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IV Interaction or Imposition, 34 Diplomacy

Arthur Eyffinger

From: The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Edited By: Bardo Fassbender, Anne Peters

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved. Subscriber: null; date: 08 June 2023

History of international law — Diplomacy and consular relations — Codification

(p. 813) 34  Diplomacy

1.  Introduction

1.1.  Perimeters

Diplomacy, as a keen diplomat observed long ago,1 is an instrument of power. For centuries on end the wielding of power in Europe was based on territory and the wealth this generated. The ownership of land and its buying power was felt to justify the execution of exclusive rights. Notably, it legitimized the ruler's sovereignty and his prerogative to diplomacy and to wage war, that is the continuation of diplomacy by other, forceful, means. For centuries on end, the State was virtually the exclusive holder of these prerogatives. Theoreticians identified the State with the most perfect form of society. The role of diplomacy was the juggling and balancing of the competing interests of these state-champions of autonomy.

Over the past half-century all this has changed dramatically. History has overhauled the premise. As paramount generator of wealth, territory has been replaced by trade and capital markets, and in recent decades by information technology and the tertiary service sector. New competing actors assert their rights in new forums and in forms and processes of ‘diplomatic’ negotiating tailor-made to their specific interests. In a parallel process of social renewal, time-honoured State sovereignty is ideologically being challenged by the concept of universal human rights and, in terms of (p. 814) organization, by a host of international and regional bodies, by global governance and civil society.

As ever, life in its countless complexities has shown little patience with limping tradition. In its restless stride, it has overrun the boundaries of the public and private spheres. International contacts have expanded well beyond inter-state contacts, and these in turn long broken through the perimeters of classical, conventional diplomacy. As we speak, intergovernmental organizations, the spokesmen of civil society (non-governmental organizations, NGOs), and financial and economic institutions have all become global players in the integrated network of overlapping interests that makes up world diplomacy today. They enter into partnerships in debating climate change, biodiversity, preventive diplomacy, or post-conflict peace building. Political challenges by non-state actors have generated new types of conflict. The world's fabric is under reconstruction and humanity in search of new directions and normative guidance.

The above process is as irreversible as its outcome is unpredictable. Is our generation witnessing the end of the Westphalian states system? Are we recapturing the multilayered medieval society, when bankers, guilds, Hanse, and knighthood conversed with kings and emperors? Are we heading for a global ‘civil society’? Or is our age a new transition phase within the system, as when dynastic rule gave way to constitutional rights, and these in turn to parliamentary control? Will the States system absorb all change to valiantly challenge global issues?2

The answers to these penetrating questions lie in the lap of the gods and will not be offered, nor expected, in these pages. Quite the contrary: the above appraisal serves precisely to justify the demarcation of this chapter. Institutionalized diplomacy, that is, the entertaining of international relations in a continuous process and by qualified officials, was the wilful creation of the State, both to express and to protect its sovereignty. This chapter sets out to discuss the full span of that discipline's unchallenged and unimpaired functioning, from its origins at the dawn of the states system until the emergence of the current twilight zone (1450–1950).

1.2.  Diplomacy: A Political Device

The overarching purpose of diplomacy is to protect and further one's interest vis-à-vis foreign actors. It is the assessment of what analysts such as Hobbes or Grotius identified as man's two paramount drives, his urge for self-preservation and his social appetite. All civil society and commerce grew from these drives. Diplomacy, therefore, long preceded documented history.3 The two drives, accordingly, mirror (p. 815) mainstreams of diplomacy, often verified as the warrior type and the merchant type. Throughout history, both types have found expression in endless variety. Early commentators often linked these types to national characters, deeming these in turn determined by climate, region, or size.4 Be this as it may, the pertinence of self-interest puts diplomacy in the political sphere, that is, outside that of moral philosophy.5 Diplomatic practice is conditioned by political power and follows suit wherever it is taken.6

Three complementary elements of old have made up the discipline: representation, negotiation, and the gathering of information, the ‘intelligence’ aspect.7 The proportional weight of these elements is ultimately a matter of contingencies determined by the overall political climate, the strength of relations, and the prevailing type of diplomacy.

1.3.  The Law of Diplomacy

Even if diplomacy, as an executive tool of foreign policy, is at heart a political device, the law has been its steady companion. The law of diplomacy is indeed one of the oldest and most impressive, if admittedly also most complex domains of international law. From time immemorial, it was well understood that the proper functioning of the diplomatic agent had to be wrapped in guarantees and protected by safety valves. In the communications between States definite conventions developed. From it grew a fascinating amalgam of non-binding customs and arrangements, such as courtesy and protocol, along with a distinct set of binding rules of law. At its core are the concepts of immunity and inviolability, aimed at defining the legal rights and duties of the sending and receiving State, with a view to facilitating the envoy's functioning.8 In 1961 this rich tradition, which encapsulates some of humanity's most precious customary law, was comprehensively codified in the much acclaimed and widely applied Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.9

(p. 816) 1.4.  Diplomacy: Its Legislative and Executive Branches

In monitoring international relations, conventional inter-state diplomacy diverges into two distinct branches: the legislative aspect of formulating a policy, and the executive part of policy implementation.10 The legislative aspect is at the discretion of a State's central organ, its administration. The executive part is usually entrusted to a specialized taskforce—in our day and age the foreign ministry and its diplomatic staff—from the well-understood perception that each branch requires specific skills, which do not by definition overlap. As critics have stipulated, precisely the blurring of these two spheres has time and again compromised international relations.

1.5.  The Balancing of Interests

Professional diplomacy boasts distinct techniques and a toolkit that reflects the world's accumulated experience with human nature and the human condition. In effecting its objectives, diplomacy is committed to peaceful means, short of the use of force, if not necessarily towards peaceful ends. Even so, and inasmuch as commerce and trade are held to profit from peace, it is in neutralizing dispute and in balancing and levelling conflicting interests that, historically, diplomacy has consummated its role and effectively served international society. Not by coincidence, Western diplomacy's paramount concept constitutes the theory of the balance of power.11 The concept was familiar to domestic politics from the days of Polybius (c. 150 bc), in analogy to the medical ‘balance of humours’. It was first applied in modern times within the Quattrocento world of Italian city-States.

Following successive bids for world hegemony by Habsburg Spain and Bourbon France, the balance was adopted as the overriding instrument of European policy at Utrecht (1713). It had a special appeal to a world imbued with the thought of Newton and Boyle. Reason and ‘political arithmetic’ suggested a benign political order. In practice, state-actors found the mechanism fairly elusive—and doctrine proved of little help. A balance is by nature easily tipped and a precarious instrument to base durable equilibrium on. Its appliance with a view to freezing change and protecting vested interests hampered the natural flow of society; neither did it serve social justice.12 The peaceful balancing of interests is never easy under the best of circumstances. It never was within a single civilization, and the global interacting of widely diverging traditions from 1850 onwards only exacerbated the challenge.

