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Author: Geoff Berridge

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

2017

Mark Bertram joined the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works after reading architecture at Cambridge and remained in the civil service as architect, project manager, administrator, estate manager and – in his own words – ‘quasi diplomat’ for the next thirty years.
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He was the ministry’s regional architect in Hong Kong in the 1970s, moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when it secured control of its own buildings abroad (the ‘diplomatic estate’) in 1983, and was soon head of the estate department. On surrendering that role in 1997 he became a professional adviser to the FCO. He is therefore exceptionally well qualified to have written a book of this nature.

The structure of his work, which has 20 chapters, is a good blend of the thematic with the chronological: for example, ‘Chapter 4: Consulates 1850-1900’, and ‘Chapter 5: Legation Houses 1850-1900’; and ‘Chapter 13: New Commonwealth 1947-1983’, and ‘Chapter 14: Roles, Rules and Rations 1950-1970’. Its greater part consists of detailed descriptions of building types and individual buildings during different periods, together with accounts of the debates their planning prompted at home, some of them acrimonious. Interleaving most chapters, however, are illuminating discussions of the general questions prompted by the subject, and it is these that I found particularly interesting.

The first among these questions to mention because it helps to understand the others, even though it will probably be the one of least interest to students of diplomacy, is where in the government machine overall responsibility for the diplomatic estate should lie. In Britain, this rested from 1824 until 1983 with an already long-established government department responsible for all of central government’s public works (e.g. the British Museum), among which, therefore, the diplomatic estate was only one part; after the 1870s, the Foreign Office did not even have a budget allocation for the overseas estate for the forthcoming year. For most of this period the ministry with overall responsibility for diplomatic buildings abroad was known as the Office of Works, latterly as the Ministry of Works, then the Property Services Agency (PSA). It had its own architects, quantity surveyors, structural engineers, project managers, and so on. In 1983, this all changed when both the responsibility and the money were given to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; accordingly, the title of the penultimate chapter of Bertram’s book is ‘Diplomats in Control’, with charge of 4,067 properties in 132 countries. The question is: Was this a good thing? The PSA thought that the diplomats would give insufficient attention to long-term value for money, while the diplomats believed that only they were able to give the right priority to the estate as ‘a tool of British diplomacy’ (p. 403) – and henceforward would be in a position to do so, while being determined to make it cost-effective. Provided a foreign ministry is held to account by a well-qualified select committee of a parliamentary assembly, I am sure that the author is right to support the diplomats’ view.

The second general question is how to acquire and hold property. Initially, envoys and consuls had to find and rent their own, in the last case sometimes – notably in nineteenth century China – even boats moored offshore. Subsequently, governments such as that of Britain assumed the responsibility but were then faced with the choice of whether to lease or purchase existing properties of promise – or build their own. Britain took its first steps in the last direction in the early nineteenth century. Bertram examines, too, a variant on leasehold that began to be exploited by the British in the early twentieth century in cities with ‘relatively sophisticated property expertise (p. 227).’ This was the ‘developer deal’, in which a developer agreed to provide an acceptable site and erect on it a building to an approved plan; in return, the government signed up to rent it for a fixed term of years, usually a long one. The British consulate-general building in Jakarta was erected on this basis at the beginning of the 1930s and continued to be leased by the government until 1981. The advantages and disadvantages of the various options in different circumstances are thoroughly considered.

The third question to arise when the government began to build embassies and consulates was how to design them. When the first resident embassies were established in the early modern period ambassadors and their companions (official and unofficial) lived and worked together in one house. In the British case, Bertram tells us, the growing demand for office space consequent upon the expansion in diplomatic responsibilities following the First World War led to a feeling in London that embassy offices should be lodged separately from the ambassador’s house: the offices (henceforward ‘the embassy’) in the business centre and the ambassador’s living accommodation and ‘machine for entertaining’ (henceforward ‘the residence’) in the cheaper and more spacious suburbs, with the corollary that separate accommodation also had to be offered to the other diplomatic staff. But to the extent that this change came fully to pass after the Second Wold War it was not accepted without stiff resistance by the senior diplomats, who argued that the old design was more efficient as well as more convenient and that, besides, civil servants in London did not grasp the prestige that attached to having one large building in a city centre. A downside to the separation of embassy from ambassadorial residence felt more strongly in London was that it ‘opened the way for more individualistic and transient enthusiasms to flourish on the part of incumbents’ in regard not just to furnishings of the residence but also to modifications to existing buildings and plans for any replacement. ‘The scope for altercations [with London],’ writes the author with feeling, ‘was endless’ (p. 326). Not least because incumbent ambassadors were likely to have left their residence for a new one before any major building works were completed and their successors might possibly have quite different ideas, London’s tolerance for their views had to be strictly limited.

