Diplomacy pp 27-43 | Cite as


  • G. R. Berridge


Prenegotiations, despite their misleading name, are the first stage of negotiations. Perhaps more readily understood by the term ‘talks about talks’, their job is to establish that substantive, around-the-table negotiations are worthwhile, and then to agree the agenda and the necessary procedures for tackling it. In bilateral relationships, these discussions are usually informal and well out of the public gaze. However, in multilateral diplomacy where the parties are more numerous and procedure more complex, a good part of the prenegotiations might be both formal and well-advertised. For example, the substantive stage of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which had 35 participating states and culminated in the Helsinki Final Act in 1975, was preceded by nine months of ‘Multilateral Preparatory Talks’ that produced a ‘Blue Book’ containing their recommendations (Alexander: 29–34).


Middle East World Trade Organization Agenda Item South African Government Multilateral Negotiation 
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Further reading

  1. Alexander, Michael, Managing the Cold War: A view from the front line, ed. and introduced by Keith Hamilton (RUSI: London, 2005): 29–34.Google Scholar
  2. Ashrawi, Hanan, This Side of Peace: A personal account (Simon & Schuster: New York/London, 1995).Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, R., Negotiating across Cultures, 2nd edn (US Institute of Peace Press: Washington, 1997): 67–82.Google Scholar
  4. Corbacho, Alejandro Luis, ‘Prenegotiation and Mediation: The Anglo-Argentine diplomacy after the Falklands/Malvinas War (1983–1989)’, CEMA Working Papers from Universidad del CEMA, 269.Google Scholar
  5. Cradock, P., Experiences of China (John Murray: London, 1994): chs 16–18.Google Scholar
  6. Gross-Stein, J. (ed.), Getting to the Table: The process of international pre-negotiation (Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1989).Google Scholar
  7. Hampson, Fen Osler, with Michael Hart, Multilateral Negotiations: Lessons from arms control, trade and the environment (Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 1995).Google Scholar
  8. Kazuo, Ogura, ‘How the “inscrutables” negotiate with the “inscrutables”: Chinese negotiating tactics vis-à-vis the Japanese’, China Quarterly, 79, September 1979: 535–7, 541–2, on agendas.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Patten, Chris, East and West: The last governor of Hong Kong on power, freedom and the future (Pan Books: London, 1999): 73–4.Google Scholar
  10. Quandt, W. B., Camp David: Peacemaking and politics (Brookings Institution: Washington, 1986): chs 3–7.Google Scholar
  11. Saunders, H., ‘We need a larger theory of negotiation: the importance of prene-gotiating phases’, Negotiation Journal, 1, 1985.Google Scholar
  12. Young, Kenneth T., Negotiating with the Chinese Communists: The United States experience, 1953–1967 (McGraw-Hill: New York, 1968): ch. 15.Google Scholar
  13. Zartman, I. W. and M. Berman, The Practical Negotiator (Yale University Press: New Haven/London, 1982): ch. 3.Google Scholar

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© G. R. Berridge 2010

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  • G. R. Berridge

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