Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to
international relations#REDIRECT International relations#REDIRECT International relations {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
carried out through the intercession of professional diplomats with regard to a variety of issues and topics.Ronald Peter Barston, ''Modern diplomacy'', Pearson Education, 2006, p. 1 Diplomacy is the main instrument of
foreign policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its website, and in six print issues annually. ''Foreign Polic ...
, which represents the broader goals and strategies that guide a state's interactions with the rest of the world. International
treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other leg ...
, agreements, alliances, and other manifestations of foreign policy are usually the result of diplomatic negotiations and processes. Diplomats may also help shape a state's foreign policy by advising government officials. Modern diplomatic methods, practices, and principles originated largely from 17th century European custom. Beginning in the early 20th century, diplomacy became professionalized; the 1961
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform t ...

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
, ratified by most of the world's sovereign states, provides a framework for diplomatic procedures, methods, and conduct. Most diplomacy is now conducted by accredited officials, such as envoys and
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sov ...
s, through a dedicated foreign affairs office. Diplomats operate through
diplomatic missions A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state or an organization present in another state to represent the sending state or organization officially in the receiving state. In practice, the phrase ''diplomatic mis ...
, most commonly
consulates The consulate is a diplomatic mission, the office of a consul and is usually subordinate to the state's main representation in the capital of that foreign country (host state), usually an ''embassy'' or – between Commonwealth countries – ' ...
embassies A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from one state or an organization present in another state to represent the sending state or organization officially in the receiving state. In practice, the phrase ''diplomatic mis ...
, and rely on a number of support staff; term diplomat is thus sometimes applied broadly to diplomatic and consular personnel and foreign ministry officials.


The term ''diplomacy'' is derived from the 18th century French term ''diplomate'' (“diplomat” or “diplomatist”), based on the ancient Greek ''diplōma'', which roughly means “an object folded in two". This reflected the practice of sovereigns providing a folded document to confer some sort of official privilege; prior to invention of the envelope, folding a document served to protect the privacy of its contents. The term was later applied to all official documents, such as those containing agreements between governments, and thus became identified with international relations.


Western Asia

Some of the earliest known diplomatic records are the
Amarna letters#REDIRECT Amarna letters#REDIRECT Amarna letters {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
written between the pharaohs of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt and the Amurru rulers of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he|כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib|Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Greek Old Testament spells the ...

during the 14th century BCE. Peace treaties were concluded between the
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar|بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc|Μεσοποταμία; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a historical region of Western Asia situated withi ...
n city-states of
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), or Shirpurla, was an ancient city state located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah, Iraq. Lagash (modern ...
Umma 260px|Location of the city of Umma in Sumer Umma ( sux| ; modern ''Umm al-Aqarib'', Dhi Qar Province in Iraq, formerly also called Gishban) was an ancient city in Sumer. There is some scholarly debate about the Sumerian and Akkadian names for ...
around approximately 2100 BCE. Following the
Battle of Kadesh The Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the New Kingdom of Egypt under Ramesses II and the Hittite Empire under Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh on the Orontes River, just upstream of Lake Homs near the modern ...
in 1274 BC during the Nineteenth dynasty, the pharaoh of Egypt and the ruler of the
Hittite Empire The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing an empire centered on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around 1680–1650 BCE. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Šuppiluli ...

Hittite Empire
created one of the first known international peace treaties, which survives in stone tablet fragments, now generally called the
Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty The Egyptian–Hittite peace treaty, also known as the Eternal Treaty or the Silver Treaty, is the only Ancient Near Eastern treaty for which the versions of both sides have survived. It is also the earliest known surviving peace treaty. It is some ...
. The ancient Greek city-states on some occasions dispatched envoys to negotiate specific issues, such as war and peace or commercial relations, but did not have diplomatic representatives regularly posted in each other's territory. However, some of the functions given to modern diplomatic representatives were fulfilled by a ''
proxenos Proxeny or ( grc-gre|προξενία) in ancient Greece was an arrangement whereby a citizen (chosen by the city) hosted foreign ambassadors at his own expense, in return for honorary titles from the state. The citizen was called (; plural: or ...
'', a citizen of the host city who had friendly relations with another city, often through familial ties. In times of peace, diplomacy was even conducted with non-Hellenistic rivals such as the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo|𐎧𐏁𐏂|translit=Xšāça|translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the B ...