Another question of design that caused tension was the extent to which the operational requirements of a new building should be moulded by stylistic considerations, whether with a view to making it blend into the local milieu or – more usually – project a desired image of the sending state. A related question was whether or not commissions should be awarded to high-profile private architects, who would probably be more difficult to control than those in government employ but might be expected to produce eye-catching results. Style did not begin to become a significant consideration until the late 1950s, when architectural anathemas were heaped on the ‘straight blocks’ to which the Ministry of Works had given birth after the Second World War. At this juncture, private architects were commissioned to design diplomatic buildings for the first time since, exceptionally, the famous Sir Edwin Lutyens had been employed to design the new embassy and residence in Washington, completed in 1930. But the experience of the Ministry of Works with the three projects concerned was not, says Bertram, a good one. Neither the new residence at Lagos by Lionel Brett, occupied in 1961, nor Basil Spence’s Rome Embassy, opened ten years later, were judged to have been operationally ideal by their occupants, and the design for a new embassy and residence at Brasilia by Peter and Alison Smithson was abandoned after a three-year struggle, in part because it was too ambitious and could not be afforded. Henceforward, the government took more care to appoint in-house architects with good track records, better match the professional strengths of private architects to the challenges of each project when commissioning, and tighten up project management.

A further question of design that caused difficulties for traditional reflexes as its importance increased in the last quarter of the twentieth century was how to modify existing buildings or build new ones with physical defence in mind: the question of what is now usually called ‘diplomatic security’. Unfortunately, although understandably, British practice in regard to the defence of diplomatic buildings against attack by terrorists or politically agitated mobs is a subject on which Mark Bertram is noticeably reticent. Nevertheless, here and there his book contains interesting asides on it. He says, for example, that the post-Second World War decision to build residences separately from embassies was later reinforced for reasons of security (p. 358), although he does not say why. Presumably this was chiefly to reduce the likelihood of harm falling to ambassadors and their families by virtue of living in buildings that not only needed to be open to the public but were also correctly assumed to be ‘nests of spies’. (This was a major reason for the notorious attack on and occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979.)  He also mentions the security advantages of compounds in the Middle East and Asia, which ‘derived from the military cantonments of India’, and reminds us that they were also prompted with a view to providing a ‘healthy, communal, uncrowded, fairly self-sufficient living and working environment’ (pp. 87, 335) – points I had omitted to mention in my article ‘Diplomatic security and the birth of the compound system’ . He mentions more than once that secure or ‘classified’ offices were always placed on the top floor of buildings (p. 314), which is well-known. Further, during the Cold War, such very limited work as had to be done on British missions in Warsaw Pact countries was done by security-cleared personnel from the UK and all materials were UK-sourced and delivered by diplomatic bag (p. 258). And he gives a brief mention of the FCO’s 1985 security review, which ‘made proposals for relocating some [buildings in unsafe environments] and strengthening the defences of others in respect of site perimeters, gates and barriers, and glazing’ (p. 418). But that – apart from the account of the building of the new embassy in Moscow, opened in 2000, where measures designed to prevent electronic eavesdropping were the main security concern – is it as far as this subject is concerned.

With the reservations that there is – albeit understandably – too little on security and perhaps too much on the careers of individuals, Mark Bertram has written a book on his subject of unrivalled authority and with great clarity. Occasionally, too, a droll sense of humour shines through his text (‘It is an illusion to imagine that bureaucracy lessened in time of war: it just used smaller sheets of thinner paper’, pp. 232-3). The author is at ease with the diplomatic lexicon and provides just the right amount of political context. The book is also carefully sourced, with many references to documents located in The National Archives in London; and it has innumerable illustrations, a bibliography, and good analytical index. It is also supplemented by full descriptions and illustrations in a ‘Catalogue of British embassy and consulate buildings, 1800 – 2010’ on the Web which is freely available hereRoom for Diplomacy is unique in accounts of British diplomacy and I cannot recommend it too strongly. The author’s publisher, Spire Books was dissolved in 2016, but it can still be obtained, most cheaply direct from the author via this page.

