This abstract page is available as a .pdf here.

DAY 1, Thursday 25th May 2023

PANEL 1.1.1: Languages of diplomacy in early Modern Europe: Sweden, Spain, and Russia

Panel abstract:

Organizer: Vladislav Rjéoutski, German Historical Institute in Paris, VRjeoutski@dhi-paris.fr

One of the major linguistic changes in early Modern diplomacy was a shift towards the predominant use of French. French was particularly used in some European diplomacies, such as the British, Dutch and, later on, Prussian and Russian diplomacies. The end of the 17th – first half of the 18th centuries is sometimes considered as a turning point when the role of French increased considerably. However, this process was not universal, and in some European diplomacies, either national languages or regional lingua francas played a greater role than French in this period. Through the variations in the use of languages, the section thus aims to show how early Modern European diplomacy was built on the coexistence and interaction of different diplomatic cultures.


Individual abstracts:

Sophie Holm, German Historical Institute in Moscow, Sophie.Holm@dhi-moskau.org, Language choices in eighteenth-century Swedish diplomacy

Eighteenth-century European diplomacy was increasingly francophone, but with notable exceptions. Sweden was one of several European powers relying only partly on French and partly on other options such as maintaining Latin as a diplomatic language or signing treaties bilingually. This paper explores linguistic choices in Swedish diplomacy with a special focus on the languages used in the internal diplomatic correspondence. Swedish diplomats were instructed to use Swedish in their reports, but sometimes deviated from this official practice. By looking at both language choices and language switches, this paper stresses the flexibility and diversity of linguistic practices in early-modern diplomacy as well as the functions and limits of the European eighteenth-century francophonie.


Gleb Kazakov, Justus-Liebig University of Gießen, gleb.kazakov@gmail.com, Foreign Languages in the Russian Diplomacy of the Petrine Era (1690—1725): between the Muscovite Tradition and the francophone Europe

The Russian diplomatic service underwent significant changes during the reign of Peter the Great. But how did these developments influence the language practices of Russian diplomats? I will highlight the language choices of Russian diplomats in relations with some European states (Sweden, Denmark, Austria, England) and will demonstrate in what respects Peter’s era distinguishes itself both from the Muscovite tradition of the 17th century (when diplomats of the Tsar communicated mostly in Russian and were thus dependent on the services of an accompanying translator), and from the francophone era of the second half of the 18th century.


Vladislav Rjéoutski, German Historical Institute in Paris, The languages of the early Modern Spanish diplomacy

When dealing with Spanish diplomats and the Spanish court, diplomats from other countries had to cope with a certain linguistic tradition in which Spanish was considered to be a “natural” choice for diplomatic exchanges. Based on various documents from the Archivo historico nacional (Madrid), the Archives diplomatiques, the Archives nationales (Paris) and the Archives of the Foreign Policy of Imperial Russia (Moscow) this paper will attempt to determine the main linguistic trends in the Spanish diplomacy of the period, both formal and informal, and its distinctive features in a broad (mainly European) context.



PANEL 1.1.2: State Visits in the Nordic Countries in the 1950s – 1970s

Panel Organizer: Rósa Magnúsdóttir, University of Iceland, rm@hi.is
Individual abstracts:
Pia Koivunen, University of Turku, pia.koivunen@utu.fiKhrushchev’s state visit to Finland in 1957
Nikita Khrushchev’s trip in the summer of 1957 was the first official state visit by a Soviet leader to Finland. Both Lenin and Stalin had been to the country during the tsarist period but in the capacity of radical revolutionaries, not as state leaders. The broader context for Khrushchev’s visit was the policy of peaceful co-existence and opening of the Soviet Union towards the rest of the world. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Khrushchev toured around the world, being the first Soviet leader to travel so widely. The visit to Finland was part of this “world tour” but it also provided a chance to (re)define and update Finnish-Soviet relations in the new political climate. What were the specific goals of Khrushchev’s visit in terms of Finnish-Soviet relations, how was the visit treated in Finnish and foreign media, and what was the reaction by locals?
Rósa Magnúsdóttir“Peaceful Coexistence Requires Personal Contacts”: Premier Khrushchev’s 1964 Scandinavia Tour
The June – July 1964 Scandinavia tour to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway was Premier Khrushchev’s first official visit to Western countries after the collapse of the 1960 Paris summit. This paper looks at the planning and execution of this transnational tour, which Khrushchev upon return home claimed had been a “new triumph for the policy of peaceful coexistence”. A few months after the visit, Khrushchev was ousted from power, and the rhetoric of peaceful coexistence disappeared from the Soviet political discourse. The paper focuses on the Scandinavian–Soviet political dialogue in the years preceding the tour, the performative aspects of the visits, and its immediate aftermath.
Laura Saarenmaa, University of Turku, laura.saarenmaa@utu.fi, Finland Geng Biao’s Nordic tour in 1979
One of the iconic Cold War state visits was President Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972. Considerably less iconic was the visit of the Deng Xiaoping in the US in 1979, marking the new foreign political phase of People’s Republic of China. China’s opening and reach for international investors spread even in the Nordic peripheries through Deng’s vice-premier Geng Biao’s visit the Nordic countries in the spring of 1979. The tour began from Finland in May 1979, and continued to Sweden. In my talk I discuss the Finnish foreign political implications of this visit, and the public responses towards the visit in the Finnish media. In addition to news media, I ponder the anticipatory role of the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) scheduling Chinese animation film Monkey King (1963) on television just before Geng’s visit. More than foreign politic conformism of the YLE, this refers to the persistent diplomatic investments in the Nordic public service television companies by the Chinese embassies.



PANEL 1.1.3: Roundtable panel: Diplomatic Networking: New Approaches and Methodologies

Panel Abstract: 

This roundtable features participants in an emerging collaborative research project which aims to facilitate new understanding of the development of the British Diplomatic Service c.1867-1967. The project draws on innovative methodologies, including digital humanities and prosopography, and is based on collaborations between academics from a number of different universities, as well as external partners, including the UK National Archives and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The starting point for the project is the digitisation of the Foreign Office published personnel records – the Foreign Office List and its successors. Based on analysis of this data, the project seeks to shed new light on:

  1. the changing social composition of the British diplomatic service;
  2. changing attitudes towards developing staff ‘expertise’, whether regional (e.g. Eastern Europe, Latin America) or thematic (e.g. commercial, security, cultural);
  • examining how peripatetic career patterns could still allow a high degree of organisational integration based on iterated interactions between diplomatic staff both in London and in post abroad.

The ultimate objective of the project is to produce a publicly-available a dataset that will present the career trajectories of British foreign service personnel in innovative ways (including interactive maps, links to primary sources etc.) This will constitute a valuable public source of engagement for those interested in British foreign policy, diplomacy, social history and network analysis.



Thomas Mills, Lancaster University (panel convenor): t.c.mills@lancaster.ac.uk

Gaynor Johnson, University of Kent: G.L.Johnson@kent.ac.uk

Ian Gregory, Lancaster University: i.gregory@lancaster.ac.uk

Michael Hughes, Lancaster University: m.hughes1@lancaster.ac.uk


Chair and Commentator: Richard Smith, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Richard.Smith2@fcdo.gov.uk


PANEL 1.1.4: Roundtable Panel: Damocles at the Diwan. Security, risk and threat in nineteenth-century Mediterranean diplomacy

Panel abstact:

Organizer: Gert Huskens, Université libre de Bruxelles, Gert.Huskens@ulb.be

‘The sick man of Europe’; ‘the root of the Eastern Question’ or ‘a giant on clay feet’, the popular image of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century was that of a seemingly contradictory combination of threat and weakness (Ozavci, 2021). As one of the many questions the world faced in this century (Case, 2018), the West’s response to the century-long decline of the Ottoman Empire, was first and foremost a matter to which politics and diplomacy was ought to find an answer. Within the framework of the capitulations that guaranteed the Western powers’ privileged position in the Mediterranean diplomatic theater, the European diplomats that represented their respective nations at the Sublime Porte or other and subordinate political bodies played a distinctive role in the quest for a solution.