Achaemenid Empire
of Persia, through it was ultimately conquered by
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre|Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus'') of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. ...
of Macedon. Alexander was also adept at diplomacy, realizing that the conquest of foreign cultures were be better achieved by having his Macedonian and Greek subjects intermingle and intermarry with native populations. For instance, Alexander took as his wife a
Sogdia Sogdia () (Sogdian: soɣd) or Sogdiana was an ancient Iranian civilization that at different times included territory located in present-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, such as Samarkand, Bukhara, Khujand, Panjikent, and ...
n woman of
Bactria Bactria (Bactrian: , ), or Bactriana, was an ancient region in Central Asia. Bactria proper was north of the Hindu Kush mountain range and south of the Amu Darya river, covering the flat region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan. More broadly ...
Roxana Roxana ( grc|Ῥωξάνη; Old Iranian: ''*Raṷxšnā-'' "shining, radiant, brilliant"; sometimes Roxanne, Roxanna, Rukhsana, Roxandra and Roxane) was a Sogdian or a Bactrian princess whom the Macedonian king, Alexander the Great, married, afte ...
, after the siege of the
Sogdian Rock The Sogdian Rock or Rock of Ariamazes, a fortress located north of Bactria in Sogdiana (near Samarkand), ruled by Arimazes, was captured by the forces of Alexander the Great in the early spring of 327 BC as part of his conquest of the Achaemenid Em ...
, in order to placate the rebelling populace. Diplomacy remained a necessary tool of statecraft for the great
Hellenistic states The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic Egyp ...
that succeeded Alexander's empire, such as the
Ptolemaic Kingdom#REDIRECT Ptolemaic Kingdom#REDIRECT Ptolemaic Kingdom {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc|Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Hellenistic state in Western Asia that existed from 312 BC to 63 BC. It was founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of t ...
, which fought several wars in the Near East and often negotiated peace treaties through
marriage alliancesA marriage of state is a diplomatic marriage or union between two members of different nation-states or internally, between two power blocs, usually in authoritarian societies and is a practice which dates back into ancient times, as far back as earl ...

Ottoman Empire

Relations with the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ota|دولت عليه عثمانيه ', literally "The Sublime Ottoman State"; Modern Turkish: ' or '; french: Empire ottoman) (''Osmanean Têrut´iwn'', meaning "Ottoman Authority/Governance/Rule"), Օսմանյան պ ...

Ottoman Empire
were particularly important to Italian states, to which the Ottoman government was known as the
Sublime Porte , was known as the Sublime Porte until the 18th century. Image:DSC04009 Istanbul - La Sublime Porta - Foto G. Dall'Orto 25-5-2006.jpg|300px|The later Sublime Porte proper in 2006 The Sublime Porte, also known as the Ottoman Porte or High Porte ( o ...
.Goffman, Daniel. "Negotiating with the Renaissance State: The Ottoman Empire and the New Diplomacy." In The Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire. Eds. Virginia Aksan and Daniel Goffman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 61–74. The
maritime republics The maritime republics ( it|repubbliche marinare) of the Mediterranean Basin were thalassocratic city-states in Italy and Dalmatia during the Middle Ages. The best known among them were Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi; less known, but not always ...
Genoa Genoa ( ; it|Genova ; lij|Zêna ; English, historically, and la|Genua) is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits. As of the 2011 I ...
Venice Venice ( ; it|Venezia ; vec|Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is built on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are ...
depended less and less upon their nautical capabilities, and more and more upon the perpetuation of good relations with the Ottomans. Interactions between various merchants, diplomats and clergymen hailing from the Italian and Ottoman empires helped inaugurate and create new forms of diplomacy and statecraft. Eventually the primary purpose of a diplomat, which was originally a negotiator, evolved into a persona that represented an autonomous state in all aspects of political affairs. It became evident that all other sovereigns felt the need to accommodate themselves diplomatically, due to the emergence of the powerful political environment of the Ottoman Empire. One could come to the conclusion that the atmosphere of diplomacy within the early modern period revolved around a foundation of conformity to Ottoman culture.