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

The message discusses the Beijing-Washington back-channel and Henry Kissinger's covert visit to China.

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The Ambassadors: From Ancient Greece to the Nation State

The Ambassadors: From Ancient Greece to the Nation State explores the historical role of ambassadors, tracing their origins in ancient Greece through to the present day practices of representing nations on the international stage. The book delves into the evolution of diplomacy, the duties and responsibilities of ambassadors, as well as the impact they have had on shaping the relations between states throughout history. Through a detailed examination of the development of diplomatic protocols and practices, readers gain insight into the crucial role ambassadors play in promoting peace, resolvi...

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Studies in Dipomatic History and Historiography in honour of G. P. Gooch, C. H.

This book is a tribute to G. P. Gooch, exploring the realms of Diplomatic History and Historiography through a collection of studies.

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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...

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Post Cold War diplomatic training

Victor Shale's paper refers to a specific time period: the post-Cold War period which brought about new forms of conflicts, and high levels of terrorism. In the light of the change in traditional diplomacy, his paper examines multistakeholder diplomatic training and its importance as an approach in penetrating different cultures, and examines whether this approach could be used to minimise intractable conflicts.

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Finance, Trade and Politics in British Foreign Policy, 1815-1914

The text explores the interplay of finance, trade, and politics in British foreign policy from 1815 to 1914. It discusses how economic factors influenced decision-making and shaped diplomatic relations during this period.

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The Nineteenth Century Foreign Office

The Nineteenth Century Foreign Office discusses the evolution of foreign diplomacy during the 1800s, emphasizing the growth of Britain's diplomatic service, the influence of key diplomats and foreign secretaries, and the changing dynamics of international relations during this time period. It explores the impact of major events such as the Congress of Vienna, the Crimean War, and the development of the British Empire on the role and function of the Foreign Office. The article highlights the significant role played by diplomats and foreign secretaries in shaping British foreign policy and navig...

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The Diplomats, 1919-1939

The message outlines the diplomatic efforts and challenges between 1919 and 1939, exploring key events and agreements during this period.

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The First Resort of Kings: American cultural diplomacy in the twentieth century

The message discusses the significance of American cultural diplomacy throughout the twentieth century, highlighting its role as an essential tool for promoting American values and influence on a global scale.

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Secret Channels: The Inside Story of Arab-Israeli Peace Negotiations

Secret Channels: The Inside Story of Arab-Israeli Peace Negotiations" delves into the clandestine negotiations that paved the way for peace agreements between Arab nations and Israel. It provides insight into the complexities, challenges, and breakthroughs that occurred during these diplomatic efforts, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the intricate process of brokering peace in the Middle East.

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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Ask anyone who was the person that most influenced world history: few would mention Genghis Khan. Arguably, however, Genghis Khan and the Mongols were the dominant force that shaped Eurasia and consequently the modern world. Not for what they destroyed – though they wrought much destruction all over the continent – but for what they built. They came close to uniting Eurasia into a world empire, and in so doing they spread throughout it technologies like paper, gunpowder, paper money, or the compass – and trousers. They revolutionised warfare. More lastingly, in the words of the author: '...

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English Medieval Diplomacy

The message discusses English Medieval Diplomacy.

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A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West

Note: The author of this review compares Noam Chomsky's A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West and David Fromkin's Kosovo Crossing: American Ideals meet Reality on the Balkan Battlefields.

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

Mark Bertram joined the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works after reading architecture at Cambridge and remained in the civil service as architect, project manager, administrator, estate manager and – in his own words – ‘quasi diplomat’ for the next thirty years.

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

The book review discusses a case study of British diplomacy from 1963 to 1976. It delves into various diplomatic methods employed during this period, such as resident embassies, special missions, summitry, state visits, and dealing with unfriendly governments. The study highlights the importance of traditional diplomatic practices alongside newer forms, showing how they complement rather than compete with each other. The review praises the book's thorough research and insightful analysis, suggesting it as a model for enhancing understanding of diplomatic practices in different contexts.

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Diplomacy and Secret Service

Intelligence officers working under diplomatic protection are rarely out of the news for long, and the last two years have been no exception. How did the relationship between diplomacy and secret intelligence come about? What was the impact on it of the bureaucratization of secret intelligence that began in the late nineteenth century? Is diplomatic immunity the only reason why intelligence officers still cluster in embassies and consulates today? What do their diplomatic landlords think about their secret tenants and how do the spooks repay the ambassadors for their lodgings? These are among ...