(p. 817) 1.6.  A Tradition of Secrecy and Elitism

Old prejudices die hard. Diplomacy is often identified with ‘secrecy’ and ‘elitism’. Both objections cut some ice, yet both elements have their justification, the first in substance, and the second in historical circumstance. To politicians the media may be a valuable asset. Bismarck, for one, understood this perfectly well. By adroitly stirring up mass hysteria in the volatile French media, he forced the hand of Napoleon III to have France rashly declare war on Prussia (1870). Diplomats, by contrast, do not seek the limelight of their own accord. Much like courts of law, negotiators can do well without the fickle vox populi. Privacy facilitates freedom of speech and fosters compromise.13 Our world's insistence on all-out openness all too readily discredits the assets of negotiating à huis clos.

A tragic victim of misconception of the role of secrecy and of the different spheres of policy and diplomacy was Woodrow Wilson. On the surge of his Fourteen Points Rule (1918), Wilson sailed to France to make short shrift of ‘European diplomacy of secrecy’. At Versailles he soon found efficient diplomacy hard to chime with democratic control—and ended up in a private study, excluding the vanquished powers, most of his allies, and the press alike. Wilson was not the first to discredit ‘secrecy’ all too rashly. In their zeal to bring down the establishment, all revolutionary movements, from the American and French Revolutions to socialism and communism, bellowed their disdain for conventional diplomacy, only soon to recant. The art of manoeuvring at the conference table is a discipline better left to experts.

2.  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy

2.1.  International Relations: Three Concepts14

Three political concepts have steered European history of international relations: the empire or universal monarchy; the states system; the supranational order. The first and third concepts embodied steadfast, time-honoured ideals; the States system never did. It was the consequence of social crisis and imposed by political necessity, for lack of alternative, and in breach of tradition.

(p. 818) The concept of the universal, hegemonic empire—the dream of the Roman legacy—was the utopian Leitbegriff in Europe up to early modernity. A long forlorn cause ever after the division of Charlemagne's empire (843), the notion was kept alive in the illusory Translatio Imperii; still glorified in Dante's De Monarchia (c. 1300), the ideal faded with time, if reluctantly; the ambition was never quite abandoned.

The concepts of supranational order and international organization can likewise be traced back to (idealist) literature of the early modern period.15 Only towards the end of the 19th century the concept became salonfähig and a factor of acute political interest—then to be implemented, with qualified success, in the 20th century.

The concept of the states system grew from the political and moral bankruptcy of the bipolar medieval power constellation of empire and church in the face of socio-economic renewal at the dawn of the modern nation-state. The concept drew its raison d’être and rationale from forestalling universal hegemony. It was this concept that prompted modern sedentary diplomacy and down the centuries remained its steady companion. This concept, therefore, constitutes the backdrop of our narrative.

2.2.  Resident Envoys and Sedentary Missions

The rise of modern diplomacy is intricately linked to the fascinating world of the Italian Quattrocento.16 Here, way ahead of Europe across the Alps, a fabric of sovereign city-States had emerged that thrived on trade and commerce with the Levant and controlled silk routes and international banking. This world's keen political insights and aspirations were underpinned in the works of shrewd early 16th-century observers like the Florentine Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.

It was a cynical world perhaps, ruled by princes, usurpers, and oligarchs, and a chronically unstable crucible of intrigue and scheming. Still, the common sense of merchant and banker readily perceived the profits to be reaped from levelling powers in equilibrium of peace. Political expansionism and keen commercial rivalry prompted the first modern application of the classical concept of the balance of power.

From that same bedrock sprung the notion of sedentary embassies, and for similar pragmatic reasons. Throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages diplomacy had been episodic, an ad hoc phenomenon spurred by representation at coronation or wedding ceremonies, by acute conflict or the conclusion of treaties and negotiating of alliances. No need for permanency had ever arisen, let alone for a specific functionary (p. 819) with definite qualifications, tasks or status. However, the old formula sufficed no longer for Italian city councils, on which the urgency of reliable intelligence services imposed itself on a daily basis.

Competing expansionism of Florence, Milan, and Venice is credited with having generated the concept of the resident envoy and permanent mission in the 1430s.17 Earlier experience with consuls in the Levant, a tradition launched by Venice as early as 1197, may have suggested the formula. The concept spread quickly—in Italy, that is. By 1460 Savoy had an orator et ambaxiator continuus et procurator in Rome. By 1500 Venice had two merchants as permanent envoys in London.

At first, no need to reciprocate was felt on the northern side of the Alps.18 Not only did the intensity of contacts not yet warrant the step, state machinery had not yet reached that sophistication. Actually, the institution was looked at askance and felt to express hostility rather than friendship: it was tolerated rather than encouraged. Until Francis I, France declined the concept as token of distrust and weakness and positively despised these envoys as sleuths and spies. The juncture, therefore, was not necessarily seen as a paradigm shift by contemporary observers.19 Only with time did the institution became widely accepted. At first, social background and status of the permanent envoys were well below that of the traditional ambassadors, aristocrats in the Herrschernähe.20 Rulers kept entrusting ad hoc embassies to their tried and trusted intimates. The new institution's somewhat questionable antecedents and objectives will have accounted for this.

Titles of sedentary envoys varied widely. Names ran from orator to procurator to legatus to ambaxiator.21 By 1600 Gentili distinguished three classes.22 The ‘corps’ of permanent envoys was motley of different standing. Petrarch, Boccaccio, Macchiavelli, Giucciardini, Jordaens, Rubens—they all served as diplomats. Rome, long the diplomatic epicentre,23 produced the first monograph on the new functionary, Bernard du Rosier's Ambaxiator Brevilogus (1436). In 1490 Ermolao Barbaro published his De Officio Legati in Venice. Only much later Jean Hotman (La charge et la dignité de l’ambassadeur, 1604) and Francis Thynne (The Perfect Ambassador, 1652) followed suit in France and Britain respectively.24

A new era of diplomacy was heralded with the Italian Wars (1494–1559). Habsburg aspirations to absorb the cisalpine commonwealth made France interfere in the Italian power play. Charles VIII's campaigns were vicious affairs. War at the scale here presented was, if not by right, on account of its sheer cost reserved for States only, and (p. 820) well beyond the purse of cities, guilds, or knighthood.25 To curb the Habsburg Empire Charles leaned heavily on his Genovese bankers. It was a historic turn: the ‘pact of necessity’ of State and capital would prove indissoluble.

Peace was only secured by the bankruptcy of the antagonists. France's bare survival determined the course of history against the hegemonic empire, and accelerated the growth towards a system of sovereign States. Diplomacy was scaled up too, in an array of otherwise short-lived leagues that may perhaps count as the opening of a European Balance System.26 The modern State, capitalism, and political interdependence had all assumed new dimensions.

2.3.  The Institutional Framework

From 1550, the exchange of permanent missions and the rise of a professional class of diplomats changed the discipline. Firstly, it generated a diplomatic bureaucracy.27 Chanceries were launched and archives kept of reports, such as of the legendary Relazione of Venetian ambassadors. The Papal Chancery that issued decretals was reputed for its legal expertise. Secondly, diplomacy as ‘intelligence’ gathering generated a network of espionage. The quest for sensitive information made the diplomat's correspondence a keen target for interception. Early records are colourful: dispatches were sent in duplicate, by different routes, or sewn into clothing. Couriers were disguised as merchant or wandering scholar.