East Asia

One of the earliest realists in
international relations theory International relations theory is the study of international relations (IR) from a theoretical perspective. It seeks to explain causal and constitutive effects in international politics. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories as act ...
was the 6th century BC military strategist
Sun Tzu Sun Tzu ( ; zh|t=孫子|p=Sūnzǐ) was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of ''The Art of War'', an influentia ...
(d. 496 BC), author of ''
The Art of War ''The Art of War'' is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the Late Spring and Autumn Period (roughly 5th century BC). The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu ("Master Sun", also spelled Su ...
''. He lived during a time in which rival states were starting to pay less attention to traditional respects of tutelage to the
Zhou Dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history (790 years). The military control of China by the royal house, surn ...
(c. 1050–256 BC) figurehead monarchs while each vied for power and total conquest. However, a great deal of diplomacy in establishing allies, bartering land, and signing peace treaties was necessary for each warring state, and the idealized role of the "persuader/diplomat" developed. From the
Battle of Baideng The Battle of Baideng (白登之戰) was a military conflict between Han China and the Xiongnu in 200 BC. Han Dynasty of China invaded the territory of the Xiongnu in 200 BC attempting to subjugate them. However the Xiongnu united their forces under ...
(200 BC) to the
Battle of Mayi The Battle of Mayi (), also known as the Scheme of Mayi (馬邑之謀) or the Encirclement at Mayi (馬邑之圍), was an abortive ambush operation by the Han dynasty against the invading Xiongnu forces led by Junchen Chanyu, with minimal casualti ...
(133 BC), the
Han Dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) and a warring interregnum known a ...
was forced to uphold a marriage alliance and pay an exorbitant amount of tribute (in silk, cloth, grain, and other foodstuffs) to the powerful northern nomadic [[Xiongnu that had been consolidated by [[Modu Shanyu. After the Xiongnu sent word to [[Emperor Wen of Han (r. 180–157) that they controlled areas stretching from [[Manchuria to the [[Tarim Basin oasis city-states, a treaty was drafted in 162 BC proclaiming that everything north of the [[Great Wall of China|Great Wall belong to nomads' lands, while everything south of it would be reserved for [[Han Chinese. The treaty was renewed no less than nine times, but did not restrain some Xiongnu ''[[tuqi'' from raiding Han borders. That was until the far-flung campaigns of [[Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141–87 BC) which shattered the unity of the Xiongnu and allowed Han to conquer the [[Western Regions; under Wu, in 104 BC the Han armies ventured as far [[Fergana in [[Central Asia to battle the [[Yuezhi who had conquered [[Hellenistic|Hellenistic Greek areas. The [[Koreans and [[Japanese during the Chinese [[Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD) looked to the Chinese capital of [[Chang'an as the hub of civilization and emulated its central bureaucracy as the model of governance. The Japanese sent frequent embassies to China in this period, although they halted these trips in 894 when the Tang seemed on the brink of collapse. After the devastating [[An Shi Rebellion from 755 to 763, the Tang Dynasty was in no position to reconquer [[Central Asia and the [[Tarim Basin. After several conflicts with the [[Tibetan Kingdom|Tibetan Empire spanning several different decades, the Tang finally made a truce and signed a peace treaty with them in 841. In the 11th century during the [[Song Dynasty (960–1279), there were cunning ambassadors such as [[Shen Kuo and [[Su Song who achieved diplomatic success with the [[Liao Dynasty, the often hostile [[Khitan people|Khitan neighbor to the north. Both diplomats secured the rightful borders of the Song Dynasty through knowledge of [[cartography and dredging up old court archives. There was also a triad of warfare and diplomacy between these two states and the [[Tangut people|Tangut [[Western Xia Dynasty to the northwest of Song China (centered in modern-day [[Shaanxi). After warring with the [[Lý Dynasty of [[Vietnam from 1075 to 1077, Song and Lý [[History of the Song Dynasty#Relations with Lý of Vietnam and border conflict|made a peace agreement in 1082 to exchange the respective lands they had captured from each other during the war. Long before the Tang and Song dynasties, the Chinese had sent envoys into [[Central Asia, [[India, and [[Persia, starting with [[Zhang Qian in the 2nd century BC. Another notable event in Chinese diplomacy was the Chinese embassy mission of [[Zhou Daguan to the [[Khmer Empire of [[Cambodia in the 13th century. Chinese diplomacy was a necessity in the distinctive period of [[Chinese exploration. Since the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), the Chinese also became heavily invested in sending diplomatic envoys abroad on [[Sailing|maritime missions into the [[Indian Ocean, to India, Persia, [[Arabia, [[East Africa, and [[Egypt. Chinese maritime activity was increased dramatically during the commercialized period of the Song Dynasty, with new nautical technologies, many more private ship owners, and an increasing amount of economic investors in overseas ventures. During the [[Mongol Empire (1206–1294) the Mongols created something similar to today's diplomatic passport called ''paiza''. The paiza were in three different types (golden, silver, and copper) depending on the envoy's level of importance. With the paiza, there came authority that the envoy can ask for food, transport, place to stay from any city, village, or clan within the empire with no difficulties. From the 17th century the [[Qing Dynasty concluded a series of treaties with [[Czarist [[Russia, beginning with the [[Treaty of Nerchinsk in the year 1689. This was followed up by the [[Aigun Treaty and the [[Convention of Peking in the mid-19th century. As European power spread around the world in the 18th and 19th centuries so too did its diplomatic model, and Asian countries adopted syncretic or European diplomatic systems. For example, as part of diplomatic negotiations with the West over control of land and trade in China in the 19th century after the [[First Opium War, the Chinese diplomat [[Keying (official)|Qiying gifted intimate portraits of himself to representatives from Italy, England, the United States, and France.

Ancient India

[[History of India|Ancient India, with its kingdoms and dynasties, had a long tradition of diplomacy. The oldest treatise on statecraft and diplomacy, ''[[Arthashastra'', is attributed to [[Kautilya (also known as [[Chanakya), who was the principal adviser to [[Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the [[Maurya dynasty who ruled in the 3rd century BC. It incorporates a theory of diplomacy, of how in a situation of mutually contesting kingdoms, the wise king builds alliances and tries to checkmate his adversaries. The envoys sent at the time to the courts of other kingdoms tended to reside for extended periods of time, and ''Arthashastra'' contains advice on the deportment of the envoy, including the trenchant suggestion that 'he should sleep alone'. The highest morality for the king is that his kingdom should prosper. New analysis of Arthashastra brings out that hidden inside the 6,000 aphorisms of prose (sutras) are pioneering political and philosophic concepts. It covers the internal and external spheres of statecraft, politics and administration. The normative element is the political unification of the geopolitical and cultural subcontinent of India. This work comprehensively studies state governance; it urges non-injury to living creatures, or malice, as well as compassion, forbearance, truthfulness, and uprightness. It presents a rajmandala (grouping of states), a model that places the home state surrounded by twelve competing entities which can either be potential adversaries or latent allies, depending on how relations with them are managed. This is the essence of realpolitik. It also offers four upaya (policy approaches): conciliation, gifts, rupture or dissent, and force. It counsels that war is the last resort, as its outcome is always uncertain. This is the first expression of the raison d’etat doctrine, as also of humanitarian law; that conquered people must be treated fairly, and assimilated.


