Diplomacy: a Case for Resuscitation

  • James Cable


Diplomacy is a word as much misunderstood as it is widely abused. Its extensions, variant meanings and misapplications would furnish too much matter for a thesis and could only be comfortably accommodated, perhaps in association with ‘love’ and ‘democracy’, in a supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary. In the restricted space of an essay the field of dispute must be arbitrarily and drastically narrowed.


Foreign Policy Civil Servant Foreign Capital European Economic Community Foreign Minister 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    ‘Diplomacy is the management of international relations by negotiation; the method by which these relations are adjusted and managed by ambassadors and envoys; the business or art of the diplomatist’ (Harold Nicolson, Diplomacy, 3rd edn (Oxford University Press, 1963) p. 15).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. S. Eliot ‘The Hollow Men’, Poems 1909–1925 (Faber and Faber, 1925) p. 127.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Grant Hugo, Britain in Tomorrow’s World (Chatto and Windus, 1969) p. 27.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Christopher J. Makins, quoted in William Wallace and W. E. Paterson, Foreign Policy Making in Western Europe (Saxon House, 1978) p. 51.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Central Policy Review Staff (CPRS), Review of Overseas Representation (HMSO, 1977) p. 2.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p. 48.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Expenditure Committee of House of Commons, Fourth Report (HMSO, 7 March 1978) vol. II, p. 303.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Diplomats (Jonathan Cape, 1977) p. 151.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Webster’s New International Dictionary, 3rd edn.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    William Wallace, The Foreign Policy Process in Britain (Royal Institute for International Affairs, 1975) pp. 270–1.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    CPRS, op. cit., passim.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wallace, The Foreign Policy Process, p. 1.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    William Wallace, ‘After Berrill: Whitehall and the Management of British Diplomacy’, International Affairs, vol. 54, no. 2 (April 1978).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See note 5.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    ‘I got the impression that here was a man who could be relied upon when he had given his word’ (Chamberlain after his first meeting with Hitler: Telford Taylor, Munich: The Price of Peace (Hodder and Stoughton, 1979) p. 743). Roosevelt, who believed that some of his career diplomats were ‘working for Winston’, concluded from his first meeting with Stalin: ‘That’s our big job now, and it’ll be our big job tomorrow, too: making sure that we continue to act as referee, as intermediary between Russia and England.’Google Scholar
  16. The mirror-image of this notion, cherished by successive British leaders, only adds to the ironies inherent in the diplomacy of the brief encounter (see Elliott Roosevelt and James Brough, A Rendezvous with Destiny (W. H. Allen, 1977) pp. 362–3).Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    Thirty years ago the accepted treatment for general paralysis of the insane was to infect the patient with malaria, the resulting rise in temperature being the curative agent. In that case, however, the induced malaria, once its work was done, could itself be cured by quinine. In international relations this is the kind of therapy that doctors describe as ‘heroic’. See James Harpole, A Surgeon’s Heritage (Pan, 1953) p. 170.Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    Speech in the House of Commons, 11 November 1947.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James Cable 1985

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  • James Cable

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