Codes and ciphers were ubiquitous.28 Already by 1550 Rome employed a secretary in charge of cipher systems to serve its nuncios.29 The obvious rejoinder was code-breaking by specialized cabinets noirs (Paris) or Black Chambers (London).30 The 16th century produced expert monographs on the issue, like Von Trittenheim's Polygraphia (1516), Della Porta's De furtivis litterarum notis (1563), or De Vigenère's Traité des chiffres (1586). A later benchmark was Antoine Rossignol's Le grand chiffre (c. 1650). It brought about the coming of age of the law of diplomacy.

2.4.  Privileges and Immunities

Until the 15th century, the alpha and omega of the law of diplomacy had been the diplomatic agent's personal inviolability or sacrosanctity. The rise of permanent (p. 821) missions imposed the need for extension of protection to include the envoy's family, household, residence, and correspondence. It would prove a tantalizing conundrum.

The first legal device developed to comprehensively deal with the above issues was the concept of extraterritoriality, first proposed in 1575 by the French lawyer Pierre Ayrault.31 It was abandoned as abusive interpretation led to the claim of so-called franchise de quartier for whole embassy quarters, where contraband and petty crime abounded to the bewilderment of authorities. Another right, precious in the days of religious strife, was impaired by similar deceit: the droit de chapelle. As abuse turned whole embassies into places of asylum, the concept was dropped.

The envoy's personal sacrosanctity lay enshrined in tracts by Bartolus (1354) and Da Legnano (1360). Still, practice was entirely different. Henry VIII had a papal nuncio arrested for spying. Granvelle spent time in prison for displeasing Francis I. The integrity of the discipline, the secrecy surrounding this ‘mystery of State’, and the virtú of these ‘licensed spies’ were widely contested. Suspicion was well founded. Madrid sent envoys to conspire against Elizabeth I and, in 1584, had William of Orange, the charismatic leader of the Dutch Revolt, assassinated.32 British ambassadors intrigued with Huguenots in Paris. The concept of personal immunity remained a vexing issue, until in Grotius’ days (c. 1625) its nature and extent were legally defined. Still, abuse abounded. As late as in 1717 the Swedish ministers in London and The Hague were arrested for sedition. Accepted rules of universal application had to wait till the 20th century.

The two pragmatic grounds for the aristocratic, elitary tradition of diplomacy had been reliability and means. Permanent envoys were often seriously handicapped by irregular and arbitrary payment. Complaints are ubiquitous, and include Grotius himself. Scholars or merchants, when acting as envoys, often found themselves financially left out in the cold, liable to debts and subsequent actions by creditors. From this circumstance grew the concepts of immunities from civil or criminal proceedings.33 Insolvency also made envoys liable to bribes by the host country. Gifts (free lodgings, horses, gold chains) were effective means to corrupt. But then, diplomats had their share of guilt. Through the ages, they mistook exemption from custom duties as licence for smuggling.

The same interplay of theory and practice, claim and abuse applied to diplomatic premises. In the days of the St Bartholemew's Day massacres (1572) French Huguenots took shelter in the Dutch embassy.34 Embassies figured as safe havens for dissidents and were dens of uproar. As a consequence, acceptance of the immunity of (p. 822) premises also was a slow process. To conclude, for centuries on end immunities were arranged on a bilateral and ad hoc basis.

3.  The Westphalian Experience

3.1.  The States System

The Westphalian Peace Conference (1644–48) that put an end to the ideological clash of the Thirty Years War constituted a critical benchmark in the history of European diplomacy. As a diplomatic accomplishment it was an unprecedented tour de force.35 It tremendously enhanced the prestige of the discipline, enlarged its expertise, and refined its techniques and procedures.

The acquiescence of belligerents in the military deadlock and their grudging resignation to come to terms—prompted by exhaustion rather than lofty ideals of peace—was historic in itself. It put an end to one of Europe's most complex eras of crisis. For well over a century, and in a merciless clash of dynastic, national and religious interests, Protestantism had challenged Catholicism; Bourbon and Vasa dynasties had defied Habsburg supremacy, and German nobility had contested imperial centralism.

Westphalia was a watershed: it undid the universal claims of papacy and empire, the dream of a single Christianity, and the last vestiges of overlapping sovereignty on varying titles that were the relics of the medieval world. It embraced the exclusive principle of territorial sovereignty and reserved the prerogative of diplomatic relations for States. Westphalia formally replaced universalism with a society of commonwealths that interacted along shared norms and values embedded in legal precepts of universal application, such as the principle of non-intervention. It accepted—or paid lip-service to—the formal equality of States, thus introducing a horizontal and ideologically clear cut international order: the states system.

Of essence to our discussion, 1648 was a negotiated result that relied on the diplomatic device of the balance, now shouldered by ample reflection and theory. The label of ‘anarchical society’36 along Hobbesian lines does not quite fit this system. Keen political and economic competition was kept in check by sophisticated alliance strategy.

(p. 823) Tolerance did not come easily, or wholeheartedly. It was imposed by necessity, for lack of alternative, upon actors who, within their domestic domain of ‘internal’ sovereignty insisted on absolutism and non-negotiable coercion. Given the endemic strife for hegemony, the states system would require non-stop dialogue and recurrent shifting and rebalancing—from Utrecht 1713 to, most recently, Paris 1990. In this process, historians generally discern three phases: a first period of dynastic policies in the ancien régime (1648–1815), a second phase of congress policies of the Concert that broke down in 1914, finally, the phase of international organization guided by the principle of national self-determination. For three centuries the system checked hegemonic aspirations and curbed anarchy—if amidst serious hiccups. By resolute action and in a purposeful manner diplomats at Westphalia raised the scaffolding of this imposing architecture.

3.2.  The Negotiation Process

With hindsight, and from the point of negotiating policy and techniques, the Peace Congress left a great deal to be desired. Negotiating had not been the parties’ first option anyway. It had taken them years to reach that point. Propositions made by the Vatican in the 1630s and by the emperor around 1640 had been firmly rejected. Informal talks started in 1641 through Danish mediation. Even so, throughout the protracted negotiations (1644–48), delegates delayed proceedings from sheer opportunism, eagerly awaiting decisive action on the battlefield. Deliberations were suppressed each spring awaiting that season's military campaigns.

Political power-play and blackmail were considered perfectly legitimate ways of applying pressure. Rather than welcoming interdependence delegations stressed differences, preferring competition to cooperation. Vehement differences included bloody encounters of staff. Prestige took precedence over substance. The formal opening was delayed six months on account of préséance-issues. Antagonists stood head to head, brandishing sovereignty and honour, not wanting to lose face by the slightest concession. The sheer impossibility of having France, Sweden, and the Vatican share the same conference table imposed two venues: Munster for the Catholic and international issues, Osnabruck for the Protestant parties and the cornered empire.37 Nor was Westphalia a multilateral conference truly. All talks were bilateral, and most were indirect. At Munster the papal nuncio mediated; in Osnabruck, where parties did not accept papal meddling, Venice procured mediation.

The instruments of mediation and good services were not yet legally defined.38 Cherishing hidden agendas, the mediators did not exactly exercise scrupulous (p. 824) neutrality. Even so, they were not to be envied. France risked complete failure by deliberately insulting Venice and persistently undermining the position of the nuncio on account of Rome's political aspirations.