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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.

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The Rise of Modern Diplomacy, 1450-1919

The text discusses how modern diplomacy evolved between 1450 and 1919, highlighting the changes in diplomatic practices, the emergence of new diplomatic actors, and the impact of historical events on diplomacy during this period.

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

This collection of essays, edited and well introduced by Daniela Frigo of the University of Trieste, reflects the comparatively recent rediscovery of interest in the diplomacy of their own peninsula by Italian historians. (The only non-Italian contributor is Christopher Storrs.) All of the essays are of a high standard and most contain much new research. Adrian Belton is, therefore, also to be congratulated for making them accessible to English readers by means of his excellent translation.

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A History of the United Nations. Volume I: The Years of Western Domination 1945-1955

The United Nations was formed in 1945 with a focus on maintaining world peace and promoting cooperation among nations. Initially dominated by Western powers, the organization's structure and policies evolved over the years to address global challenges and represent a more diverse membership.

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The evolution of diplomacy in the Caribbean

This paper will focus on the development of diplomacy in the Caribbean and how it impacts the development of small Caribbean States, paying attention to the regional, bilateral and multilateral levels of diplomacy.

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Diplomacy at the Highest Level: The Evolution of International Summitry

The text discusses the evolution of international summitry and how it has become a key tool for diplomacy at the highest levels.

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The Evolution of Diplomatic Method

The Evolution of Diplomatic Method discusses the changing nature of diplomacy over time. From traditional methods to modern practices, diplomacy has adapted to technological advancements and global challenges. The article emphasizes the importance of evolving diplomatic strategies to effectively address the complexities of the contemporary world.

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

In writing her history of the origins and evolution of the office of high commissioner, Dr Lloyd, who is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Keele University, has drawn on a vast range of sources. She has sifted through archives of public and private papers not just in Britain but in Ireland, Canada, and South Africa; and she has conducted many interviews and much correspondence with former high commissioners.

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The Ambassadors and America’s Soviet Policy

The Ambassadors and America's Soviet Policy discusses the roles of three prominent American ambassadors in shaping U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union during the early Cold War period. These diplomats employed various strategies to navigate the complexities of Soviet-American relations, including engaging in diplomacy, intelligence gathering, and negotiation. Overall, their efforts helped influence U.S. foreign policy towards the Soviet Union and contributed to the eventual end of the Cold War.

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A History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe, vol. 2

The message provides an overview of the evolution of diplomacy in Europe, highlighting its significance in international development.

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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...

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The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

If God ever gave mankind a mission – it was not so much to multiply as to walk. And walk we did, to the farthest corners of the earth. Homo sapiens sapiens is the only mammal to have spread from its place of origin, Africa, to every other continent – before settling down to sedentary life ogling a TV screen or monitor, that is.

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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.

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International Diplomacy Volume IV: Public Diplomacy

The message is empty and no content is provided within the triple quotes.

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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...

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The Power of Small States: Diplomacy in World War II

This Is an inquiry into how the governments of small and militarily weak states can resist the strong pressure of great powers even in crisis periods. The continued existence and, in deed, startling increase in the number of small states may seem paradoxical in the age of superpowers and the drastically altered ratio of military strength between them and the rest of the world. It is well known that the ability to use violence does not alone determine the course of world politics. Some of the other determinants can be observed with exceptional clarity in the diplomacy of the small ...

English dragomans and oriental secretaries: the early nineteenth-century origins of the anglicization of the British embassy drogmanat in Constantinople

The message discusses the early 19th-century origins of the anglicization of the British embassy drogmanat in Constantinople, focusing on English dragomans and oriental secretaries.

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

Gerald Henry Fitzmaurice was Chief Dragoman at the British Embassy in Constantinople before the First World War and George Ambrose Lloyd was a young Honorary Attaché based in the Embassy from the autumn of 1905 until the end of 1906. In Gerald Fitzmaurice (1865-1939), which leans heavily on the private letters that Fitzmaurice wrote to Lloyd between 1906 and 1915, I describe the ups and downs of the close friendship which developed between them. I also deal more or less fully with many of the subjects raised in the letters. Why, then, publish them separately?

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Munitions of the Mind: A history of propaganda from the ancient world to the present era

The message discusses how propaganda has been used throughout history, dating back to ancient times, up to the present era.