Setting their feet on exactly the new grounds Alloul and Martykánová (2021) charted in their state of the art of Ottoman diplomatic history, the panelists will attempt to reconfigure the Eastern Question along the following lines. Most importantly, the contributions will assess to what extent threat acted as a driving force in the conceptualization of European-Ottoman diplomacy. De Lange (2020), on his turn, shifts the scope to the Western Mediterranean and the Ottoman vassal Regency of Algiers. On the eve of the French invasion of 1830, the Algerine authorities sought support from the British Royal Navy Lieutenant William Henry Quinn in a final attempt to mediate in the ongoing war with France. De Lange will focus on the sea as a specific site of diplomacy, and naval men as pivotal diplomatic actors in the unfolding of the Eastern Question.

Extrapolating her insights on the formation of a European security system, de Graaf (2020) will elaborate how the strive to contain judicial uncertainty fueled the process that resulted in the creation of the Egyptian Mixed Courts in the beginning of the 1870s. In accordance with his previous work on the foreign diplomatic corps in Egypt, Huskens (forthcoming) zooms in at a pivotal moment of crisis in the history of the khedivate: the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882. Stressing its impact beyond the mere bilateral British-Egyptian significance, he situates the response of the international indemnities commission to it within a larger trend of transnational diplomatic cooperation that upheld a perception of non-Western threat and guilt. In sum, all four panelists will recalibrate the debate on the Eastern question from within the Mediterranean theatre itself rather than the European cabinets and thus outbalance our understanding of this formative topic in nineteenth-century diplomacy using the tools of New Diplomatic History as suggested by Amirell (2022).



PANEL 1.2.1: Welcome to the Liberal State: Place Branding as a Diplomatic Practice, 1920s-1950s

Panel Abstract: 

This panel compares liberal place branding for regions, nations and union as a diplomatic practice. As the panel will show, Catalan secessionists during the Primo de Rivera regime pursued different political objectives than Kemal Atatürk in the 1930s, or European institutions in the 1950s. Yet all of these actors strove to put their nations as liberal places on the map. This panel unites four research projects from International History in diverse geographical and temporal contexts. Showcasing different actors and uses of strategic, explicitly “liberal” imagery, they explore the correlation between imagined and geopolitical space and the branding of liberalism itself.


Individual abstracts: 

Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Freie Universität Berlin, j.gienow@fu-berlin.de: The Proud State: How Countries Have Marketed Themselves as Liberal Regimes

This paper provides, first, a theoretical reflection on the nature and mechanism of liberal place branding to pitch their respective regimes in a favourable light to generate influence and attract allies, investments, and tourism. As such, it assumes a bird’s eye’s view on a set of examples. How do liberal states brand themselves – indeed, do they, in the first place? How do their strategies differ from that of illiberal regimes? What is “liberal place branding” and, if so, what does it entail? Second, the paper contextualizes and provides comments on the other three papers.

Tobias J. Klee, Freie Universität Berlin, t.klee@fu-berlin.de: We Can’t Live with You No More: Francesc Macià’s Campaign to Market Catalonia in France in the 1920s

This paper will analyse which methods and arguments Catalan nationalist Francesc Macià employed to brand Catalonia as a liberal nation. “Il est impossible que la Catalogne puisse vivre avec l’Espagne,” he declared, after French police had stopped his militia’s march towards Spain, in 1927. “L’esperit libéral ne pourra fraterniser avec le despotisme.” Catalans perceived themselves as a beacon of democracy, and enlightenment while tyranny and corruption reigned in Spain. When dictator de Rivera surpressed Catalan autonomy in the 1920s, the exiled Macià mobilised international support for a liberation army, marketing Catalonia as Spain’s only civilised region.

Lesar Yurtsever, Freie Universität Berlin, lesary@web.de: A Mecca for Jazz Enthusiasts: The Turkish Embassy in the U.S., in the 1930s

This paper analyzes how Turkish politicians used music to market Turkey as a liberal state and, in fact, put themselves above U.S. liberal policy. In the 1930s and 1940s, Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün, sons of the Turkish ambassador to the U.S., invited popular African-American jazz musicians to the embassy in Washington D.C., turning the building into a “Mecca for jazz enthusiasts” – and a stark contrast to segregation dividing the capital. Turkey’s intention was to convince the U.S. public of the nation’s new liberal image and, thus, improve economic ties after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Marlene Ritter, Freie Universität Berlin, marlene.ritter@fu-berlin.de : Europe as a Liberal Brand at the Expo 58

This paper examines the European exhibitions in the Cité de la Coopération Internationale at the 1958 Expo in Brussels. In particular, it considers how individual organisations crafted an immersive experience of Europe, and therefore of themselves, as liberal and democratic, and as the drivers of economic and societal progress. The 1958 Expo was a spectacular display of the post-war world order. Organised by the Belgian government, it exhibited technological innovations, polished national self-images, colonial power, and competing ideologies. For early Western European organisations like the Council of Europe, the ECSC, and the OEEC, the Expo presented a rare multilateral forum to establish Europe as a liberal brand.


PANEL 1.2.2: ’Dinner diplomacy’ from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries

Panel abstract:

Historians of diplomacy are increasingly interested in unofficial practices and actors when attempting to understand how diplomacy was performed on a day-to-day level, including questions on the role of gender, space, and personal relations. From late eighteenth-century salons to interwar dinner parties and beyond, personal connections forged through informal social events were an integral element in the upkeep of diplomatic relations. These activities often involved diplomats’ families and households in the representation, networking and negotiation of international relations. Formal diplomacy also underwent considerable change in the aftermath of the early nineteenth-century Napoleonic Wars, and the World Wars of the twentieth century, as conflicts and crises would redress national borders and create new international organisations in their wake. This thematic panel takes the idea of ’dinner diplomacy’ as a point of departure, examining transnational diplomatic sociability with an emphasis on Nordic and Dutch agents.

Covering a long chronology, our presentations ask how we may understand the dinner party as an informal diplomatic space, ranging from stately banquets to informal visiting, and whether the importance of sociability declined or changed with the increased formalisation of foreign relations over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Focusing on the ‘dinner table’ as a social space invites a conversation on the gendered practices of diplomatic social activities, on unofficial actors – male and female – and the upstairs and downstairs of diplomatic practice.

The panel’s five presentations will explore dinner diplomacy across Stockholm, Copenhagen, London, and Washington, D.C, and at Norwegian manor houses. From confidential meetings to representational events, dinners could serve a range of purposes: One example being Bogstad manor as a site of negotiation by Norwegian leaders in the transition to a union with Sweden in 1814, while another includes the hosting of meals as a tool for social cohesion in the fragmented Danish exile milieus in London during World War II.

From elite, female salonnières in early nineteenth-century Copenhagen, to servants and staff below stairs in twentieth-century Washington D.C., organizing guest lists and menus, seating arrangements and lively conversation was an effort seldom mentioned in the official papers of diplomatic archives. Secretaries and assistants, wives and family members, instead shed light on the informal everyday work of doing diplomacy.

To bring the presentations of our panel together in a diachronic discussion, we will take a set of joint research questions as our point of departure, asking:

1) How may we understand the gendered spaces, practices and roles of the actors of dinner diplomacy, including the roles of diplomatic households and domestic staff?

2) What were the scales and meanings of formality within dinner diplomacy across our case studies?

3) What implications does the blurring of boundaries between public and private at the dinner table have for our understanding of how diplomacy was (and is?) practiced?

4) Examining the very concrete practices of ‘dining for diplomatic purposes’, we will also take an interest in the importance (or lack thereof) of national cuisines, and we will examine diplomatic practices of drinking or toasting.


Panel organizers: Kristine Dyrmann, Karen Gram-Skjoldager

Discussant: Haakon Ikonomou, University of Copenhagen, ikonomou@hum.ku.dk


Individual papers:

Sophie Holm, Deutsches Historisches Institut/ Max Weber Stiftung (Finland), Sophie.Holm@dhi-moskau.orgBehind the Scenes of Dinner Diplomacy. Duty-Free Import Amongst the Diplomatic Corps in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Stockholm

Kristine Dyrmann, University of Oxford, (Denmark), kristine@dyrmann.comDiplomatic dinners and salon sociability in Copenhagen during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars

Bård Frydenlund, CEO, Eidsvoll 1814, (Norway), Bard.Frydenlund@eidsvoll1814.no«Diplomatic free havens» or «lairs of a deceitful opposition»? The role of private receptions and formal dinner parties at Norwegian rural manors as arenas of political negotiations during the Napoleonic Wars in Scandinavia (1809-1814).

Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Aarhus University (Denmark), hiskgs@cas.au.dkDining for Denmark – The Role of Dinner Diplomacy in Danish Exile Politics 1940-1945



PANEL 1.2.3: Training, recruitment, social origins, diplomatic careers


Moulding the Post-Westphalian Routines of EU External Action Among Diplomats-In-The-Making

Zane Šime, EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies Department, College of Europe (Bruges campus), zane.sime@coleurope.eu

The article explains diverse learning trajectories and outcomes linked to the annual simulation game of the diplomacy studies programme of the Bruges Campus of the College of Europe. Process tracing based on the literature review, semi-structured interviews with participants and facilitators of the game, and the author’s own observations carve out how the College’s doxa equip future professionals of diplomacy with expertise and practical insight into the EU foreign policy and crisis management procedures. Practice theory-guided analysis argues for a comprehensive study of similar active learning exercises to better grasp these events’ multifaceted role in shaping the intellectual dispositions and overall hands-on learning skills of future diplomats concerning the post-Westphalian routines and actorness of the EU. The role of academically fostered esprit de corps, and the enactment of blended and hybrid diplomacy encounters with the EU characteristics is illustrated with diverse examples from the week-long roll-out of the game.


Brussels as a site of learning. Finnish diplomats encountering the European Communities, 1964–1994

Juhana Aunesluoma, University of Helsinki, juhana.aunesluoma@helsinki.fi


Finland joined the European Union in 1995. Before the EU-membership Finland established diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1964, and subsequently dealt with the Communities in negotiating free trade and other agreements over market access in the 1970s and 1980s. Trade diplomacy entered its most intensive phase in 1990–1994 when Finland participated in the negotiations establishing the European Economic Area (EEA) and negotiated its membership in the EU in 1992–1994.

Despite its increasing weight in international economic diplomacy, Brussels was for long a relatively quiet backwater of Finnish diplomacy, surpassed in significance by other sites of bilateral diplomacy, Moscow, Washington D.C and other Western and Asian capitals. In the diplomatists’ experience of multilateral diplomacy, Brussels for long paled in comparison with cosmopolitan hubs such as Geneva, Vienna and New York. However, in the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s, Brussels became a unique nexus of Finnish diplomatic activity. While its importance as a site of economic and trade diplomacy grew, it also became a diverse meeting place of government agencies, international organizations and their affiliates, NGO’s and lobbyists, parliamentarians and diplomats from EC and non-EC countries alike, representing a broad range of areas of diplomacy from political, social, cultural and environmental affairs to human rights, as well as questions of traditional hard security and emerging threats.

The paper explores how in the decades preceding Finland’s accession into the EU, Brussels gradually changed its character as a site of Finnish diplomacy, but especially how it was experienced by Finnish diplomats, and how the Brussels experience and learning its normative frameworks shaped and impacted the diplomats’ professional and social life. As the Finnish diplomats’ experience of Brussels spanned three decades prior to the EU membership, their knowledge and networks also gave the Finnish Foreign Ministry an institutional advantage after 1994 to steer and shape Finnish EU-policy and activities in Brussels, which was felt well into the 2000s and 2010s. The research is based on archival materials, interviews and published sources.


The diplomatic twilight of the Belle Époque. Portuguese diplomatic corps in London (1910-1926)

Clara Isabel Serrano, University of Coimbra, claraisabelmeloserra@gmail.com
Sérgio Neto, University of Coimbra, sgdneto@gmail.com

The Luso-British alliance is the oldest diplomatic agreement still in force, dating back to the fourteenth century. However, this alliance faced several setbacks, especially in the 19th century when the Scramble for Africa reached its peak. In 1890 a territorial
dispute over land in southern Africa almost ended in a war between the two countries.

In short, and regarding colonial affairs, between 1890 and 1918, this alliance kept Angola and Mozambique in the Portuguese orbit, in the face of German expansion in Africa, feared by the British. However, in 1898 and 1912-1913, the two great powers, Britain and Germany, tried to reach an agreement on Angola and Mozambique and thus avoid the possibility of war. The Portuguese government took diplomatic and political action as early as 1912, appointing Norton de Matos, an experienced colonialist, to the Angolan government. When the Great War ended, Portugal managed to keep its colonies.

Between the two world wars, Portugal feared losing Angola and Mozambique to revisionist Germany and expansionist Italy. The old alliance with the British Empire, despite the fall of the First Portuguese Republic, was maintained during the military dictatorship (1926-1932) and the entire period of the New State (1933-1974).

The aim of this paper is to characterize this elite body of the Portuguese State between 1910 and 1926, i.e., the First Republic and the beginning of the Military Dictatorship. In the first part, we intend to describe the policy of the republican governments in relation to Foreign Affairs and the impact of the coup of May 28, 1926, on the diplomatic corps. Next, we will look at how successive governments defined or sought to redefine the selection criteria for diplomatic staff and their respective status.

Based on the collection of biographical data, we will then outline a socio-political profile and establish the social and cultural milieus of the diplomatic corps in the period under review.


Diplomatic training as a site of socialisation: courses for post-independence African diplomats

Ruth Craggs, Fiona McConnell & Jonathan Harris, King’s College London and University of Oxford, fiona.mcconnell@ouce.ox.ac.uk, ruth.craggs@kcl.ac.uk, jonathan.a.harris@kcl.ac.uk

From the late 1950s, African countries under colonisation emerged to represent themselves internationally as sovereign states. A frequently overlooked consequence of this decolonisation is that it triggered an expansion in overseas diplomatic training, as hundreds of African diplomats-in-training travelled to Europe and the US to attend bespoke educational programmes. Underlying host states’ investment in this training was an understanding of the soft power value of attempting to influence the diplomats from newly independent countries (particularly valuable in the context of the Cold War) and maintaining cultural, political and economic ties with former colonies. This postcolonial diplomatic training therefore represented an important site for the enactment and embodiment of Western, liberal norms in diplomatic practice. It also belied an assumption that the world system was a settled one, which countries in the global North would continue to dominate, and into which the ‘new states’ and their diplomats would be ‘socialised’.

Drawing on archival research and oral histories associated with a broader project on the geopolitics of this diplomatic training (https://www.diplotraining.org/), this paper focuses on courses in London, Paris and Geneva as places where distinct practices of diplomacy were taught, rehearsed and enacted. Not only was theoretical and practical knowledge about professional diplomacy codified and shared, but trainee diplomats were socialised as members of the diplomatic community. This process of socialisation was contested and negotiated, as students brought African perspectives, practices, issues and concerns with them. By turning attention to the micro-geographies of this diplomatic training – the classrooms, dining/ reception rooms, buildings, city contexts and study tours – we demonstrate the relevance of the material sites of training for the transmission and contestation of diplomatic norms and practices, and the production of affective atmospheres of collegiality, tutelage and paternalism.



PANEL 1.2.4: Informal practices, personal relations, unofficial diplomacy


Finlandization: Martha Graham and American ‘Neutral’ Cold War Psychwar

Victoria Phillips, University of Oxford, vphillipshistory@gmail.com 

The case of Martha Graham in Finland demonstrates the development of a propaganda technique that became known at the United States Information Agency as “Finlandization.” Based on the perceived successes at the Bandung Conference in 1955, where undercover government members were sent not to disseminate any anti-communist rhetoric but rather to show the fruits of the West, the “playbook” was reshaped in Finland. By directly comparing Germany and Poland, hotspots, to Finland and Sweden, the strategy reveals itself as located in Finland, but applied globally. With the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1987, this idea of “Finlandization” was again invoked by President George H.W. Bush when he pulled Graham’s heavy-handed pro-USA, anti-Soviet tour from the region.


Brothers in arms: The legacy of the Second World War in Polish-Yugoslav relations (1945–1968)”

Maja Lukanc, Institute of Contemporary History/ Ljubljana, maja.lukanc@inz.si

Poland and Yugoslavia experienced the Second World War in a similar way, and in the following decades the shared memories of wartime atrocities, occupation and heroic resistance had a high affective and symbolic charge for many Poles and Yugoslavs. This paper focuses on the role that the legacy of the war played in Polish-Yugoslav bilateral relations and examines how the frequent recollections of shared war experience fostered a sense of mutual belonging and friendly attachment between Poles and Yugoslavs on multiple levels. It draws on the findings of IR scholarship that shared state identities play an important role in structuring international relations. Negatively perceived overlaps in the collective narratives of two states can lead to tensions, while positively perceived overlaps – such as a jointly fought war – can provide space for creating shared identifications, reinforcing their mutual recognition and building of friendship bonds. Such shared structures of meanings require constant affirmation in joint activities, this is, in bilateral practise and common projects.