Byzantine Empire

The key challenge to the Byzantine Empire was to maintain a set of relations between itself and its sundry neighbors, including the [[Georgians, [[Caucasian Iberians|Iberians, the [[Germanic peoples, the [[Bulgars, the [[Slavs, the [[Armenians, the [[Huns, the [[Avars (Carpathians)|Avars, the [[Franks, the [[Lombards, and the [[Arabs, that embodied and so maintained its imperial status. All these neighbors lacked a key resource that Byzantium had taken over from Rome, namely a formalized legal structure. When they set about forging formal political institutions, they were dependent on the empire. Whereas classical writers are fond of making a sharp distinction between peace and war, for the Byzantines diplomacy was a form of war by other means. With a regular army of 120,000-140,000 men after the losses of the seventh century, the empire's security depended on activist diplomacy.Byzantium's "[[Bureau of Barbarians" was the first foreign intelligence agency, gathering information on the empire's rivals from every imaginable source. While on the surface a protocol office—its main duty was to ensure foreign envoys were properly cared for and received sufficient state funds for their maintenance, and it kept all the official translators—it clearly had a security function as well. ''On Strategy'', from the 6th century, offers advice about foreign embassies: "[Envoys] who are sent to us should be received honourably and generously, for everyone holds envoys in high esteem. Their attendants, however, should be kept under surveillance to keep them from obtaining any information by asking questions of our people."

Medieval and Early Modern Europe

In Europe, early modern diplomacy's origins are often traced to the states of [[Northern Italy in the early [[Renaissance, with the first embassies being established in the 13th century. [[Milan played a leading role, especially under [[Francesco Sforza who established permanent embassies to the other city states of Northern Italy. [[Tuscany and [[Venice were also flourishing centres of diplomacy from the 14th century onwards. It was in the [[Italian Peninsula that many of the traditions of modern diplomacy began, such as the presentation of an ambassador's credentials to the [[head of state.

Rules of modern diplomacy

From Italy, the practice was spread across Europe. Milan was the first to send a representative to the court of France in 1455. However, Milan refused to host French representatives, fearing they would conduct espionage and intervene in its internal affairs. As foreign powers such as France and [[Spain became increasingly involved in Italian politics the need to accept emissaries was recognized. Soon the major European powers were exchanging representatives. Spain was the first to send a permanent representative; it appointed an ambassador to the [[Court of St. James's (i.e. England) in 1487. By the late 16th century, permanent missions became customary. The [[Holy Roman Emperor, however, did not regularly send permanent legates, as they could not represent the interests of all the German princes (who were in theory all subordinate to the Emperor, but in practice each independent). In 1500-1700 rules of modern diplomacy were further developed. French replaced Latin from about 1715. The top rank of representatives was an
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sov ...
. At that time an ambassador was a nobleman, the rank of the noble assigned varying with the prestige of the country he was delegated to. Strict standards developed for ambassadors, requiring they have large residences, host lavish parties, and play an important role in the court life of their host nation. In Rome, the most prized posting for a Catholic ambassador, the French and Spanish representatives would have a retinue of up to a hundred. Even in smaller posts, ambassadors were very expensive. Smaller states would send and receive envoys, who were a rung below ambassador. Somewhere between the two was the position of [[minister plenipotentiary. Diplomacy was a complex affair, even more so than now. The ambassadors from each state were ranked by complex levels of precedence that were much disputed. States were normally ranked by the title of the sovereign; for Catholic nations the emissary from the [[Holy See|Vatican was paramount, then those from the [[Monarchy|kingdoms, then those from [[Duchy|duchies and [[Principality|principalities. Representatives from [[republics were ranked the lowest (which often angered the leaders of the numerous German, Scandinavian and Italian republics). Determining precedence between two kingdoms depended on a number of factors that often fluctuated, leading to near-constant squabbling. Ambassadors were often nobles with little foreign experience and no expectation of a career in diplomacy. They were supported by their embassy staff. These professionals would be sent on longer assignments and would be far more knowledgeable than the higher-ranking officials about the host country. Embassy staff would include a wide range of employees, including some dedicated to espionage. The need for skilled individuals to staff embassies was met by the graduates of universities, and this led to a great increase in the study of [[international law, French, and history at universities throughout Europe. At the same time, permanent foreign ministries began to be established in almost all European states to coordinate embassies and their staffs. These ministries were still far from their modern form, and many of them had extraneous internal responsibilities. Britain had two departments with frequently overlapping powers until 1782. They were also far smaller than they are currently. France, which boasted the largest foreign affairs department, had only some 70 full-time employees in the 1780s. The elements of modern diplomacy slowly spread to [[Eastern Europe and [[Russia, arriving by the early 18th century. The entire edifice would be greatly disrupted by the [[French Revolution and the subsequent years of warfare. The revolution would see commoners take over the diplomacy of the French state, and of those conquered by revolutionary armies. Ranks of precedence were abolished. [[Napoleon also refused to acknowledge diplomatic immunity, imprisoning several British diplomats accused of scheming against France. After the fall of Napoleon, the [[Congress of Vienna of 1815 established an international system of [[diplomatic rank. Disputes on precedence among nations (and therefore the appropriate diplomatic ranks used) were first addressed at the [[Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818)#Diplomacy|Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, but persisted for over a century until after [[World War II, when the rank of
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sov ...
became the norm. In between that time, figures such as the German Chancellor [[Otto von Bismarck were renowned for international diplomacy. Diplomats and historians often refer to a foreign ministry by its address: the Ballhausplatz (Vienna), the Quai d’Orsay (Paris), the Wilhelmstraße (Berlin); and Foggy Bottom (Washington). For imperial Russia until 1917 it was the Choristers’ Bridge (St Petersburg), while "Consulta" referred to the Italian ministry of Foreign Affairs, based in the [[Palazzo della Consulta from 1874 to 1922.