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Documenting diplomacy, Evaluating documents: The case of the CSCE

Part of Language and Diplomacy (2001): Rather than individual documents, Dr Keith Hamilton looks at the process and purpose of compiling collections of documents. He focuses on his own experience as the editor of Documents on British Policy Overseas, and particularly on his work publishing a collection of documents concerning the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe from 1972 until 1975.

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Kautilya’s Arthasastra on war and diplomacy in Ancient India

Kautilya's Arthasastra offers insights into war and diplomacy in Ancient India, emphasizing strategic thinking, espionage, alliances, and statecraft.

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Japanese middle-power diplomacy

In the realm of international relations, Japan engages in middle-power diplomacy, showcasing its influence and capabilities while fostering beneficial relationships on the global stage.

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A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era

It’s not often that a fascinating and important new book — in this case about an accomplished diplomat, journalist, whistle-blower, novelist, dissembler and controversial celebrity of Victorian times — is made available, totally free of charge, to anyone with a computer, internet access and Adobe software for downloading a book-length PDF file.  This is what Professor Emeritus G R Berridge, prolific writer and author of the classic textbook Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, has done with his latest book,  A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era: The Life and Writings of E. C. ...

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The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics 1851-1945

The message discusses the impact of telecommunications on international politics from 1851 to 1945.

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King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America

The message discusses the foreign relations strategy of the Confederate States of America known as King Cotton Diplomacy, which aimed to leverage the economic power of cotton to gain support from European nations during the Civil War.

U.S. Propaganda in the Middle East – The Early Cold War Version

The message discusses the use of U.S. propaganda in the Middle East during the early Cold War era.

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

Book review by Geoff Berridge

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Notes on the origins of the diplomatic corps: Constantinople in the 1620s

The diplomatic corps in Constantinople during the 1620s played a crucial role in diplomatic activities, managing relationships with foreign powers, facilitating negotiations, and gathering intelligence. The ambassadors stationed there were required to navigate complex political landscapes, cultural differences, and personal rivalries. This era marked the beginning of professionalized diplomacy, where ambassadors were trained in the art of negotiation and represented their countries' interests with skill and tact.

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The ‘Working’ Non-Aligned Movement: Between Belgrade, Cairo, and Baku – The NAM’s Leadership Visibility

The objective of this chapter is to highlight lessons learned, promote best practices, and carry takeaways that are useful for other levels of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), or even other forums.

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Diplomacy in Ancient Greece

The text discusses ancient Greek diplomacy, highlighting the significance of alliances, treaties, and negotiations in maintaining peace and balance of power among city-states. It also mentions the practice of sending envoys to conduct diplomatic missions and the use of oratory skills to influence decisions in the Greek world. Diplomacy played a crucial role in managing conflicts, resolving disputes, and fostering relationships between city-states in Ancient Greece.

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The Diplomats, 1939-1979

The message provides a brief overview of a diplomatic history spanning the years from 1939 to 1979.

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The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America’s Embassies, 2nd ed

The Architecture of Diplomacy: Building America's Embassies, 2nd ed. explores the intricate design process behind creating US embassies worldwide, showcasing the significance of architecture in diplomacy and international relations. It delves into the cultural, historical, and political considerations that shape embassy structures, emphasizing the crucial role architecture plays in representing American values and promoting diplomatic relationships globally. This revised edition offers a comprehensive look at the evolving architectural landscape of US embassies and the impact of design on dipl...

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Amarna Diplomacy: A Fully-fledged Diplomatic System in the Near East?

The text analyses diplomatic relations during the Amarna period in ancient Egypt, examining the structure, protocols, and effectiveness of the diplomatic system in facilitating communication and negotiation among the various Near Eastern powers of the time.

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Diplomatic integration with Europe before Selim III

The text explores the historical dynamics and mechanisms of diplomatic integration between European powers and the Ottoman Empire before the era of Selim III, examining the factors, strategies, and challenges involved in this complex process of diplomatic engagement and interaction.

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Regionalism in the Post-Cold War World

Regionalism in the Post-Cold War World emphasizes the shift towards regional cooperation and integration following the end of the Cold War. It discusses how national interests can align with regional cooperation and highlights the importance of regional organizations in addressing common challenges such as security, economic development, and environmental issues. Overall, it examines the evolving nature of regionalism in the contemporary global landscape.

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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.

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British Envoys to Germany 1816-1866

The text discusses the role and activities of British envoys in Germany from 1816 to 1866.

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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.