The paper examines how the common war experience was situated into Polish-Yugoslav diplomatic practise (official visits and meetings, commemorative events, state treaties), how it influenced cultural exchange and transnational encounters (art exhibitions, films, literary translations, war memorials, tourist itineraries), and how it fostered shared identifications, mutual trust and positive emotions among Poles and Yugoslavs. Attention is paid to the language chosen, the symbols selected, and the frequency and types of manifestations that cherished common Polish-Yugoslav experience of the war. The paper aims to show that the legacy of the war was shaped at different political and social levels – by communist leaders, state and party officials, journalists, artists, war veterans and tourists – and thus to demonstrate the impact of the interactions and agency of official and unofficial diplomatic actors on the shaping of bilateral policy in communist regimes.

Sauna Diplomacy Situated: A Contextual and Personal Tool in Finnish Diplomacy

Bradley Reynolds, University of Helsinki, Bradley.reynolds@helsinki.fi

The Sauna is an undeniable aspect of Finnish culture, and increasingly a critical piece of how Finland presents itself to the world. With the incorporation of the sauna as UNESCO ‘livingheritage’. In 2020, sauna diplomacy was highlighted by the UN as uniquely Finnish. Similar tropes have been presented by the Finnish MFA, though sometimes embellished. For example, President Kekkonen’s mythical use of the sauna to silence Soviet counterparts is often cited as a Finnish strategy to minimize asymmetrical power differences in negotiations. Satumaari Ventelä (2019) highlights how contemporary Finnish diplomats do not always associated the sauna with peace negotiations but rather as a tool to improve personal relations. This paper argues that when prevailing factors allow (culture, interlocuter, personal agency, etc.), the sauna offers Finnish diplomats a culturally familiar and comfortable setting that can have intangible benefits for achieving specific goals, also in peace negotiation. While the Finnish state may have a vested interest in making sauna diplomacy appear as a universal tool in Finnish diplomacy, gender, generation, era, and many other factors are important for situating the sauna in wider diplomatic practices.

This paper focused on the role of sauna diplomacy in one prominent Finnish peace mediation effort – OSCE negotiations for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from 1995-1996 where Finland was Co- Chair with Russia. This example highlights how negotiations between negotiators were as important as managing negotiations between the conflicting parties. The sauna was a critical tool in convincing the Russians that the Finns could still be trusted as a fair mediator even after Helsinki’s post-Cold War foreign policy shifts. Data for this paper comprises of existing and new oral history interviews from Finnish and American diplomats, as well as Finnish archival documents. I highlight how cultural context and personal flair defined how different Finnish ambassadors employed the sauna in strategic initiatives.

Whose Imperialism? Which Geography? Brazilian diplomatic actors in the Royal Geographical Society of Antwerp (1900-1914)
Janne Schreurs, Research Foundation-Flanders, KU Leuven, janne.schreurs@kuleuven.be

Throughout the nineteenth century, geography became an important branch of scientific study. Historians have demonstrated a strong link between the rise of geographical societies and the development of nineteenth-century imperialism. The partition of Africa is often central in that research, but other regions made up a large part of the knowledge exchange in geographical societies. Latin America occupied a double role in these societies: it figured as an object of imperial interest and simultaneously created geographical institutions and experts.

Given the power that came with geographical knowledge, it became important to diplomacy. Latin American diplomatic actors often functioned as amateur geographers and presented their countries, the material and cultural riches as well as geographical and ethnic diversity in geographical societies. This paper poses the question what role these diplomatic and consular actors played as knowledge providers about Latin America in geographical societies with strong ties to European imperial projects.

This paper looks at diplomats and consuls serving Brazil in Belgium, who participated in the activities of the Royal Geographical Society of Antwerp in the beginning of the twentieth century (1900-1914). These actors engaged in a difficult exercise of balancing between Belgian and Brazilian interests, between national and imperial projects, between object of study and agent of knowledge production, and lastly between challenging and affirming imperial norms and discourses. I argue that the type of geography that these diplomatic actors brought forth was not the classical imperial geography designed for the partition of Africa, but rather a mutated form of geography. More broadly, I state that it is crucial to pose the question whose imperialism and which geography one is dealing with in Geographical Societies where different types of imperialism come to intersect during the epoch of high imperialism.


PANEL 1.3.1: Diplomacy, communication and the media


Staging diplomacy : formulas and political persona in Thomas Cromwell’s letters to Anne de Montmorency (1532-1540)”

Blandine Demotz, Cergy-Paris University, blandine.demotz@ens-lyon.fr

While many studies have already demonstrated the prime importance of letters in the making of diplomacy, it appears essential to analyze the rhetorical value of these letters to underline their efficiency in the diplomatic field. In the Early-Modern era, the Republic of Letters and its medieval and antique heritages greatly influenced diplomatic letters, and the use of specific formulas and rhetoric landmarks could enable the letter writer to enter the diplomatic milieu. In this respect, it is interesting to focus on a specific context: the reign of Henry VIII. These years, and especially the 1530s, were a period of tensions, in which ambassadors proved indispensable, as the English kingdom navigated between the Italian Wars, increasingly complex relations with the papacy and the Catholic kingdoms, and personal monarchic rivalries. In this context, a fine mastery of cultural and rhetorical norms could have proved indispensable for those who directed the diplomatic line of the kingdom. Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister between 1532 and 1540, may have been well aware of the cultural roots of the diplomatic milieu, and he could have used his correspondence with foreign interlocutors like Anne de Montmorency as a stage that dramatized diplomacy. The epistolary form holds a special place in that, unlike a conversation, it can be read again, transmitted or even used as proof, its author must therefore be fully conscious of the illocutionary undertones of their letter. This conscience can only emerge if one understands the diplomatic letter as a way of existing politically, and Cromwell, given the enormous amount of letters he wrote during his ministry, seems to have been an excellent example of a diplomatic agent using rhetorical codes to sculpt his own political persona.


Diplomats and consuls, the forgotten actors of international media circulations

Raphaëlle Ruppen Coutaz (History Department, University of Lausanne), raphaelle.ruppencoutaz@unil.ch

The diplomatic apparatus is closely linked to the history of the media at the international level. The aim of this proposal is to highlight the crucial contribution of Swiss foreign affairs officials to national media deployment at international level, using the example of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). On the 6th of May 1939, the SBC launched an international radio station to strengthen ties with Swiss expatriates and to promote the country beyond its national borders. Particularly eager for information and news concerning the country in the difficult circumstances during the Second World War, diplomats and consuls stationed abroad welcomed the establishment of such a radio service and encouraged its development. Being aware of not only the importance of informing expatriate nationals, they also felt an urgent need to make Switzerland’s position understood in a context where the country’s ambiguous attitude during the Second World War was fiercely criticised. The ability, theoretically at least, of radio to reach the masses simultaneously made the use of this medium increasingly interesting, as the importance of international public opinion was also becoming increasingly apparent in the view of the diplomatic service.

The support of Switzerland’s officials abroad ranged from the regular production of ‘listening reports’ – about the quality of reception, and the tone and presentation of programmes – to the establishment of collaborations over several years, such as the introduction of a regular information service to New York from 1941, through to the defence of the interests of public service broadcasting at major international conferences. The SBC could also rely on diplomatic and consular networks to promote the dissemination of Swiss programmes on foreign stations, e.g. through inter-embassy distribution channels. This entanglement between the media and diplomatic spheres created friction from time to time. A form of competition was taking place between the SBC and the Information and Press Service of the Department of Foreign Affairs in their information work.

The main archives consulted for this research were the archives of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, the Swiss Shortwave Service (predecessor of Swiss Radio International) and the archives of the Department of Foreign Affairs.