Proceedings were delayed by the lack of mandate of delegations that had to stick to the letter of their instructions. It left no latitude for compromise and made them entirely dependent on slow, often intercepted communications with their home base. On top came the quarrels within delegations. The noblemen or patricians at their head rarely bothered to enter into the debate, a phenomenon described by Juan de Vera's El Ambajador (1620),39 and willingly left technicalities to their assistants. These were mostly lawyers, who, if luminaries in their profession, lacked political genius and were treated with perfect disdain by their superiors. The composition of the French, Swedish, and Dutch delegations reflected friction and clashing interests at home. The overall atmosphere at the conference breathed mistrust and intrigue. With gifts or female charms considered perfectly acceptable instruments to gain influence, bribe and espionage were in the order of the day.

Negotiations at Westphalia may have been fairly rudimentary, delegates proved themselves veritable masters in the subtle art. Negotiation, to be sure, may aim at dispute resolution, but it may also serve as an effective excuse to postpone unwelcome solutions. The process may mislead by hiding problems or introducing doubts. In the international arena of clashing cultures and traditions, negotiating is by definition an unpredictable process that requires versatility and dexterity. Maximizing profit does not always pay; to accept an immediate small loss may well turn out more profitable in the long run.40

An intelligent Dutch observer in French service readily drew his conclusions. In his manual L’ambassadeur et ses fonctions (1681), Abraham de Wicquefort called for the separation of politics and diplomacy, and the recruiting of competent professional diplomats with full mandate to make binding decisions.41

4.  Power Politics

4.1.  Raison d’état

The lust for power is innate to politics and has many faces. Sixteenth-century Habsburg supremacy was based on intermarriage and succession strategies. Seafaring Portuguese, (p. 825) Dutch, and British aspired at colonies to serve their commercial interests. France, the paramount State in Europe after Westphalia, was a continental power. Its calculations were directed at territorial gains.42 By 1630, in its uphill fight to dismantle the Habsburg conglomerate from justified fear of being surrounded, Catholic Louis XIII, in a critical move, broke the deadlock of a century by crossing the borderlines between confessions and join forces with Lutheran Swedes and Calvinist Dutch. In defiance of papal dogma, the Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin even found a willing ally in the Ottoman empire. Henceforward, raison d’état, and nothing else, dictated French policy. It heralded a new era, which revealed Bourbon aspirations at hegemony. Until 1713 the Bourbons aspired to the continent, henceforth they dreamt of the world.

4.2.  ‘Heroic’ Diplomacy

Styles of diplomacy are determined by political objectives. The French Age emphatically presented the ‘heroic’ type. As formulated by Rohan in his De l’interest des princes (1638) this amounted to ‘war by other means’. Hypersensitive to status and honour, it took the slightest concession or penchant to conciliation as token of weakness.

French warrior diplomacy had some distinct success. Never before or after was Europe to such an extent dominated by a single tongue and culture of diplomacy. French replaced Latin as diplomatic language, to hold sway until 1945.43 Still, from the first, French diplomacy of intimidation evoked resentment. The Dutch Stadholder, William III of Orange, who became King in England, spearheaded resistance from The Hague, ‘The Whispering Gallery of Europe’.44 At Utrecht (1713), the European Alliance rallying against French dominance implemented the Balance of Power mechanism.

Amply discussed in literature—from Philippe Duplessis-Mornay's Discours (1584), Paolo Paruta's Discorsi politici (1599), and Giovanni Botero's Relazione (1605), to Alberico Gentili's De jure belli (1612) and Paul de Lisola's Bouclier d’Etat (1667)—the concept had been adroitly applied before.45 Thus 16th-century Venice claimed to balance Valois–Habsburg rivalry. From 1659 Britain reserved for itself the mediating role of ‘tongue’ of the balance. In 1713 the mechanism was first tested as the Charter of Europe in the cauldron of high politics, and as the ‘natural’ antidote to power conflict ‘in the light of reason’. Hegemonic aspirations were abjured as ‘un-European’ and ‘uncivilized’. Optimism at Utrecht was based on its steadfast belief in man's capacity to steer the international ‘machinery’ and monitor collective security.46 The device proved as hazardous in practice as controversial in theory. Critics protested its lack of morality and dynamism. In political reality the equilibrium proved hard to maintain.

(p. 826) 4.3.  Préséance and Prestige47

By 1650 inter-state diplomacy had come of age: a veritable corps diplomatique had sprung up.48 Diplomacy had become the adjunct of an aristocratic elite that enjoyed well-defined privileges and agreed on conventions and etiquette. Embassies were prestigious centres that rivalled in hospitality and patronage of the arts. Hierarchy was strict: after Pope, emperor, and heir-apparent, hereditary monarchs preceded elective ones. These in turn were followed by the republics, proudly headed by Venice and the Dutch. On the oceans, British and Dutch navies keenly contested the first salute and lowering of colours. Among envoys similar hierarchy ruled, the title of ambassador being a precious privilege. Career diplomats, mostly lawyers, were found in junior ranks. Consular posts were bestowed on merchants.49

‘French’ diplomacy was all about representation, infinite ceremonial and elaborate protocol. Status was the essence of being. Diplomats emphatically represented monarchs. To l’état, c’est moi the most modest envoy embodied le roi soleil. An ambassador's entry occasioned public spectacles. Versailles was built to impress. Préséance, ‘the most delicate article of political faith’, was this world's great preoccupation. The signing of treaties, processions, seating orders at banquets, all meetings gave ‘just cause’ for ceremonial war. A medal was struck to immortalize Louis XIV's victory over Spain in a violent clash of coaches in London, one out of many, but one that counted fifty casualties.50 To counter preoccupation with préséance, at the Peace of Ryswyck (1697) the ‘Round Table Conference’ was devised. Publications like Selden's Titles of Honour (1614), Finet's Philoxenis (1656), Howell's Treatise of Ambassadors (1664), or De Wicquefort's L’Ambassadeur et ses fonctions (1681) attest to this culture.51 An interesting publication in this context is the report by Johan Nieuhof of the contacts of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC, Dutch East India Company) with China (Legatio Batavica, 1656).52

4.4.  Professionalism on the Rise

After Utrecht (1713) common sense returned. Ceremonial and préséance became less obsessive, excuse for rivalry was substituted by the quest for consensus. The art of negotiating was refined, witness François de Callières De la manière de négocier avec les souverains (1716) or Antoine Pecquet's Discours sur l’art de négocier (1737).53 Callières (1645–1717), a first-rank diplomat whose signature features on the Peace of (p. 827) Ryswyck, deemed the European States members of the same republic: before turning to arms, nations should exhaust reason and persuasion. He pressed for career diplomats, insisted on integrity,54 and advised against a diplomat's interference in internal affairs.