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The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present and Future of the United Nations

The United Nations, established in 1945, aims to promote peace, security, and cooperation among countries worldwide. It provides a platform for global dialogue and decision-making on various issues, striving to uphold human rights and international law. While facing challenges and limitations, the UN continues to play a crucial role in addressing global challenges and advocating for a more peaceful and sustainable world.

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Politics and Culture in International History, 2nd ed

The message focuses on the interactions between politics and culture in international history, emphasizing its complexities and interconnected nature. It delves into how political decisions and cultural aspects influence each other, shaping the course of international relations.

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Lord Elgin and the Marbles

The text provides a thorough examination of the controversy surrounding Lord Elgin's acquisition of the Parthenon Marbles, offering insights into the historical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of their removal from Greece to Britain.

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Strategic Public Diplomacy: The Evolution of Influence

Strategic Public Diplomacy: The Evolution of Influence" explores the development of public diplomacy strategies, focusing on their impact and evolution over time.

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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...

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A kind of diplomatic incantation: Exchanging British and Japanese diplomats in the Second World War

The content discusses how British and Japanese diplomats were exchanged during World War II in a diplomatic ritual that followed strict protocols to ensure the safety and respect of both parties.

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US Public Diplomacy: A Cold War Success Story?

The post-'9/11' revival of interest in US public diplomacy encompasses a wide variety of opinions, all overwhelmingly critical.

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Did diplomatic immunity exist in the ancient Near East?

The text discusses the concept of diplomatic immunity in the ancient Near East.

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Gerals Firzmaurice (1965-1939), Chief Dragoman of the British Embassy in Turkey

Gerals Fitzmaurice (1865-1939) was the Chief Dragoman of the British Embassy in Turkey.

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Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations

The message discusses the emergence of diplomatic relationships during the Amarna period, highlighting how this era marked the start of international relations.

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The British Diplomatic Service 1815-1914

The British Diplomatic Service from 1815 to 1914 showcases the evolution of a prestigious institution that adapted to the changing political landscape of the 19th century. This period saw the service expand its reach globally, employing both traditional aristocratic diplomats and a growing number of professionals. The diplomatic corps played a vital role in maintaining British interests abroad, while facing challenges such as increased international competition and demands for specialized knowledge. The period also witnessed the professionalization of diplomatic practices and the development o...

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The Origins of the Diplomatic Corps: Rome to Constantinople

The evolution of the diplomatic corps can be traced back to ancient Rome, where envoys played a key role in maintaining relationships with other civilizations. As the Roman Empire transitioned to Constantinople, the concept of diplomatic missions continued to develop, becoming more formalized and structured. From humble beginnings in Rome to the sophisticated diplomatic corps of Constantinople, the foundations of modern diplomacy were laid, shaping the interactions between nations for centuries to come.

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The Collision of Two Civilisations: The British Expedition to China 1792-4

The text discusses the British expedition to China in 1792-94, examining the clash between two cultures.

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The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece – A Short Introduction

Employed against a warlike background, the diplomatic methods of the ancient Greeks are thought by some to have been useless but by others to have been the most advanced seen prior to modern times.

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Diplomatic Classics: Selected texts from Commynes to Vattel

The message will focus on highlighting the importance of classic diplomatic texts from Commynes to Vattel in understanding diplomatic history and principles, fostering a deeper comprehension of international relations.

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Foreign ministries and the management of the past

In his paper, Keith Hamilton looks at Foreign Ministries’ treatment of historical diplomacy, and specifically, the publication of diplomatic documents. Through his historical analyses, the author examines the various aims of these documents, such as, to shed light on past developments and help in current and future negotiations; to influence parliamentarians and a wider public; and to further international relations’ studies.

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Evolution of Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities

Excerpt from the lecture 1: Principles and concepts, evolution and instruments; Online course on Diplomatic Law: Privileges and Immunities.

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

In England and the Avignon Popes, Karsten Plöger, who is a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in London, has provided an invaluable book not only for students of medieval diplomatic method but for students of diplomacy in general. It is a work of immense and meticulous scholarship: exhaustively researched, well organized, carefully worded, penetrating, and beautifully written.

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Searching for the prehistoric origins of diplomacy

What if diplomacy had started in the first contact between two distinct bands of nomadic Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers in the Palaeolithic period, even before the advent of agriculture and the transition from nomadism to Neolithic sedentary societies? In this post, prepared especially for this blog, a summary of the author’s argument, originally published by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs [1], is presented to DiploFoundation readers searching for the ancient origins of the diplomatic practice.