Journalists as Unofficial Diplomats: American Correspondents and Their Influence on U.S. Foreign Relations

Sarah B. Snyder, School of International Service, American University, Washington D.C., ssnyder@american.edu

Diplomatic historians, including historians of U.S. foreign relations, have long identified moments when foreign policy was shaped by citizens living abroad in nongovernmental roles, whether they were missionaries seeking protection during the Boxer Rebellion in China, businesspeople desiring trade with Asia, or filibusters seeking power and glory in Central America.  This paper similarly focuses on para-diplomats, the ways in which private citizens operated as unofficial or informal diplomats, and the social and cultural milieus in which they operated.  Specifically, the paper will explore how American journalists based overseas served as informal diplomats for the United States; the sites for their diplomacy literally were newsrooms and figuratively were journalistic beats.  The paper will focus on Anna Louise Strong who founded the English-language newspaper Moscow News and served as an informal mayor of the American community in interwar Moscow.  Strong’s place in the expatriate colony spanned more than a decade when the United States did not recognize the Soviet government, meaning there were no official American diplomats in the country.  Similarly, amidst the civil war in China and limited official American ties to many of the parties vying for power, American journalists such as Strong, Helen Foster Snow, and Milly Bennett served as key conduits in China.

The paper will be based on research in the extensive personal papers of Anna Louise Strong, Helen Foster Snow, and Milly Bennett, English-language newspapers such as Moscow News, and the records of the U.S. Department of State.  Beyond highlighting the contributions of less traditional diplomatic actors, journalists, the research also reveals how women, who were formally excluded from most American diplomacy, nonetheless influenced U.S. foreign relations in many ways.


Between populism and elite messaging: British public diplomacy, Irish-America and the Irish Republican Hunger Strikes, 1979-1981

Shane Brighton, Queen’s University Belfast, S.Brighton@qub.ac.uk

Britain’s effort to influence American perception of the Northern Irish Troubles (1969-1996) stands amongst the most protracted, complex and – on occasion – conflictual histories of modern public diplomacy.  This paper focuses on UK Foreign Office diplomats, information officers and consular officials in the US during the Irish Republican prison protests and hunger strikes of 1980-1981. Drawing on multiple archives, it traces the relation between analysts’ efforts to understand the social distribution of Irish diaspora politics in the US; the practices through which information officers sought to overtly and covertly counter Irish republican framing and narrative; escalation of lobbying, picketing, demonstrations and physical attacks on British consular and diplomatic spaces; and the diplomatic effort to limit the effectiveness of Irish-American lobbying on the US State Department.
On this basis, the paper considers the correlations between the situated violence of the ‘Troubles’ themselves, where British secure spaces existed alongside ‘hard areas’ violently intractable to authority and the urban populism of Irish republicanism in America.   In conclusion, it assesses the vulnerability of elite consensus in the Irish, British and American consular circuit to recurring interruption through the figures of emaciated bodies of dying Irish prisoners. While never producing the change in US policy towards Britain sought by Irish republican lobbyists, I conclude the hunger strikes introduced a significant impact on the lifeworld experience of British officials in arguably their friendliest ally, long-lasting reservation within the ‘special relationship’ and a system of relations crucial to the later politics of US engagement in the Peace Process.






PANEL 1.3.2: Diplomats and negotiation processes


Kindling Council Fires from the Bushes along the Allegheny Frontier, 1740-1758

Ryan Langton, Temple University, ryan.langton@temple.edu

Around the Allegheny frontier – the portion of the Appalachian Mountains surrounded by the Iroquois Confederacy, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Indigenous communities of the Ohio Valley – cross-cultural diplomats followed the Iroquoian practice of entering into formal diplomatic arrangements at public “council fires.” Council fires were held at specific locations and conferred heightened diplomatic and political prominence on these locations. Diplomatic agreements announced at council fires also required significant mediation “in the bushes” – a term used by Indigenous diplomats in eastern North America to describe private, often unrecorded negotiations – in order to enforce and facilitate these agreements.

This paper analyzes how cross-cultural diplomatic actors operating along the Allegheny frontier in the mid-eighteenth century drew on personal networks when enacting these spatially specific diplomatic procedures to varying levels of success. Focusing on three council fires lit at three locations – Lancaster in 1744, Logstown in 1752, and Easton in 1758 – I argue that diplomatic actors drew on networks of kin, allies, and partners “in the bushes” to nurture consensus and support among particular communities, encourage the patronage of leaders, and craft agreements confirmed at council fires that advanced their own security and status while achieving the aims of their diplomatic patrons. At first, Iroquoian and British actors succeeded at crafting arrangements around council fires and in the bushes that strengthened Iroquoian suzerainty over the neighboring Delawares and expanded the British Empire.

Overtime, British and Iroquoian diplomatic actors struggled and ultimately failed to craft agreements at council fires that mirrored the demands voiced in the bushes, which contributed to the start of the Seven Years’ War in America. Peace did not come to the Allegheny frontier until diplomatic actors, drawing on new and existing diplomatic relationships, created a diplomatic arrangement that accounted for the needs of British, Iroquois, and Delaware leaders alike.


Being the one on the spot – How Swiss and Chinese diplomats negotiated with their governments during the Cold War

Ariane Knüsel, University of Fribourg, Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland, ariane.knuesel@unifr.ch

This paper discusses the ways that Swiss and Chinese diplomats negotiated situations that clashed with their own governments’ policies and orders in the Cold War.  Until the 1970s, Swiss diplomats were among a small number of diplomats from capitalist countries in China, where the treatment of diplomats and foreign citizens/companies was often ideologically charged and where contact with Chinese citizens was heavily restricted. Their posts were made even more difficult because the Swiss government was primarily interested in trade with China while often unwilling to give in to Chinese demands about anti-Chinese press portrayals, Taiwanese diplomats or Tibetan refugees in Switzerland. As the people on the spot, they were, therefore, often forced to negotiate not only with Chinese officials but also with their own government in an effort to adapt Swiss policies to the Chinese context whenever they felt that specific orders would endanger the lives of Swiss citizens in China or that certain policies would have a detrimental effect on Chinese trade.

Likewise, Chinese diplomats in Switzerland found themselves in a country that was diametrically opposed to their own values and where anti-Chinese sentiment was at times rampant. They received training but were still unprepared for life in Switzerland and often needed quite some time to adapt to the different lifestyle. Nevertheless, some diplomats were seduced by this capitalist paradise (or hell) and were forced to undergo ideological retraining in China.


Grounds of Diplomacy – On the Nature of Politics in Geneva 1924

Oscar Nygren, Södertörn University, Oscar.nygren@sh.se

In 1924 The Geneva Protocol for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes was introduced to the League of Nations fifth assembly. The protocol was one of the most important attempts to strengthen the constitutional structure of the League in order to establish an international security as a basis for disarmament. It was affirmed unilaterally by the assembly but failed to be ratified by the British Parliament, which effectively killed the treaty.

Despite the fact that the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Erik Marks von Würtemberg (independent but in a conservative government) did not approve the Protocol in any form the Swedish delegation defied his instructions and affirmed it during the voting. The main argument for obstructing the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was that Würtemberg, who was in Sweden at the time for the final negotiations, could not understand the epoch-making atmosphere in Geneva. This paper uses the tension between Marks von Württemberg’s pessimistic worldview and the international optimism experienced by the delegation led by league veterans Hjalmar Branting, Östen Undén (social democrats) and Eliel Löfgren (liberal) in Geneva to explore the significance of location.

I use diplomatic protocols, diaries, and private correspondence as well as argumentations in the League assembly to discuss how different ideological ideas were used in the conflicts, why the diplomatic milieu in Geneva played such a big part in forming the policies and how the interaction between Ministry of Foreign Affairs and delegation affected the Swedish diplomacy of the interwar period.


PANEL 1.3.3: Concepts and memory of diplomacy


“The Whiff of Munich”: Place, memory, and policy.

Martin D. Brown, Associate Professor of International History, Brownm@richmond.ac.uk

In early February 2022 the British Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, referred to the “Whiff of Munich” emanating from certain European capitals. What exactly Wallace meant by this phrase, made in relation to the European response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is uncertain, but it had scant connection to the city itself, or to the rich historiography and long running debates surrounding the policies of Appeasement (Cato, 1939). For Wallace ‘Munich’, the location, was a mnemonic designed to resonate with certain constituencies, to promote his thesis that any negotiation with Moscow was akin to capitulation, and only a policy involving hard power could offer solutions (Brooks, 2016). He may well have been right, but it is not my objective to discuss the rectitude of the UK’s policies. Rather my aim it is to explore the ways in which locations of major diplomatic agreements, such as Vienna, Paris, Munich, Yalta, or Helsinki, are mobilised for use in the ongoing ‘memory politics / wars’ (Rothberg, 2009; David, 2020). Of course, none of this is new, it is also noticeable that while historians have identified the use of politicised myths surrounding international agreements the examination of these processes has now segued into the field of memory studies (Buffet & Heuser (eds.), 1998; Neumayer, 2018; Laruelle, 2021; Behr, 2022).  This paper argues Wallace’s utterances to illustrate a widening abysm between the public ‘memory’ of diplomatic events, as indicated by their location, their study by historians and the weaponization of these memories to support foreign policy objectives. Such cognitive gaps have become ever more apparent in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and comments made by practitioners of International Relations (offensive realism in particular) (Kissinger; Mearsheimer; Poast, 2022). While it is debatable whether ‘history’ of any type has a ‘purpose’, it would seem diplomatic history’s ability to inform, guide and shape such debates on foreign affairs is in decline, and, as some argue, might in fact have become largely irrelevant (Ford & Hoskins, 2022). That said, my purpose here is not to reject diplomatic history’s utility, but rather to ponder how it might adapt to peer more clearly through this seemingly all-consuming miasma.