Hesitantly, Callières’ call for professionalism was complied with. Novelties reflected the changing perspective and growing technicality: the first boundary treaty illustrated by a map (1718);55 the compilation of treaty series such as Léonard's French collection (1435–1690), Leibniz’ Codex juris gentium diplomaticus (1693), or Dumont's impressive European survey (1721).56 In 1701 in Rome a training centre for diplomats was opened, in 1712 a Paris Académie politique. Colbert recruited interpreters, Berlin had its Kabinettsministerium (1733). Still, the secrecy of court diplomacy, such as Louis XV's Secret du Roi (1745), was not conducive to the idea. Sycophancy counted more than technical expertise.57

In a steady process immunities were widened and defined. Bynkershoek's De foro legatorum (1721) and Vattel's Le droit des gens (1758) attest to this progress. As from 1750 precedence was arranged by seniority. At sea the firing of guns for salute replaced the lowering of colours.58 Even so, the Vienna Règlement (1815) that solved endless riddles came as a great relief.

4.5.  The American and French Revolutions

The world of conventional diplomacy was severely upset by the American and French Revolutions. The bid for independence by the British colony (1775–83) was an unprecedented step.59 Its success transplanted the European State model to the Western hemisphere. Still, American revolt was a rejection of the ancien régime, including its diplomacy, in favour of the republican ethos. Jefferson, himself an envoy to France (1801–09), from fear of corruption abjured a diplomatic service.60

The French Revolution (1789–1814) was of a different nature altogether.61 It marked a fundamental change of ideology by a leading European nation in the toppling of a prestigious dynasty. It was a far more radical proposition. The Girondins categorically ruled out relations with other governments, cancelled treaties and abjured all diplomacy as ‘secret’. Thermidor Terror (1794), missionary expansionism (p. 828) and strategic opportunism legged up the military. Napoleon, for all his military genius, proved the archetype of the provocative diplomat.62 His diplomacy was as imperialistic in its bullying as it was dynastic in its nepotism. The turmoil did produce one lasting asset: the nation-state. The concept was widely embraced as a hallmark of identity and cement of cohesion.

5.  The Concert of Europe

5.1.  The Vienna Congress

After Waterloo, repulsion of war and revolutionary ideology was ubiquitous. At the Vienna Congress (1814–15)—the first truly multinational and perhaps most successful major conference in the history of the Westphalian System—the leading powers ‘in the Name of Europe’ devised a Concert System of collective security in Tsar Alexander's Holy Alliance (1815).63 For all its grandiloquence, it was a sensible proposition in view of recent experience. It was conservative in its insistence on order.64 It was pretentious in guaranteeing stability. It even spoke of arrogance in investing on its petit comité the moral authority to monitor the small and deploy forcible intervention. It was also modern in its level-headed acceptance of national differences and in advancing consensus, trust and respect as means to bridge gaps. Yet, critically, Tsar Alexander I, Castlereagh, and Metternich failed to appreciate the durable impact of the revolutionary concept of nationality—and never consulted diplomats.

5.2.  The Vienna Règlement

A historic moment was the adoption, in an Annex to the Congress Act, of the so-called Vienna Règlement (1815).65 A controversial document, the outcome of months of bargaining, and soon amended by the Aix-la-Chapelle Protocol (1818), it marked a first codification of widely diverging national diplomatic custom. It adopted alternation (p. 829) as procedure in signing treaties. Above all, it comprehensively codified the complex ranking of diplomats, to end centuries of conflict.

The Règlement distinguished three classes of agents in order of precedence: ambassadors, envoys and chargés d’affaires. The 1818 Protocol inserted yet another category, that of minister resident, as third in line. The rank of ambassador (‘extraordinary and plenipotentiary’) was strictly reserved for agents between the Great Powers. Envoys, the second rank, also with plenipotentiary powers, headed missions in smaller countries. This was the rank allotted to the majority of diplomats until the Second World War. With the adoption of the principle of equality of States in the UN Charter (1945), most legations were upgraded to embassies. As a consequence, as of 1945, both the second and third ranks virtually eclipsed. The Règlement assigned the highest precedence and the title of dean (doyen) to the most senior diplomat within the corps diplomatique, as determined by date of entrance or presentation of credentials. In Roman Catholic States this role was reserved for the papal nuncio.

5.3.  Merchant Diplomacy

The ‘long’ 19th century (1815–1919) is often presented as the classical period of diplomacy.66 Its great protagonist in the international arena was Britain. British policy changed diplomacy dramatically. It identified its interest with calm and its profit with optimizing conditions for commerce. It steered a businesslike laissez faire policy of adroit bargaining and fair dealing, open to compromise and conciliation. If mistaken for weakness by inveterate ‘heroic’ diplomats at Berlin's Wilhelmstrasse, it proved infinitely more effective than French imperialism. Not accidentally, the century saw long spans of peace, only briefly stirred by the Crimean War (1853–56) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71).

The Great Powers’ insistence on the strictest maintenance of the balance within Europe made powers try their luck at power display outside Europe. Diplomacy followed the tracks of colonialism, still accelerated by industrialization. A striking feature of 19th-century diplomacy, therefore, was its global expansion and cultural diversification. Time and distance have always been crucial to diplomacy.67 The challenges offered by the Digital Age recall those posed by printing press in the 15th century, journals in the 18th, telegraph, steamer, and railway in the 19th, or aircraft in the mid-20th century. In the 19th century, Western diplomatic customs spread worldwide. At first, this was a fairly unilateral process.68 With time, growing sensitivity to (p. 830) non-Western cultures rendered contacts reciprocal. Through standardized training, expert diplomats for specific regions emerged.

5.4.  The Balance Questioned

Modernity did not only bring blessings to diplomacy. Quite the contrary: it seriously affected the social fabric and prompted calls for reform. ‘Vienna’ intended to simplify the complex balance by creating a two-tiered system. By 1815, however, the credibility of the balance as such was seriously undermined. Critics dismissed it as at odds with political reality and as pretext for forceful intervention. Ideologically the concept was challenged from many quarters.69 Each in its way contributed to the uprooting of ancien régime society.

A first challenge voiced the soul of British tradition: the Free Trade ideology of Cobden and Bentham. British Liberals dismissed the balance as a delusion of war-loving monarchs, and discredited diplomacy's secrecy and aristocratic privilege. As Montesquieu before, they relied on the exchange of goods and intellect as incentives to harmony between nations. To have no foreign policy was the best of policies.

On the Continent, more utopian and radical theories verified history with class struggle. They insisted on change in the overthrow of balance, national boundaries and diplomacy alike. In concurring mainstreams of socialism, communism, and anarchism, and whether inspired by Bebel, Marx, or Bakunin, this ‘internationalism’ preached the revolution of the masses, the building blocks of society.

This second, ‘internationalist’ ideology clashed with a third one, every inch as radical, which intriguingly had far greater appeal to the masses: nationalism. Its ideologist, Hegel, identified the Family of Fatherlands with the fulfilment of Europe's destiny to implement world peace. Spread by missionaries like Mazzini and Von Treitschke, this ideology radicalized public opinion.70 Mass media demanded democracy and the breakup of an elitist world of secrecy.71

5.5.  The Supranational Order

And there was more. In Waterloo also lay the roots of the supranational order. In massive reaction to the unprecedented onslaught a peace movement emerged worldwide. Religious and moral concerns in the Mennonite and Quaker traditions merged with utilitarian concepts of liberal sociology and Kantian speculation. Pacifism contested heavy taxation, demanded disarmament and advocated arbitration. It (p. 831) submitted propositions for leagues, codes, and tribunals, actuating a theoretical quest of centuries. Overkill well beyond the ‘necessities of war’ at Balaklava and Gettysburg prompted Lieber Code (1863), and the Red Cross (1864), and Petersburg (1868) Conventions. Within two decades, the ‘Hague’ and ‘Geneva’ branches of humanitarian law were developed: the temperance of war and the care for its victims. In 1874, at Brussels, a first, abortive attempt was made at codification of war on land.

