.

[1] Jönsson and Hall claim that diplomacy »in a sense constitutes and produces international society. Jönsson C and Hall M (2005) Essence of Diplomacy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, p.37.

[2]  Nicolson H (1988) Diplomacy. Washington: Georgetown University, pp. 55–67.

[3] For more on the understanding of diplomatic organization, see Jazbec M (2001) Diplomacies of New Small States: the Case of Slovenia with some comparison from the Baltics.  Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 147–198.

[4] Aldrich EH (1979) Organizations and Environments. New York: Prentice Hall.

[5] Morgan G (1989) Creative Organization Theory:  A Resourcebook. London: Sage Publications.

[6] Ibid. pp. 49–50.

[7] Jazbec M (2001) Diplomacies of New Small States: the Case of Slovenia with some comparison from the Baltics.  Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 207–208.

[8] Benko V (1998) Mesto in funkcije diplomacije v razvoju mednarodne skupnosti (The Place and Functions of Diplomacy in the Development of the International Community), in Jazbec M(Ed.) (1998) Diplomacija in Slovenci (Diplomacy and Slovenes). Klagenfurt: Založba Drava Verlag, pp. 39–58.

[9] For the latter, apart from Jazbec M (2001) Diplomacies of New Small States: the Case of Slovenia with some comparison from the Baltics.  Aldershot: Ashgate, compare also Digol D (2010) Emerging Diplomatic Elites in Post-Communist Europe. Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag dr. Müller, as well as Jazbec M et al. (2010) Equal Opportunities in the Slovenian Diplomacy. Ljubljana: Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[10]Jazbec M (Ed.) (2012) Sociologija diplomacije (Sociology of Diplomacy). Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede. Its revised and expanded forthcoming English edition is to appear in autumn 2013.

[11] Jazbec M (2012Uvodna študija (Introductory Study), in: Jazbec M (2012) Jazbec M (Ed.) (2012) Sociologija diplomacije (Sociology of Diplomacy). Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede, p.13.

[12] Jönsson and Hall claim that diplomacy »in a sense constitutes and produces international society. Jönsson C and Hall M (2005) Essence of Diplomacy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, p.37.

[13] Petrič E (2010) Zunanja politika: osnove teorije in praksa (Foreign Policy: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Aspects). Mengeš, Ljubljana: Center za evropsko prihodnost in Znanstveno-raziskovalni center Slovenske akademije znanosti in umetnosti. For more on diplomacy as communication compare Jazbec, Milan, Osnove diplomacije (Diplomatic Handbook), 2009, Ljubljana, Fakulteta za družbene vede, pp. 125–177.

[14] For more on diplomacy as communication compare Jazbec M (2009) Osnove diplomacije (Diplomatic Handbook). Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede, pp. 125–177.

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Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Dr Francisco Gomes de Matos applies what he calls the "Pedagogy of Positiveness" to diplomatic communication. He proposes a checklist of tips for diplomats to make their communication more positive, emphasising respect and understanding of the other side, and keeping in mind the ultimate goal of avoiding conflict.


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.


Diplomats as cultural bridge builders

Diplomats are people who are on the fringe somewhere, because they are either permanently living in or at least dealing with alien cultures, cultures with different values. The success of a diplomat depends on this brinkmanship because, on the one hand, they must remain credible with their superiors back home and, on the other hand, they must have access to the leaders in the country where they are posted. This paper discusses the role of diplomats as cultural bridge-builders.


Manuel de droit diplomatique


Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador


Persuasion in sociology of diplomacy

Dr Milan Jazbec, a practitioner and researcher in diplomacy, positions a discussion on persuasion in the sociology of diplomacy. Social context determines both diplomacy and persuasion. Dr Jazbec makes a distinction between pressure and persuasion. In a rather counter-intuitive view to dominant discourse, he argues that genuine persuasion cannot be public. As soon as it becomes public, it immediately becomes pressure.