Diplomatic immunity

The sanctity of diplomats has long been observed, underpinning the modern concept of [[diplomatic immunity. While there have been a number of cases where diplomats have been killed, this is normally viewed as a great breach of honour. [[Genghis Khan and the [[Mongols were well known for strongly insisting on the rights of diplomats, and they would often wreak horrific vengeance against any state that violated these rights. Diplomatic rights were established in the mid-17th century in Europe and have spread throughout the world. These rights were formalized by the 1961
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform t ...

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
, which protects diplomats from being persecuted or [[prosecuted while on a diplomatic mission. If a diplomat does commit a serious crime while in a host country he or she may be declared as [[persona non grata (unwanted person). Such diplomats are then often tried for the crime in their homeland. Diplomatic communications are also viewed as sacrosanct, and diplomats have long been allowed to carry documents across borders without being searched. The mechanism for this is the so-called "[[diplomatic bag" (or, in some countries, the "diplomatic pouch"). While radio and digital communication have become more standard for embassies, diplomatic pouches are still quite common and some countries, including the United States, declare entire shipping containers as diplomatic pouches to bring sensitive material (often building supplies) into a country. In times of hostility, diplomats are often withdrawn for reasons of personal safety, as well as in some cases when the host country is friendly but there is a perceived threat from internal dissidents. Ambassadors and other diplomats are sometimes recalled temporarily by their home countries as a way to express displeasure with the host country. In both cases, lower-level employees still remain to actually do the business of diplomacy.


Diplomacy is closely linked to espionage or gathering of intelligence. Embassies are bases for both diplomats and spies, and some diplomats are essentially openly acknowledged spies. For instance, the job of [[military attachés includes learning as much as possible about the military of the nation to which they are assigned. They do not try to hide this role and, as such, are only invited to events allowed by their hosts, such as military parades or [[air shows. There are also deep-cover spies operating in many embassies. These individuals are given fake positions at the embassy, but their main task is to illegally gather intelligence, usually by coordinating spy rings of locals or other spies. For the most part, spies operating out of embassies gather little intelligence themselves and their identities tend to be known by the opposition. If discovered, these diplomats can be expelled from an embassy, but for the most part [[counter-intelligence agencies prefer to keep these agents ''in situ'' and under close monitoring. The information gathered by spies plays an increasingly important role in diplomacy. Arms-control treaties would be impossible without the power of [[reconnaissance satellites and agents to monitor compliance. Information gleaned from espionage is useful in almost all forms of diplomacy, everything from trade agreements to border disputes.

Diplomatic resolution of problems

Various processes and procedures have evolved over time for handling diplomatic issues and disputes.

Arbitration and mediation

Nations sometimes resort to [[international arbitration when faced with a specific question or point of contention in need of resolution. For most of history, there were no official or formal procedures for such proceedings. They were generally accepted to abide by general principles and protocols related to [[international law and justice. Sometimes these took the form of formal arbitrations and mediations. In such cases a commission of diplomats might be convened to hear all sides of an issue, and to come some sort of ruling based on international law. In the modern era, much of this work is often carried out by the [[International Court of Justice at [[The Hague, or other formal commissions, agencies and tribunals, working under the [[United Nations. Below are some examples. * [[Hay-Herbert Treaty Enacted after the United States and Britain submitted a dispute to international mediation about the [[Canada–United States border|Canada–US border.


Other times, resolutions were sought through the convening of international conferences. In such cases, there are fewer ground rules, and fewer formal applications of international law. However, participants are expected to guide themselves through principles of international fairness, logic, and protocol. Some examples of these formal conferences are: * [[Congress of Vienna (1815) – After [[Napoleon was defeated, there were many diplomatic questions waiting to be resolved. This included the shape of the political map of [[Europe, the disposition of political and [[nationalism|nationalist claims of various ethnic groups and nationalities wishing to have some political autonomy, and the resolution of various claims by various European powers. * The [[Congress of Berlin (June 13 – July 13, 1878) was a meeting of the European Great Powers' and the Ottoman Empire's leading statesmen in Berlin in 1878. In the wake of the [[Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)|Russo-Turkish War, 1877–78, the meeting's aim was to reorganize conditions in the Balkans.