In this process, the pioneering research of two think tanks of legal reform, the Institut de droit international and the International Law Association, (both founded in 1873) was pivotal. For all raving nationalism, these bodies claimed, the true spirit of the age was l’esprit d’internationalité. Humanity went from independence to interdependence, from patriotism to international solidarity. If nationalism served kings and dynasties, internationalism served peoples and democracy; if the first caused polarization, the second inspired cooperation; if the one meant war and barracks, the other peace and wealth. The days of cabinet wars and backroom diplomacy were over. The shared values of all peoples were to be embedded in normative codes of universal appliance expressing humanity's collective conscience. It took a new cataclysm for this ideal to be institutionalized in the League of Nations.

5.6.  The Erosion of a Culture

An immediate, dramatic effect of socio-political change was the erosion of conventional diplomatic culture. Foreign affairs had of old been the prerogative of monarchs. Its officials and diplomats were recruited from the royal entourage, as was felt perfectly justified. Patronage warranted family pedigrees of diplomats all over Europe, such as the Hertslets, Nelidovs or Cambons.72 The diplomatic establishment constituted an international class with definite group consciousness. Raised at Eton, the Vienna Theresianum, or the Petersburg Imperial Lycée, and trained in reputed university corps like the Heidelberg Saxoborussians, these diplomats were steeped in the world of protocol and etiquette, dress codes, proper comportment—and art collecting.73 German-speaking diplomacy thrived on finesses of lineage within Uradel and Briefadel. It was a world in which the creation of international crisis after mid-July, the Spa season, was considered ‘not done’.

For all its conventionalisms, this corps diplomatique breathed distinct cosmopolitanism in its sophisticated linguistic and social fluency. Recently historians have highlighted the cultural connotations of this particular phase of diplomacy.74 The (p. 832) shocking entrance of French Republican ‘bourgeois’ diplomats after 1870 tore this fabric apart. Their commercial links and interests raised suspicion of corruption in this world of—otherwise economically surprisingly well-informed—noblemen.

Inside attempts at streamlining services did not bring much.75 In the end, external pressure for reform and parliamentary control (as complied with in the publication of Blue Books)76 eroded this natural habitat and prerogative of the aristocracy. By 1890, with industrialization and capitalism undermining land-based wealth, this outdated but moderate world gave in to middle-class pressure. In expanding Foreign Offices a new class of expert military, naval, economic and cultural attachés made its entrance.77 The expert bureaucrat replaced the gentleman amateur. It also opened the floodgates to mass politics and frenzied nationalism that would steer Europe towards the abyss.

5.7.  The Hague Peace Conferences78

The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 epitomized the 19th-century diplomatic legacy. They encapsulated all earlier efforts towards law codification, humanitarianism, and the implementation of courts and tribunals. It is trite to downgrade these encounters on account of their few palpable results. For this, there were many reasons, notably the overall climate of distrust that paralyzed European politics after 1870. Yet, the conferences stand out as the first world summits of ‘civilized’ nations (25 in 1899, 44 in 1907 when the Latin-American republics attended) on the vexing political issues of the day. They tell of a global clash of cultures and ideologies, of representatives of absolutist regimes who felt out of their depth in democratic debate, of politicians, diplomats, military men, and legal luminaries uncomfortably crossing swords.

The gaps proved far too wide to be bridged overnight: reactionary Austrian diplomats dismissed lawyers as mere technicians. American and British naval delegates perfectly ridiculed humanitarian concepts. German lawyers summarily dismissed compulsory jurisdiction. Yet after three months of splendid isolation in The Hague woods, these ‘Hundred Chosen’ agreed on the profit reaped from personal encounters and prolonged talks—and easily decided on a sequel. They found out that these meetings, in order to bear fruit, required careful preparation—and acted upon it. In (p. 833) their futile efforts to reach agreement, they noted that the unanimity principle posed a serious obstacle: a single minor power could undo weeks of painstaking labour. In trying to launch a world court they were baffled by the recalcitrant dilemma of representation and election. Legal luminaries stood head to head over whether arbitration was the instrument of peace or of justice. After bitter fights between Great Powers and small, old Powers and new, progress surrendered to the idol of State sovereignty. Yet one agreed on a bottom-line consensus in endorsing the ‘rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience’.79 The accumulated experience of success and setback paid off in the institutionalization of the conference system and international organization after the cataclysm. Intellectually speaking, at The Hague the international era was born.

6.  New Diplomacy and the League

6.1.  The Incompatibility of the Old and New Order

Versailles hailed a new epoch of diplomacy, heralded by the world's new leading nation. Dismissing ‘old diplomacy’, US President Wilson, in his Fourteen Points speech (1918), championed all the assets of Anglo-Saxon liberal internationalism.80 In his moral, legalistic approach Wilson advocated a League of Nations, ‘open covenants openly arrived at’, disarmament, and nationality as criterion for State sovereignty. The League's showpieces were the innovative paradigm of collective security, the world court, and the device of (economic) sanctions to outlaw aggressors. The idol of state sovereignty remained unimpaired, yet the binding force of treaties was conditioned by their registration and publication by the League Secretariat (which incidentally incited secret protocols and side letters). Wilson's brainchild emphatically aspired at moral guidance of its member-States.81

(p. 834) It is trite to put down the failure of the League to Axis Powers and Communism, to leftovers of Versailles, reparation claims, economic depression, and failing financial markets.82 Clearly, Wilson's idealism was lost on the totalitarian regimes of communism, Fascism, and Nazism. In amoral ideology they willfully headed for conflict, as their cynical reply to the idealists’ appeasement policy in the late 1930s pointed out.83

Still, half-heartedness of self-focused democracies likewise affected the credibility and stability of the supranational order. Voting down Wilson's proposition, the US Senate left the historic experiment fatally crippled. It entrusted its interests to Kellogg–Briand Pact (1928) and Saavedra Lamas Treaty (1933), relying on Britain's stewardship of the League. The UK, in two minds and while paying lip-service to Wilson's ideal, never lost sight of the balance, as Locarno (1925) amply demonstrated. Rather than relying on collective security, it entrusted its naval interests to a bilateral treaty with France, thereby obliging French military dominance on the Continent (1928). France, in turn, built its own cordon sanitaire against Germany.

The outcome was a double circuit of parallel and overlapping tracks and institutions.84 The League Council watered down to a political showcase for prime ministers of the Great Powers. Ideological issues were left to the Assembly of small fry that met once a year. Exploiting the Council's antagonism, representatives of smaller nations in the Assembly played the gallery to optimize media exposure. The League was held hostage by the keen rivalry of States within its respective organs. The Secretary-General had his share of in-fighting with nationally recruited officials. A major handicap from the first, therefore, was the incompatibilité d’humeurs of the old and the new order.