Diplomacy on Ice: Freezing and Thawing in International Cooperation over Antarctica 

Joanne Yao, Queen Mary University of London, joanne.yao@qmul.ac.uk

This paper situates the diplomatic activities leading up to the 1958-9 Washington Conference and the negotiation of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) in larger cultural imaginaries of ice, scientific exploration, and planetary threat. In particular, this paper focuses on the metaphor of ‘freezing’ as a diplomatically desirable outcome for competing territorial claims in Antarctica (Scott 2011; Mancilla 2018; Yao 2021), but also explores the accompanying metaphor of ‘thawing’ and its threat to humanity and collective politics.

To do so, the paper puts formal diplomatic correspondence in conversation with popular explorers’ accounts of their voyages to Antarctica and dystopic science fiction (including Lovecraft’s 1936 At the Mountains of Madness and Campbell’s 1938 Who Goes There) of what lurks beneath the Antarctic ice. To illustrate the continuing relevance of both metaphors on Antarctic diplomacy, the paper ends with a consideration of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCMALR) established in 1982 as part of the ATS.


Indian Elements in Sculptural Art of Myanmar: A New Outlook to Explore diplomatic relations through archaeological evidences.

Vinay Kumar Rao, Jawaharlal Nehru University, vinaykrao@mail.jnu.ac.in

The evidences of Hinduism through the traders and diplomatic missions in Myanmar goes back prior to sixth century CE. Recent archaeological findings proves that there was an intense trade and cultural relation between the people of eastern part of India and Myanmar which encouraged close cultural and trade relation between the two. The Buddhist kings expressed their great respect for Hindu religious elements in various areas. There are inscriptional evidences which affirm that Sanskrit was the main lingua of astrologers and priests serving in the royal court of various kings of Myanmar. The Hindu cultural inflow was continued to Myanmar up to 16th century CE and later in Arākān and other parts of Myanmar, where many kings were seen to announce themselves as protector of subjects just like India, and incorporated attributes to Vis̩n̩u.

At present the remains of Hindu gods in form of images and temples are scattered around various parts of Myanmar. Brahmā, Vis̩n̩u and Śiva-the important gods of Hindu triads are discovered from the Pyu city of Śrikśetra and goes back to 6-7th century CE. Images of Vis̩n̩u, Gan̩eśa, Brahmā and Hanumān are discovered from Margui in Tennaserim and images of Vis̩n̩u in anantaśayin posture are found in Mon city of Thaton. The varied range of Hindu god’s images of Vis̩n̩u, Durgā, Sūrya and Śivalinga are explored from the western part of Arākān. But the political and cultural isolation of Myanmar from mainstream in present days and large followers of Buddhism has influenced adversely the preservation and conservation of Hindu images in Myanmar. At present the images of Hindu gods are displayed in Museums in ill- informed manner and many are kept in stores of Archaeological Department without proper care and information. The short of identification and information of these images could be easily filled by systematic study of various images placed in Museums of eastern India and Bangladesh which are closely connected to Myanmar.

In the proposed paper an attempt has to be made to identify and trace the origin and growth of Hindu images in Myanmar and elaborate the diplomatic relations between the two, through religious and trade relations. The paper is intended to show that how the archaeological and cultural remains are useful to understand diplomacy in present scenario.


The ‘Foreign’ in the World’s Constitutions: A Taxonomy of Diplomatic Topics

Andreas Nishikawa-Pacher, Diplomatic Academy, Vienna, andreas.pacher@da-vienna.at

Diplomacy is thematically endless; anything could become a topic of its communications. Nevertheless, the diplomatic system condensates specific topical preferences; that is, there are recurring themes that appear with higher frequency in inter-state negotiations across the globe. Can one generate a taxonomy of these topical sites of diplomacy?

By conducting a semantic analysis of the term ‘foreign’ in 183 of the world’s constitutions, and by coding these ‘foreign’-associated themes in a grounded analysis, this paper presents an attempt at generating such a taxonomic list. The result is a catalogue covering six major fields – military, hostile interference, law, trade & economy, social issues, and protocollary aspects – comprising 100 minor sub-topics. These sub-topics are highly heterogeneous; to name some examples, they include: the eligibility of dual citizenships, the forbidden foreign ownership of mass media, the passage of ships and vessels, the use of election ballots on other territories, the movement of toxic waste, the bestowal of state awards, the special ties among the Islamic umma, the support for worldwide Socialist revolutions, or the deployment of peace-keeping forces. A comparative glance at constitutional texts from the 19th century demonstrates the degree to which the ‘foreign’ has gained in topical breadth over time, possibly indicating the growing autonomy of the diplomatic system.

The taxonomy might be useful for global surveys of diplomatic semantics (e.g., for detecting homogenous structures of sovereignty across heterogeneous topic areas); for identifying neglected spots in the study of diplomacy (e.g., analyses on state awards have been largely missing despite their ubiquity); and it may serve as a starting point for further research investigating the extent to which specific themes are semantically concentrated in specific regions in distinct periods. 



PANEL 1.3.4: Cultural diplomacy, culture and science


Art as a tool for diplomacy: the case of the Kuba Kingdom in the former Belgian Congo.

Felipe Antonio Honorato, GEPHOM – EACH/University of Sao Paulo, felipe.honorato@alumni.usp.br

The Kuba Kingdom comprised more than seventeen ethnic groups united under a single leadership that lived within what is now understood as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The union of the several groups that made up the kingdom is explained by the political domination of one of them, the more numerous one: the Bashibushoong. Famous primarily for its statuary, Kuba art was the first type of art produced by an African people recognized as so in the Western world, in the early 20th century. Even though the current DRC was a colony of the Belgian State between 1908 and 1960, receiving the name of Belgian Congo, and the fact that, inside the territory, in general, a regime of colonial
exploitation closer to the French direct rule model was applied, the Kuba Kingdom had a certain autonomy and political decision-making power within its limits, living in a reality that looked more like the British indirect rule model. This had to do with the prestige that the Kuba art reached internationally: because of it, the kingdom kept close relations with several western nations and political leaders, and they exerted pressure in Belgium in favor of the African group. This article aims to analyze how Kuba art, during the period of the Belgian Congo, became a diplomatic tool of the Kuba Kingdom, allowing the kingdom to have access to a less strict colonial control than the other peoples who inhabited the current DRC. The methodology used combines bibliographic review with the exploration of Jan Vansina’s personal archives, present at the Africa Museum, in Brussels.


Security for Whom? Science Diplomacy and Security in EU-Africa Relations

Sotiris Mikros, Panteion University Athens, Department of Political Science and History, mikros.sotirios@gmail.com

In this paper, two contradictory perceptions of security in the context of EU-Africa relations are set in opposition to one another. Nowadays, diplomacy and security issues are interconnected with climate change impacts. A case in point is Madagascar. In 2021, the UN WFP cautioned that southern Madagascar could become the site of the first-ever famine caused by climate change.

The EU conceptualizes security in terms of border security, whereas the key issues for Africa have been food, water, and finally human security. These two contradictory perspectives on security yield two different perspectives on science diplomacy. Even though the EU has ranked science diplomacy as a priority, the recent history of EU-Africa relations makes clear that the EU has not considered scientific evidence as much as it should. This could be visible in the Valletta summit on Migration in 2015, while the migration crisis was at its initial peak and had affected the core of the European political discourse. In contrast, a different form of science diplomacy has emerged from the main actors, Africa’s leaders and most vulnerable populations. They do not have the western diplomatic culture but defend in terms of survival global solutions to global challenges. They use the knowledge produced mainly in western universities to point out the need for a different approach to this urgent situation.