Sometimes nations convene official negotiation processes to settle a specific dispute or specific issue between several nations which are parties to a dispute. These are similar to the conferences mentioned above, as there are technically no established rules or procedures. However, there are general principles and precedents which help define a course for such proceedings. Some examples are * [[Camp David Accords – Convened in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter of the United States, at Camp David to reach an agreement between Prime Minister Mechaem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. After weeks of negotiation, agreement was reached and the accords were signed, later leading directly to the [[Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty of 1979. * [[Treaty of Portsmouth – Enacted after President [[Theodore Roosevelt brought together the delegates from [[Russia and [[Japan, to settle the [[Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt's personal intervention settled the conflict, and caused him to win the [[Nobel Peace Prize.

Diplomatic recognition

[[Diplomatic recognition is an important factor in determining whether a nation is an independent state. Receiving recognition is often difficult, even for countries which are fully sovereign. For many decades after its independence, even many of the closest allies of the [[Dutch Republic refused to grant it full recognition. Today there are [[List of unrecognized countries|a number of independent entities without widespread diplomatic recognition, most notably the [[Republic of China|Republic of China (ROC)/Taiwan on [[Geography of Taiwan|Taiwan Island. Since the 1970s, most nations have stopped officially recognizing the ROC at the insistence of the [[People's Republic of China (PRC). The United States and most other nations maintain informal relations through ''[[de facto'' embassies, with names such as the [[American Institute in Taiwan. Similarly, Taiwan's ''de facto'' embassies abroad are known by names such as the [[Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. This was not always the case, with the US maintaining official diplomatic ties with the ROC, recognizing it as the sole and legitimate government of "all of China" until 1979, when these relations were broken off as a condition for establishing official relations with PR China. The [[Palestinian National Authority has its own diplomatic service. However, Palestinian representatives in countries that do not recognize the [[State of Palestine as a sovereign state are not accorded diplomatic immunity, and their missions are referred to as "Delegations General". Similarly, Israeli diplomats in countries that do not recognize the [[State of Israel as a sovereign state are not accorded full diplomatic status. Other unrecognized regions which claim independence include [[Abkhazia, [[Liberland, [[Transnistria, [[Somaliland, [[South Ossetia, [[Nagorno Karabakh, and the [[Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Lacking the economic and political importance of Taiwan, these territories tend to be much more diplomatically isolated. Though used as a factor in judging sovereignty, Article 3 of the [[Montevideo Convention states, "The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by other states."

Backdoor diplomacy

Informal diplomacy (sometimes called [[Track II diplomacy) has been used for centuries to communicate between powers. Most diplomats work to recruit figures in other nations who might be able to give informal access to a country's leadership. In some situations, such as between the [[United States and the People's Republic of China a large amount of diplomacy is done through semi-formal channels using [[Interlocutor (politics)|interlocutors such as academic members of [[thinktanks. This occurs in situations where governments wish to express intentions or to suggest methods of resolving a diplomatic situation, but do not wish to express a formal position. Track II diplomacy is a specific kind of informal diplomacy, in which non-officials (academic scholars, retired civil and military officials, public figures, social activists) engage in dialogue, with the aim of conflict resolution, or confidence-building. Sometimes governments may fund such Track II exchanges. Sometimes the exchanges may have no connection at all with governments, or may even act in defiance of governments; such exchanges are called Track III. On some occasion a former holder of an official position continues to carry out an informal diplomatic activity after retirement. In some cases, governments welcome such activity, for example as a means of establishing an initial contact with a hostile state of group without being formally committed. In other cases, however, such informal diplomats seek to promote a political agenda different from that of the government currently in power. Such informal diplomacy is practiced by former US Presidents [[Jimmy Carter and (to a lesser extent) [[Bill Clinton and by the former [[Israeli diplomat and minister [[Yossi Beilin (see [[Geneva Initiative).

Small state diplomacy

Small state diplomacy is receiving increasing attention in diplomatic studies and
international relations#REDIRECT International relations#REDIRECT International relations {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. Small states are particularly affected by developments which are determined beyond their borders such as [[climate change, [[water security and shifts in the [[global economy. Diplomacy is the main vehicle by which small states are able to ensure that their goals are addressed in the global arena. These factors mean that small states have strong incentives to support international cooperation. But with limited resources at their disposal, conducting effective diplomacy poses unique challenges for small states.


There are a variety of diplomatic categories and diplomatic strategies employed by organizations and governments to achieve their aims, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.


''Appeasement'' is a policy of making concessions to an aggressor in order to avoid confrontation; because of its failure to prevent World War 2, appeasement is not considered a legitimate tool of modern diplomacy.

Counterinsurgency diplomacy

''Counterinsurgency diplomacy'' or Expeditionary Diplomacy, developed by diplomats deployed to civil-military stabilization efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, employs diplomats at tactical and operational levels, outside traditional embassy environments and often alongside military or peacekeeping forces. Counterinsurgency diplomacy may provide political environment advice to local commanders, interact with local leaders, and facilitate the governance efforts, functions and reach of a host government.

Debt-trap diplomacy

"Debt-trap diplomacy" is carried out in bilateral relations, with a powerful lending country seeking to saddle a borrowing nation with enormous debt so as to increase its leverage over it.

Economic diplomacy

''Economic diplomacy'' is the use of aid or other types of economic policy as a means to achieve a diplomatic agenda.