Ottoman Diplomacy


The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell diaries

Until his resignation amid huge controversy in August 2003, Alastair Campbell was Tony Blair’s official spokesman and director of communications and strategy – ace spin doctor, closest confidante, and constant travelling companion. His diaries have probably been mined chiefly for their astonishing revelations about the internal machinations of his government and the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, they should also be read for the sharp and often amusing light they throw on certain aspects of diplomacy.


Language and Diplomacy: Preface

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): In the preface below, Jovan Kurbalija and Hannah Slavik introduce the chapters in the book, and extract the general themes covered by the various authors.


A Dictionary of Diplomacy, Second Edition


The Practice of Diplomacy, 2nd ed


The Diplomatic Corps as an Institution of International Society

Diplomacy by other means

Diplomacy by other means


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...


Lessons from two fields


Embassies and Foreign Courts


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.


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

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


Mediation in International Relations


Diplomacy for a Crowded World


Building relations through multi-dialogue formats: Trends in bilateral diplomacy


Brian Barder’s Diplomatic Diary

Sir Brian Barder, the senior British diplomat and author of the always sage and sometimes gripping What Diplomats Do, died in 2017 but, courtesy of the professional editorial hand of his daughter Louise, has left us another treat. This is what he called a diary and which for the most part has the form of a diary (dated daily entries), although originally it was a series of letters sent to friends from foreign parts. Compared to diplomatic memoirs, diplomatic diaries are a rarity. And since this one is the product of an acute observer who loved the English language and used it in a vigorous and...


Diplomat’s Dictionary


The Professional Diplomat


Reforming Diplomacy: Clear Choices, New Emphases


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.'


The 21st Century Ambassador: Plenipotentiary to Chief Executive

Ambassador Kishan Rana, a diplomatist for four decades, is now a noted scholar and theorist of international relations and the new diplomacy that has evolved.


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.


Diplomatic Classics: Selected texts from Commynes to Vattel


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

Book review by Geoff Berridge


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.


The Foreign Office


The impact of the Internet on diplomatic reporting: how diplomacy training needs to be adjusted to keep pace

Over the last 20 years, the Internet has changed the ways in which we work, how we socialise and network, and how we interact with knowledge and information.


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).


The Contemporary Embassy: Paths to Diplomatic Excellence


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.


The origins, use and development of hot line diplomacy


Diplomacy: The world of the honest spy


Byzantium and Venice: A study in diplomatic and cultural relations

This book traces the diplomatic, cultural and commercial links between Constantinople and Venice from the foundation of the Venetian republic to the fall of the Byzantine Empire. It aims to show how, especially after the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Venetians came to dominate first the Genoese and thereafter the whole Byzantine economy. At the same time the author points to those important cultural and, above all, political reasons why the relationship between the two states was always inherently unstable.


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.


The Evolution of Diplomatic Method


Diplomatic culture and its domestic context

Is there a specific, distinctive diplomatic culture? Given the fact that the conduct of diplomacy is regulated by international law and by custom, and since the structures through which states conduct their external relations, both bilateral and multilateral, are standardized, it is fair to say that both the institutions and the process form a pattern of their own, unique to this profession. The professional diplomatist actors on the international stage, and their institutions, display certain shared characteristics.


Embassies in Armed Conflict


A Diplomat in Japan

The first portion of this book was written at intervals between 1885 and 1887, during my tenure of the post of Her Majesty's minister at Bangkok. I had but recently left Japan after a residence extending, with two seasons of home leave, from September 1862 to the last days of December 1882, and my recollection of what had occurred during any part of those twenty years was still quite fresh. A diary kept almost uninterruptedly from the day I quitted home in November 1861 constituted the foundation, while my memory enabled me to supply additional details. It had never been my purpose to...


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.


I’ll be with you in a Minute Mr. Ambassador: The Education of a canadian Diplomat in Washington


The Art of Diplomacy: The American Experience


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


Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 3rd edn


Innovation in Diplomatic Practice


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.