In the era of uncertainty and risk, the gap between the vital interests of the EU and Africa has been huge. In this context, the prioritization of diplomatic aims should take place on a strong scientific basis. In conclusion, EU science diplomacy should learn from this situation to effectively manage the upcoming challenges that crucially require a strong collaborative perspective.


“A Sixteen-Inch Broadside of Soft Power”: The New York Philharmonic’s 2008 Trip to North Korea

Jonathan Rosenberg, Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, jonathan.rosenberg@aol.com

The paper examines the New York Philharmonic’s 2008 trip to North Korea. It considers the diplomatic background of this recent example of cultural diplomacy, an initiative facilitated by U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, a key figure in the Six Party Talks, which aimed to shut down the North Korean nuclear program. Along with considering the diplomatic context in which the idea for the trip developed, I will look at the planning process that preceded the journey, which brought together officials from the NY Philharmonic and representatives of the U.S. and North Korean governments. Beyond this, I will explore the following questions: What were the U.S. foreign policy objectives for the trip? To what extent did the aims of U.S. policy makers differ from those of the musicians and administrators of the New York Philharmonic? What was the nature of the debate in the United States, which pitted those supporting the Philharmonic’s trip against those who opposed it? And finally, I will reflect upon a key question raised by such initiatives: To what extent can music–classical music, particularly–help reconfigure the contours of international affairs? In short, can events on the concert stage influence developments on the world stage?


The main shaper of Hungarian cultural diplomacy: the activities of the Institute of Cultural Relations in the 1950s-1960s

Emőke Horváth, Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, hor11775@t-online.hu

After the Second World War, Hungary became part of the Soviet sphere of interest, and therefore we cannot speak of an independent Hungarian foreign policy during the Cold War. The consequence of this fact was that the Soviet Union’s relations and interests in the region were the main determining factor in shaping Hungarian foreign relations. However, the degree of Soviet dependency cannot be regarded as unchanging throughout the entire Cold War period, and continuous fluctuations can be observed in this respect. The changes can be linked both to the international political environment and to changes in the Soviet and Hungarian domestic political situation.

In my presentation I will focus on the activities of an important and distinctive institution of Hungarian diplomacy, the Institute for Cultural Relations (KKI), founded in 1949, and analyse its organisation and role in the 1950s and 1960s. Its task was to organise Hungarian cultural diplomacy on the Soviet model. It integrated and controlled the development of Hungarian cultural relations to the fullest extent.

In the 1960s, in accordance with the spirit of the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, the institution started to organise cultural and scientific contacts worldwide. The KKI organised the stays abroad of scientific, cultural, educational and artistic delegations (not at government level), and through this role it was able to keep under control scientists and artists. In my presentation, I will try to describe and analyze the process that led to the KKI’s intensive rapprochement with the Third World, particularly with Latin America.


Intellectuals and Kenya’s Diplomacy in the immediate Post-independence period

Eliud Biegon, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, eliudbiegon@gmail.com

Kenya is notable among the African countries that are termed as classic neo-colonial nation-states. Such countries exhibit the tendency of dependency in their economies, political structures, cultural attitudes (at least at elite levels) as well as their relations with former colonizers. In the case of Kenya, the kind of re-orientation required for the newly independent country to move away from her colonizer’s influence (direct or indirect) largely failed to take place. While the literature is largely settled on this characteristic of Kenya among other African countries, what has not been clearly articulated is the kind of internal contestations that were going on during the initial and decisive years of post-independence with regard to her diplomatic relations.

Through a review of published literature on the debates that were taking place among Kenyan intellectuals (and other influential non-political elites) it can be shown that while Kenya (at least at state level) was strongly allied to the UK, US and allied powers, there were robust and highly charged debates that reveal a much more fluid state of affairs with regard to her diplomacy. Moreover, these internal contests in the immediate post-independence period and the way they were concluded account for Kenya’s often ambiguous diplomatic posturing on major or controversial global issues up to the present day.



DAY 2, Friday 26th May 2023

PANEL 2.1.1: Embassies, Ministries, Diplomatic Places 1


Contested Siting and Sitting: The Official Conversations on Vietnam Peace Talks, March 1968–January 1969

Jeffrey H. Michaels, IEN Senior Fellow, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, jmichaels@ibei.org

In a move intended to initiate substantive peace talks to end the Vietnam War, US President Lyndon Johnson announced in a televised address on 31 March 1968 the partial halt to America’s bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Regarding the location of the talks, Johnson referred to ‘Geneva or any other suitable place’. Johnson’s address sparked a month–long international diplomatic effort to identify a mutually acceptable location for peace talks between the US, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front. Although Paris would eventually be selected, this was far from preordained; indeed, more than a dozen other potential locations were identified, debated and dismissed by one party or other, for various political and practical reasons. A study of the diplomatic records dealing with this topic will not only make an empirical contribution to the literature on the Vietnam peace talks, but numerous insights can also be gleaned about the impediments to choosing the sites of peace talks, and the need for diplomatic historians to devote more attention to this issue. Months later, the official conversations aimed at setting up the substantive peace talks became entangled in disagreements over the shape of the conference table. Over the course of 10 weeks (November 1968–January 1969), the infamous ‘battle of the tables’ raged as diplomats, politicians and public audiences around the world grew increasingly frustrated at the inability to move past this seemingly trivial issue to engage in more meaningful dialogue to bring peace to Vietnam.  Unfortunately, historians have only given superficial treatment to the ‘battle of the tables’ in their wider analyses of the peace talks.  Although some debate exists over the degree to which the ‘battle of the tables’ represented legitimate political concerns, or were merely a stalling tactic, historians have thus far avoided a detailed examination of the diplomatic record on this issue.


The “Modern” Prussian Embassy: Sociability and Religious Diplomacy, 1817-1856

Samuel Keeley, Forschungszentrum Europa, Universität Trier,  samuel.keeley@gmail.com

The first half of the nineteenth century, especially after Napoleon’s defeat, was an era of Prussian ascendance on the global scene. As Prussian diplomats worked to build and strengthen relationships with other European powers, their embassies became not just the sites of exchange and diplomacy, but also of consumption (and production). The embassies of this period, even in the nineteenth century, were still the sites of a distinctly personal sort of diplomacy, where networks were formed and deals were made informally, based on idiosyncratic personalities and comfortable sociability.

The Prussian diplomat Christian Carl Josias von Bunsen (b. 1791) was a lay theologian and scholar who served as Prussia’s ambassador to several countries: First, to the Vatican (1817-1838) and then to Switzerland (1839-1840) and finally to England (1840-1856). Bunsen was a deeply pious man who consistently worked to revitalize and awaken (Protestant) Christian sentiments within both church and society at large by producing re-imagined religious documents (such as liturgies, songbooks, etc).

However, far from austere or ascetic, Prussia’s embassies under Bunsen blurred the lines between private domesticity, courtly pomp, and religious revivalism. His homes and workplaces could be described as both an Enlightenment-style salon, and a jovial tavern. Bunsen’s own social and diplomatic worlds were simultaneously raucous and pious, convivial and reverent. Bible study groups would give way to well-organized parties, or late-night arguments about intellectual, theological, or political questions of the day. Given that Bunsen and his interlocutors were often influential within royal courts, these embassies existing as a “space apart” allowed these diplomats to wield outsize influence on both diplomatic and even domestic policy of their host nations.

This paper will examine several questions around the sociability that existed within the tensions of the diplomatic milieus described above. What can Bunsen’s lifestyle tell us about the role of sociability practices within nineteenth century diplomacy? How can we understand Prussia’s embassies as sites of cultural production and social networking? And how do the religious beliefs of individual diplomats intersect with the diplomatic incentives of their respective governments?


The Premises of the German Embassy in Paris Adapted to the Nazi Taste (1933-1944)

Alexandre Bibert, Institut historique allemand, Paris, abibert@dhi-paris.fr

This contribution looks at how the premises of the German diplomatic representation in Paris were affected by the political and cultural affirmation of the Third Reich. It seems indeed that regime changes imposed an adaptation of the visual programme offered to visitors and staff by embassies. For example, the Weimar Republic had the portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm II removed from the Hôtel de Beauharnais at 78 rue de Lille, but the portraits of the Prussian kings were retained.

The aim of this contribution is to explore the impact of a new regime, as well as a new aesthetic on the embassy, an Empire style building that hardly met the canons of the Nazi aesthetic.