Gunboat diplomacy

''Gunboat diplomacy'' is the use of conspicuous displays of military power as a means of intimidation to influence others. Since it is inherently coercive, it typically lies near the edge between peace and war, and is usually exercised in the context of imperialism or hegemony. An emblematic example is the [[Pacifico incident|Don Pacifico Incident in 1850, in which the United Kingdom [[blockaded the [[Greece|Greek port of [[Piraeus in retaliation for the harming of a British subject and the failure of Greek government to provide him with restitution.

Hostage diplomacy

Hostage diplomacy is the taking of [[hostages by a state or quasi-state actor to fulfill diplomatic goals. It is a type of asymmetric diplomacy often used by weaker states to pressure stronger ones. Hostage diplomacy has been practiced from prehistory to the present day.

Humanitarian diplomacy

Humanitarian diplomacy is the set of activities undertaken by various actors with governments, (para)military organizations, or personalities in order to intervene or push intervention in a context where humanity is in danger.

Migration diplomacy

''Migration diplomacy'' refers to the use of [[human migration in a state's foreign policy. American political scientist Myron Weiner argued that international migration is intricately linked to states' international relations. More recently, [[Kelly Greenhill has identified how states may employ '[[weapons of mass migration' against target states in their foreign relations. Migration diplomacy may involve the use of [[refugees, [[Economic migrant|labor migrants, or [[diasporas in states' pursuit of international diplomacy goals. In the context of the [[Syrian civil war|Syrian Civil War, [[Refugees of the Syrian Civil War|Syrian refugees were used in the context of [[Jordanian, [[Lebanon|Lebanese, and [[Turkey|Turkish migration diplomacy.

Nuclear diplomacy

''Nuclear diplomacy'' is the area of diplomacy related to preventing [[nuclear proliferation and [[nuclear war. One of the most well-known (and most controversial) philosophies of nuclear diplomacy is [[mutually assured destruction (MAD).


Paradiplomacy is
international relations#REDIRECT International relations#REDIRECT International relations {{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell|1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
conducted by subnational or regional governments on their own, with a view to promoting their own interests. With globalisation, non-state regions play an increasingly influential international role.

Peer to Peer Diplomacy

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) diplomacy which was first coined in 2012 by Shay Attias, an Israeli Diplomat who was deeply influenced by Nye. It describes the ability of average citizens, through the use of social media, to bypass official government bodies and conduct "grassroots" diplomacy. P2P diplomacy suggests that governments must work with the public in conducting diplomacy, given that an increasingly large number of individuals are invested in foreign relations and have widespread access to information.

Preventive diplomacy

Preventive diplomacy is carried out through quiet means (as opposed to “gun-boat diplomacy”, which is backed by the threat of force, or “public diplomacy”, which makes use of publicity). It is also understood that circumstances may exist in which the consensual use of force (notably preventive deployment) might be welcomed by parties to a conflict with a view to achieving the stabilization necessary for diplomacy and related political processes to proceed. This is to be distinguished from the use of “persuasion”, “suasion”, “influence”, and other non-coercive approaches explored below. “Preventive diplomacy”, in the view of one expert, is “the range of peaceful dispute resolution approaches mentioned in Article 33 of the UN Charter [on the pacific settlement of disputes] when applied before a dispute crosses the threshold to armed conflict.” It may take many forms, with different means employed. One form of diplomacy which may be brought to bear to prevent violent conflict (or to prevent its recurrence) is “quiet diplomacy”. When one speaks of the practice of quiet diplomacy, definitional clarity is largely absent. In part this is due to a lack of any comprehensive assessment of exactly what types of engagement qualify, and how such engagements are pursued. On the one hand, a survey of the literature reveals no precise understanding or terminology on the subject. On the other hand, concepts are neither clear nor discrete in practice. Multiple definitions are often invoked simultaneously by theorists, and the activities themselves often mix and overlap in practice.

Public diplomacy

Public diplomacy is the exercise of influence through communication with the general public in another nation, rather than attempting to influence the nation's government directly. This communication may take the form of [[propaganda, or more benign forms such as [[citizen diplomacy, individual interactions between average citizens of two or more nations. Technological advances and the advent of [[digital diplomacy now allow instant communication with foreign citizens, and methods such as [[Facebook diplomacy and [[Twitter diplomacy are increasingly used by world leaders and diplomats.

Quiet diplomacy

Also known as the "softly softly" approach, quiet diplomacy is the attempt to influence the behaviour of another state through secret negotiations or by refraining from taking a specific action. This method is often employed by states that lack alternative means to influence the target government, or that seek to avoid certain outcomes. For example, South Africa is described as engaging in quiet diplomacy with neighboring Zimbabwe to avoid appearing as "bullying" and subsequently engendering a hostile response. This approach can also be employed by more powerful states; U.S. President George W. Bush's nonattendance at the 2002 [[Earth Summit 2002|World Summit on Sustainable Development constituted a form of quiet diplomacy, namely in response to the lack of UN support for the U.S.' proposed [[2003 invasion of Iraq|invasion of Iraq.