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 Craft of Diplomacy: How to Run a Diplomatic Service


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.


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.)


Ellsworth Bunker: Global Troubleshooter, Vietnam Hawk


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.


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.


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.


The Summer Capitals of Europe, 1814-1919

This is an original work, meticulously researched, rich in detail, and written in a clear and – here and there – refreshingly pungent style. Soroka is a Russian scholar but at ease in English.


The Diplomats, 1939-1979


The Practice of Diplomacy: Its evolution, theory and administration

First published in 1995, the long-awaited second edition of this valuable textbook on the history of diplomacy has at last appeared. The first chapter has been expanded to include non-European traditions, and a wholly new chapter has been added to take account of developments over the last 15 years. It is for the main part a work of relaxed authority, clearly written, and – unusually for an introductory work – full of intriguing detail which it would be difficult if not impossible to find in other secondary sources.


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.


The Turkish Embassy Letters




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.


Theatre of Power: The Art of Signaling


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

Zeki Kuneralp (1914-1998) was one of Turkey’s most gifted, well-liked and influential diplomats of the second half of the twentieth century. This book, dispassionately edited, introduced and annotated by his son, the scholar-publisher Sinan Kuneralp, is the first of a promised series of six volumes. Beginning in January 1958 and ending in August 1960, when Zeki Kuneralp became ambassador to Switzerland, it covers all but the first seven or eight months of the period when he was assistant secretary-general for political affairs in the Turkish foreign ministry in Ankara (in May 1960 he was ele...


Chinese Ambassadors: The rise of diplomatic professionalism since 1945

Xiaohong worked on Western European affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing from 1977 until 1989. At some point after this she entered the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and in 1997 was awarded a Ph.D. This book is her doctoral thesis, and - on the whole - a very good one it is. Chinese Ambassadors is based on many interviews with former diplomats and a variety of Chinese primary sources (including memoirs), and is clear, well organized, and - in its main thrust - tightly argued. As a result, it offers a rare insight int...


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.


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.


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.)


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 ...


American Negotiating Behaviour: Wheeler-Dealers, Legal Eagles, Bullies, and Preachers


Modern Diplomacy: Dialectics and Dimensions


Beyond diplomatic – the unravelling of history

In his paper, Robert Alston travels through time to rekindle an important highlight – as well as a personal highlight – in the history of knowledge management. His journey takes him back to the 1850s, which saw Antonio Panizzi’s efforts in creating a universal repository of knowledge in the British Museum; and to the 1990s, a time in which he acquired first-hand experience at the same museum, drawing conclusions on the various available ways of navigating large bibliographical and archival databases.

Preventive Diplomacy in Southeast Asia: Redefining the ASEAN Way


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

The Visa Dimension of Diplomacy


Multi-Track Diplomacy: A systems approach to peace


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.


Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy


A Diplomat’s Handbook of International Law and Practice


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.


On the manner of practising the new diplomacy

The traditional model of diplomacy, founded on the principles of national sovereignty and of statecraft, is becoming less relevant as a field of new, influential actors enter the international system.


The Oxford Handbook of Modern Diplomacy


Diplomacy for the New Century

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, 1919-1939


Politics Among Nations


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...

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


International Regimes


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.


English Medieval Diplomacy



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.


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.


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.


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.


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...


Diplomatic Theory from Machiavelli to Kissinger


Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before they Start


True Brits: Inside the Foreign Office


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


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.


Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, 6th ed

Satow’s Diplomatic Practice is a classic work, first published 90 years ago and revised four times since. This is the first revised edition for thirty years, during which time the world and diplomacy have changed almost beyond recognition. The new edition provides an enlarged and updated section on the history of diplomacy and revises comprehensively […]


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...


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


British Heads of Mission at Constantinople, 1583-1922


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.


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


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.

Diplomatic security and the birth of the compound system


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.