JANUARY FEBRUARY 2015
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
The publication of books on diplomacy as a distinct discipline has increased recently.
Hopefully, it is a trend that will continue.
BY ROBERT DRY
Robert Dry, a retired FSO, is chairman of AFSA’s Committee on the For-
eign Service Profession and Ethics, and teaches at New York University.
e are witnessing a new
high-water mark in
important works on diplo-
macy not seen since the
early 18th century, when
De la manière de négocier
avec les souverains
the Manner of Negotiating
with Sovereigns”) and
Ambassador and His Functions
, by de François Callière and
Abraham de Wicquefort, respectively, made their appearance.
In arguing this, I adhere to the distinction between works on
diplomacy and those on foreign policy, a distinction often
credited to the eminent diplomatic thinker of the 20th century,
Sir Harold Nicolson.
Granted, the printing presses constantly bring us books and
articles on foreign policy and diplomatic history, including
the many memoirs of diplomats and statesmen, but the high
incidence of works concentrated on diplomacy as a separate
discipline or institution is remarkable, and very welcome.
Hopefully, this trend will continue and lead to a greater under-
standing of the diplomatic instrument of power.
Former Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, in his
swan song presentation to State Department employees on
A Practitioner’s Guide
to Recent Books
ON TEACHING DIPLOMACY
Oct. 23, used the expression “measures short of war,” alluding
to George Kennan’s seminal lecture on preventive diplomacy
on Sept. 16, 1946, at the National War College. Kennan’s lec-
ture remains noteworthy and should be read by every entrant
into the Foreign Service. In many ways, it is a platform to build
While practitioners of diplomacy may possess an intuitive
understanding of “how” their profession works, close study
of the institution of diplomacy can improve the knowledge of
even seasoned practitioners. What I would have given, when
I rst entered the Foreign Service, to have been able to read
former FSO Harry Kopp’s
University Press, 2011); AFSA’s
Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplo-
macy at Work,
now in its third edition (FS Books, 2011); or any
of the works of former Indian ambassador Kishan Rana of the
Similarly, I would have bene ted from exploring the books
I discuss below, which draw on the legacy of earlier diplomatic
thinkers. Each provides rich context for the e orts performed
daily at diplomatic and consular missions in the eld, or at