Science diplomacy

Science diplomacy is the use of scientific collaborations among nations to address common problems and to build constructive international partnerships. Many experts and groups use a variety of definitions for science diplomacy. However, science diplomacy has become an umbrella term to describe a number of formal or informal technical, research-based, academic or engineering exchanges, with notable examples including [[CERN, the [[International Space Station, and [[ITER.

Soft power

Soft power, sometimes called "hearts and minds diplomacy", as defined by [[Joseph Nye, is the cultivation of relationships, respect, or even admiration from others in order to gain influence, as opposed to more coercive approaches. Often and incorrectly confused with the practice of official diplomacy, soft power refers to non-state, culturally attractive factors that may predispose people to sympathize with a foreign culture based on affinity for its products, such as the American entertainment industry, schools and music. A country's soft power can come from three resources: its culture (in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home and abroad), and its foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate and having moral authority).

City Diplomacy

City Diplomacy can be defined as the institutions and processes by which cities engage relations with other actors in an international stage, with the aim of representing themselves and their interests to one another.

Diplomatic training

Most countries provide professional training for their diplomats and maintain institutions specifically for that purpose. Private institutions also exist as do establishments associated with organisations like the European Union and the United Nations.

See also

Notes and references


* Black, Jeremy. ''A History of Diplomacy'' (U. of Chicago Press, 2010) * Berridge, G. R. ''Diplomacy: Theory & Practice'', 3rd edition, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2005, * Callieres, Francois De. ''The Practice of Diplomacy'' (1919) * Cunningham, George. ''Journey to Become a Diplomat: With a Guide to Careers in World Affairs'' FPA Global Vision Books 2005, * * Dorman, Shawn, ed. ''Inside a U.S. Embassy: How the Foreign Service Works for America'' by American Foreign Service Association, Second edition February 2003, * Hayne, M. B. ''The French Foreign Office and the Origins of the First World War, 1898–1914'' (1993); * Hill, Henry Bertram. ''The Political Testament of Cardinal Richeleiu: The Significant Chapters and Supporting Selections'' (1964) * Jackson, Peter "Tradition and adaptation: the social universe of the French Foreign Ministry in the era of the First World War", ''French History,'' 24 (2010), 164–96; * Kissinger, Henry. ''A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh, and the Problem of Peace: 1812-1822'' (1999) * [[Henry Kissinger. ''Diplomacy'' (1999) * Kurbalija J. and Slavik H. eds. ''Language and Diplomacy'' DiploProjects, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, Malta, 2001, ; papers by experts. * Macalister-Smith Peter, Schwietzke, Joachim, ed., ''Diplomatic Conferences and Congresses. A Bibliographical Compendium of State Practice 1642 to 1919'' W. Neugebauer, Graz, Feldkirch 2017 * MacMillan, Margaret. ''Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World'' (2003). * [[Garrett Mattingly, ''Renaissance Diplomacy'' Dover Publications, * Maulucci Jr., Thomas W. ''Adenauer's Foreign Office: West German Diplomacy in the Shadow of the Third Reich'' (2012). * Nicolson, Sir Harold George. ''Diplomacy'' (1988) * Nicolson, Sir Harold George. ''The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity: 1812-1822'' (2001) * Nicolson, Sir Harold George. ''The Evolution of Diplomatic Method'' (1977) * Otte, Thomas G. ''The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914'' (2011). * Rana, Kishan S. and Jovan Kurbalija, eds. ''Foreign Ministries: Managing Diplomatic Networks and Optimizing Value'' DiploFoundation, 2007, * Rana, Kishan S. ''The 21st Century Ambassador: Plenipotentiary to Chief Executive'' DiploFoundation,2004, * Roeder, Larry W.
Diplomacy, Funding and Animal Welfare
, Springer, Hamburg, 2011 * [[Ernest Satow. ''A Guide to Diplomatic Practice'' by Longmans, Green & Co. London & New York, 1917. A standard reference work used in many embassies across the world (though not British ones). Now in its fifth edition (1998) * Seldon, Anthony. ''Foreign Office'' (2000), history of the British ministry and its headquarters building. * Steiner, Zara S. ''The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy, 1898–1914'' (1969) on Britain. * Stevenson, David. "The Diplomats" in Jay Winter, ed. ''The Cambridge History of the First World War: Volume II: The State'' (2014) vol 2 ch 3, pp 66–90. *Trager, R. (2017). ''[[doi:10.1017/9781107278776|Diplomacy: Communication and the Origins of International Order''. Cambridge University Press. * [[Fredrik Wesslau
''The Political Adviser's Handbook''
(2013), * Wicquefort, Abraham de. ''The Embassador and His Functions'' (2010) * Jovan Kurbalija and Valentin Katrandjiev, ''Multistakeholder Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities''. * Rivère de Carles, Nathalie, and Duclos, Nathalie, ''Forms of Diplomacy (16th-21st c.)'', Toulouse, Presses Universitaires du Midi, 2015. . A study of alternative forms of diplomacy and essays on cultural diplomacy by Lucien Bély et al.

External links

Foreign Affairs Manual and associated Handbooks
- the ''[[Foreign Affairs Manual'' (and related handbooks) of the [[United States Department of State
Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection
of the [[Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training – American diplomats describe their careers on the [[American Memory website at the [[Library of Congress {{Authority control [[Category:Diplomacy|