6.2.  The Inevitable Failure

Still, with the coming of the League, diplomacy would never be the same. In the inflammable political climate nations soon acknowledged the organization's mediating role. With the rise of technical commissions and the proliferation of legal, social and administrative organs a new class of professional experts in Geneva replaced the old diplomat-in-disrepute. Within twenty years, the experience with international bureaucracy and multilateral conference techniques grew impressively. The codification of international law progressed by leaps and bounces. The merits of the League (p. 835) in the field of humanitarian law, concerning mandates, refugees, and minorities, were impressive by all standards.

The experiment of the League was as imperative as it failure was inevitable. It collapsed from lack of political will and identification with an overarching common interest. Even so, there never was a way back. Substantial ideological progress was made in 1945 when the UN substituted non-committal co-existence with the positive duty for cooperation, and made universal human rights prevail over State sovereignty. This formula turned its Charter into a constitution of mankind—to overrule Westphalia.

6.3.  Summit Diplomacy

For all its pros and cons, new diplomacy was there to stay. Wilson's talks with Clémenceau, Lloyd George, and Orlando opened the era of what Winston Churchill in 1950 called summit diplomacy. The openness and mandate political leaders brought to the conference table accelerated negotiating processes and broke bureaucratic stalemates.

Over the past century, summit diplomacy has become the plaything of politicians. The concept, otherwise, has a long tradition, prior to, and unaffected by sedentary representation. Even so, it has always been controversial. Early commentators like De Commines (1559)85 and Callières (1716) succinctly pointed out the risks of replacing circumspect diplomats by passionate politicians.

Legendary summits like that of Francis I and Henry VIII on the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1520) were presumably of a foremost ceremonial nature.86 Far less innocent, however, was the secret treaty concluded by Wilhelm II and Nicholas II on the Tsar's yacht off Björkoe in 1905. Dictators acting as their own ambassadors often produced devastating results: Napoleon, Stalin, and Hitler are pertinent cases in point. Hitler's meetings with Mussolini and Franco were mere propaganda shams. Still, democratic leaders such as Lloyd George and Churchill likewise favoured personal dialogue, perhaps somewhat overrating the ‘personal chemistry’ and the psychological impact of ceremonial and prestige as incentives to commitment.

Summits profited much from technological progress, air travel and mass media. Yet external influence put aside, its popularity reflects the pretensions of politicians vis-à-vis diplomats—and is eroding a time-honoured profession. Summits involve risks: history tells painful stories of misunderstanding and failure due to linguistic (p. 836) shortcomings or debonair neglect of dossiers.87 Apprehension to lose face leads to vague, non-committal communiqués. The volatility of public opinion has wrecked many careers. Yet politicians become easily addicted to media hype, for electoral gain or to swing political barometers.

The four wartime meetings of Allied Leaders to ward off crisis did much to boost public confidence. Still, Stalin made sure the venues were well within the Soviet sphere of influence.88 Politicians as a rule chose their places of venue with care. Border-rivers have a long history in diplomatic encounter. The Peace of the Pyrenees (1659) between France and Spain was concluded in a pavilion on a border-island in a river featuring separate bridges. Napoleon and Alexander I famously met on a raft in Niemen River near Tilsen (1807).89 Capitals of small, neutral nations, like Switzerland, Belgium, or Norway lend their repute for hosting summits from this consideration. The current reputation of The Hague as ‘judicial capital’ harks back to the peace conferences. Its choice, however, was a last-minute move, actuated by the deadlock between the Great Powers that ruled out major capitals, and the unavailability, for varying reasons, of Geneva, Brussels, and Oslo.

7.  The Codification of Custom

In its Cambridge Regulation (1895) the Institut attained a first, tentative codification of diplomatic tradition. Subsequent benchmarks were the regional Havana Convention (1928) of the Pan-American Union and a Draft Convention drawn up in 1932 by the Harvard Research Project. In 1954 the International Law Commission resumed these efforts. From its endeavours generated the pivotal Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and on Consular Relations (1963).90 Both were eminently timely undertakings given the multiplication of young sovereign States that did not boast diplomatic expertise. Encompassing the world's rich, multifaceted tradition the 1961 Convention on Diplomatic Relations stands out as a gem of legal genius and as one of the most successful accomplishments of codification in the UN Era.91 It (p. 837) eminently combines existing practice with a progressive development of the law on the basis of generally accepted legal principles. As the convention states (article 2), there is no ‘right’ of legation. Diplomatic relations take place by mutual consent: reciprocity is a cardinal feature of tradition.92 Formal prerequisite is mutual recognition—from which otherwise diplomatic relations do not follow automatically. Consent implies the licence by the receiving State to have the sending State execute State functions on its territory, by granting it certain privileges and immunities. These functions include representation, the protection of the mission State's interests, negotiating, information gathering, and the promotion of friendly relations (article 3). The receiving State's paramount duty is the adequate protection of the mission's staff (article 1).

Prerequisite to the sending of the head of mission is this official's acceptance by the receiving State, its agrément and accreditation. Acceptance is at the discretion of the receiving State, which is under no obligation to motivate refusal of a persona non grata (article 4). The same holds for termination procedures: the sending State may notify the receiving State of an official's leave. The host State may without further substantiation notify the sending State its staff member is no longer welcome.

The receiving State pledges not just to grant the mission facilities required for its functioning (within the restrictions of its national security, article 25), but to the best of its abilities protect its premises (article 30) from external interference, intrusion, damage, or impairment of its dignity. This includes immunity from the search of premises or means of transport (article 22) and extends to the mission's archives and correspondence—the diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained (article 27)—and to the agent's private files (article 31).

The convention warrants the personal inviolability of the diplomatic agent (article 29), who shall be treated with due respect, not be liable to arrest or detention and be duly protected from attack. Besides, diplomatic agents enjoy immunity from jurisdiction of local courts, a stipulation that is qualified by their duty to respect the receiving State's laws and regulations (article 41). They shall enjoy immunity from criminal jurisdiction (article 31): found guilty of criminal offence they may be declared unwelcome. The same applies to civil and administrative jurisdiction: here immunity is qualified, but never with respect to official acts. Furthermore, agents are exempt from dues, taxes (articles 23, 34), and custom duties (article 37), or from giving evidence in court (article 31).

Immunities are enjoyed from the moment the agent enters the receiving State or his appointment is notified to its foreign office, to expire upon leave (article 39). (p. 838) Termination of a mission may follow recall, the outbreak of war between the States, or a State's extinction (article 39).

8.  Conclusion

The 1961 Vienna Convention epitomizes the intellectual harvest of millennia of troubled human intercourse. More apposite, it embodies the diplomatic legacy of the Westphalian Era and of half a millennium of State practice. In Vienna, therefore, our narrative finds its natural ending. At the dawn of a new era of infinite challenge and stunning complexity, the convention's acclaim world-wide suggests it may serve as anchor for wandering humanity. In its restraint and tentative guidance it is a beacon of wisdom. Yet none of this can close our eyes to its limitations in dealing with contemporary problems. Many other forms of diplomacy await codification. As incidents over the past fifty years suggest, diplomacy itself is losing some of its aura of immunity. The symbolism of embassies is evaporating, the taboo being broken. There is, in short, ample ground for concern about the future of the discipline. Still, precisely its history presents comfort, more than any convention can. For one thing, history definitely belies diplomacy's reputation of stubborn conservatism. Down the centuries, in coping with perplexing reality, the discipline has shown remarkable resilience and flexibility. And to top it all, the diplomat himself stands out as the true chameleon.

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1  F de Callières De la Manière de Négocier avec les Souverains (Pour la Compagnie Amsterdam 1716).

2  J Black A History of Diplomacy (Reaktion London 2010) at 248–63.

3  ibid 17–22.

4  For an amusing appreciation of the national traditions of diplomacy, see H Nicolson Diplomacy (Thornton Butterworth London 1939) at 127–53.

5  ibid 50.

6  ibid 60 ff.

7  Art 3 of the 1964 Vienna Convention ((signed 18 April 1961, entered into force 24 April 1964) 500 UNTS 95) adds to this the protecting of interests of nationals and, echoing the UN Charter, the explicit promoting of friendly relations.

8  MS Anderson The Rise of Modern Diplomacy 1450–1919 (Longman London 1993) at 24–6; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 62–3.

9  Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (n 7).

10  Diplomacy (n 4) 12–13.

11  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 149–203.

12  An account of early balance systems in A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 20.

13  Diplomacy (n 4) 14.

14  H Spruyt The Sovereign State and Its Competitors. An Analysis of Systems Change (Princeton University Press Princeton 1994).

15  CL Lange Histoire de l’internationalisme (3 vols Aschehoug Kristiana 1919); J Ter Meulen Der Gedanke der internationalen Organization in seiner Entwicklung (3 vols Nijhoff The Hague 1929–40); The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 204–90.

16  Diplomacy (n 4) 26–30; The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 1–40; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 43–6.

17  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 30 assumes a leading role for Milan.

18  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 10.

19  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 47.

20  ibid 26 and 47–8.

21  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 6.

22  A Gentili De jure belli libri tres (1598). See The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 5.

23  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 28–9.

24  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 26–7.

25  cf GP Geoffrey The Military Revolution. Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800 (CUP Cambridge 1988) ch 1; C Tilly Coercion, Capital and European States, ad 990–1990 (Basil Blackwell Cambridge Massachusetts 1990); R Bonney The European Dynastic States 1494–1660 (OUP Oxford 1990).

26  M Sheehan The Balance of Power. History and Theory (Routledge London 1996).

27  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 20–3.

28  ibid 22–3 and 43.

29  ibid 34–5.

30  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 108–9.

31  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 24; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 18; ER Adair The Exterritoriality of Ambassadors in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Longmans London 1929).

32  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 59–60.

33  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 53–5.

34  ibid 53–5.

35  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 66.

36  H Bull The Anarchical Society. A Study of Order in World Politics (2nd edn Macmillan Basingstoke 1988).

37  Cf K Hamilton and R Langhorne (eds) The Practice of Diplomacy (Routledge London 1995) 80.

38  T Princen Intermediaries in International Conflict (Princeton University Press Princeton 1992).

39  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 72.

40  WFG Mastenbroek Negotiate (Basil Blackwell Oxford 1989); FC Iklé How Nations Negotiate (Harper New York NY 1964).

41  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 83 and 112.

42  Diplomacy (n 4) 51–4.

43  ibid 226–33.

44  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 71.

45  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 149–58.

46  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 85–9.

47  Diplomacy (n 4) 178–201; The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 15–20 and 56–68.

48  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 67–8.

49  ibid 74 and 115.

50  ibid 77.

51  ibid 76.

52  ibid 67.

53  ibid 112.

54  An evaluation of the aspects of cunning and integrity in theory from O Maggi De Legato (1596) to J Cambons Le Diplomate (Hachette Paris 1926) in Diplomacy (n 4) 106–12.

55  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 97–8.

56  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 80; The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 94–6.

57  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 73–80 and 90–1; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 100, 107, and 113.

58  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 68.

59  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 127–31.

60  ibid 119.

61  ibid 131–44.

62  ibid 140–4.

63  Classical studies are H Nicolson The Congress of Vienna. A Study in Allied Unity, 1812–1822 (Constable London 1946); P Schroeder The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848 (Clarendon Press Oxford 1994).

64  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 144–50.

65  Congress of Vienna, Final Act (1815) 64 CTS 453 annex 17; Diplomacy (n 4) 31–3; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 153–4.

66  Seen from the Western perspective, that is. A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 152.

67  ibid 95–8 on early European conditions.

68  ibid 158. On the varying response in China, Japan and Korea see A Eyffinger ‘Caught between Tradition and Modernity; East Asia at The Hague Peace Conferences’ (2008) 1 Journal of East Asian and International Law 1–48.

69  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 189–96.

70  ibid 136–41.

71  ibid 142–8.

72  ibid 120.

73  A tradition of long standing. A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 70.

74  TG Otte ‘ “Outdoor Relief for the Aristocracy”? European Nobility and Diplomacy, 1850–1914’ in M Mösslang and T Riotte (eds) The Diplomats’ World. A Cultural History of Diplomacy, 1815–1914 (OUP Oxford 2008) 23–57.

75  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 110–28.

76  ibid 114.

77  ibid 129–36; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 171–2.

78  J Dülffer Regeln gegen den Krieg? Die Haager Friedens-Konferenzen 1899 und 1907 in der internationalen Politik (Ullstein Berlin 1981); A Eyffinger The 1899 Hague Peace Conference:‘The Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World’ (Kluwer Dordrecht 1999); A Eyffinger The 1907 Hague Peace Conference: ‘The Conscience of the Civilized World’ (Judicap The Hague 2007).

79  Cf the preamble of the Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its Annex: Regulation concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land (signed 18 October 1907, entered into force 26 January 1910) (1910) 187 CTS 227 (‘1907 Hague Convention IV’).

80  G Kennan American Diplomacy (University Chicago Press Chicago 1984); KA Clements The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson (University Press Kansas State Lawrence Kansas 1992); MW Janis America and the Law of Nations 1776–1939 (OUP Oxford 2010) 167–75. On the pitfalls of ‘public diplomacy’ see Diplomacy (n 4) 84–103; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 188–9.

81  Wartime propositions for a league in The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 280–7.

82  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 201–4.

83  ibid 192–4.

84  J Kaufmann Conference Diplomacy (Macmillan London 1996).

85  J Bastin (ed) Les mémoires de Philippe de Commynes (Bruxelles 1944).

86  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 10; A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 24 and 53.

87  R Cohen Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy (US Institute of Peace Washington DC 1997).

88  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 209.

89  The Rise of Modern Diplomacy (n 8) 10 for more instances.

90  Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (signed 24 April 1963, entered into force 19 March 1967) 596 UNTS 261.

91  E Denza Diplomatic Law: Commentary on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (3rd edn OUP Oxford 2008); M Hardy Modern Diplomatic Law (Manchester University Press Manchester 1968); I Brownlie Principles of Public International Law (7th edn OUP Oxford 2008) ch 17; GV McClanahan Diplomatic Immunity, Principles, Practices, Problems (Hurst London 1989).

92  A History of Diplomacy (n 2) 68–9.