This contribution will assess the intensity of the presence of symbols of the regime and the penetration of Nazi art in the embassy. The study of photographs, inventories, accounting records, and correspondence with Berlin kept at the archives of the German Foreign Office, and the study of the renovations undertaken and the real estate policy of the German representation between 1933 and 1944, allow to investigate the way in which a totalitarian regime projected itself abroad, but also the way in which the activity of its diplomatic staff was visually conditioned.

Between 1933 and 1944, the Third Reich had three representatives in Paris. This paper will therefore also reflect on the influence of the ambassadors, according to their political inspiration and personal taste, on the premises they occupied. As each of them had a different relationship with National Socialism (the first of them, Roland Köster, was rather hostile to Nazism), it will be possible to examine the ambassador’s room for manoeuvre in the face of the National Socialist takeover through the study of the synchronization (Gleichschaltung), not of the diplomatic staff, but of the embassy premises themselves. The death of Hindenburg and the proclamation of Hitler as Führer and Reichskanzler on 2 August 1934, as well as the French defeat of 1940, are only milestones, the consideration of which will contribute to the reflection on these questions.


Notre premier poste de ministre sera fatalement un trou’. Diplomatic postings and their place in diplomatic careers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Michael Auwers, State Archives of Belgium, University of Antwerp, michael.auwers@uantwerpen.be

In April 1911, discussing whether or not to embark upon a diplomatic career, Count André de Kerchove de Denterghem assured his wife that their career paths would go more smoothly than she might have thought: “We do not, I believe, have to fear postings too far away from Brussels, first because I will raise the spectre of leaving [the diplomatic career]. Only our first posting as minister will fatally be a hole, as well as one of our posts as secretary.” Like many young aristocrats, Kerchove clearly saw his joining the diplomatic corps as a gift to Belgian diplomacy. However, his view of a possible future in the diplomatic career also raises important questions about diplomacy as a situated activity, as operating in specific places (mostly foreign capitals), each with their specific (diplomatic) cultures. Diplomats drew and still draw a hierarchy between these places, ranking them as more or less attractive for both political, social, cultural, and sometimes more personal reasons. In this paper, I will focus on the case of the Belgian diplomatic corps, examining how these representatives of a small and – for most of the period under scrutiny – nominally neutral state appreciated the various postings that they were sent to, and why this was the case. Taking into consideration the long timespan from Belgium’s rise as an imperial power in the 1880s until its partaking in the multilateral and bipolar world of the Cold War’s early stages, will allow to chart the evolution in these preferences under the influence of two world wars, which entailed fundamental changes in diplomatic culture and in the states system.


PANEL 2.1.2: Diplomacy on the margins: Non-ambassadorial actors and spaces of diplomacy in the long eighteenth century


Kristine Dyrmann, Aarhus University/ University of Oxford, Kristine.dyrmann@cas.au.dk

Tessa de Boer, Leiden University, t.w.m.de.boer@hum.leidenuniv.nl


Panel abstract:

One of the key innovations brought forth by new diplomatic history is the increased interest in diplomatic actors that fall (just) outside of the traditional mold: male, high-ranking, and particularly, endowed with an official diplomatic accreditation and mission. Broadening the range of studied actors has revealed two major conjectures in early modern diplomatic history. Firstly, the diplomatic corps beyond ‘the ambassador’ was responsible for a significant share of diplomatic activity overall, revealing layers of diplomatic history and practice that were previously understudied or unknown; secondly, the non-diplomats in the close (professional or personal) environment of ‘the ambassador’ could exercise a tremendous influence on his actions and decisions, and therefore on early modern diplomacy and international relations at large.

This panel builds upon this general interest in ‘non-ambassadors’. Our principal aim is to establish and illustrate the width of actor typologies that were found on the margins of ‘traditional’ early modern diplomacy: those who were close, but just outside of official designations or accreditations for different reasons. Servants and embassy staff were integral to the running of embassies, while ambassadors’ family members, or indeed female salonnières who held no diplomatic titles, organized dinner parties or participated in diplomatic sociability in a range of settings. In cities where no official embassy was present, a merchant might step into the role of representative. Religious actors, travelers and representatives of the arts might perform diplomatic tasks during stays abroad. We explore the dynamic between these actors’ self-appointed roles and the way institutions or society at large regarded them. To what extent did they conceive of themselves as diplomatic agents (having a permeable role in international relations), to what extent did they openly present themselves or offer their services as such, and to what extent did society go along with this? We strive to assess what factored into this dynamic: what commonalities, if any, are to be found in actors on the margins of diplomacy, and what does this reveal about the way diplomacy was conceived of in early modern thought and practice?

In response to the conference’s theme, we are particularly interested in the space and settings that these actors on the margins of diplomacy occupied. On the margins of diplomacy, the embassy chambermaid’s bedroom, a salon, a merchant’s office, a church or a traveling coach is suddenly transformed into an audience chamber, or the dinner table might become a site of negotiation. We are, moreover, also interested in the figurative spaces of diplomacy offered by literature, art, and philosophy. Indeed, these ‘spaces’ could also be the chosen and intended outlets of diplomatic ambitions, and inspire concrete action on the international stage. Thus, alongside the wide range of actors, we seek to elucidate the wide spatial (literal-figurative) spread in which they were found.


Chair & discussant

Cathleen Sarti, University of Oxford, Cathleen.sarti@history.ox.ac.uk


Individual paper abstracts:


Young travellers on a mission

Alan Moss, Dutch National Archives, mossalan@gmail.com

In the early modern period, elite Dutch families often sent their sons as gentilhommes on a diplomatic mission abroad, an attractive alternative to the traditional, yet highly expensive Grand Tour to Italy and France. This paper investigates how these young men of means reflected on the diplomatic mission in their personal, handwritten travelogues and poetry, focusing in particular on the pomp and circumstance bestowed upon their diplomatic retinue.


Anything but a consulate: the strange case of Franco-Dutch non-consulates in the eighteenth century

Tessa de Boer, Leiden University, t.w.m.de.boer@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Several Franco-Dutch treaties in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century agreed to limit the mutual exchange of diplomats to only ambassadors in respectively Paris and The Hague. Other diplomatic establishments and posts, most prominently consulates, were to cease operations. However, as commercial ties between the two countries in the 18th century remained prominent, the need for consular services did only augment. This paper assesses the emergence of various ‘unofficial’ consulates in Dutch and French port cities. It analyzes the variety of organizational forms and actors found in these pseudo-consulates – primarily merchants – and situates them in their respective diplomatic, social, political and economic spaces.


Confessional spaces: chaplains, priests, and embassy chapels in eighteenth-century diplomacy

Charlotte Backerra, University of Göttingen, Charlotte.backerra@uni-goettingen.de

In the eighteenth century, most diplomatic households included chaplains or priests to take care of the spiritual needs of the household, and to provide moral or secretarial support to the ambassador or envoy. Especially in confessional environments different from the religious denomination of the diplomat and/or his patron (monarch), the building also had a chapel or a designated prayer room to allow for religious services within the embassy building and therefore outside of the host country’s jurisdiction. But the religious personnel as well as the chapels also provided the opportunity to support members of one’s own confession in the city by opening the building for people living in the surrounding areas and by priests and chaplains giving spiritual support to those living outside the embassy. In some cases, religious personnel were also involved in further activities, such as teaching or secret negotiations, mostly doubly protected by their status as clergy and members of a diplomatic household.

This paper will ask for the confessional spaces in eighteenth-century diplomacy by looking at various case studies throughout Europe. The role of clergy as well as the uses of embassy chapels will be used to show the essential role religion still played in the background of seemingly non-confessional diplomacy.


The salon as a diplomatic space: Charlotte Schimmelmann’s salon in Copenhagen during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars

Kristine Dyrmann, University of Aarhus/University of Oxford, Kristine.dyrmann@cas.au.dk

Denmark-Norway remained on the margins of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars that ravaged the European continent between the French revolution and the Congress of Vienna, but the conglomerate kingdom changed its foreign policy from one of armed neutrality in the 1790s, to active participation in the war on Napoleon’s side, particularly after the Second Battle of Copenhagen in 1807. Charlotte Schimmelmann (1757-1816) is known as a salonnière in Danish historiography, and as a Maecenas of the Arts who hosted dinners, concerts, and teas at her townhouse in Copenhagen in the 1790s through to the 1810s. She was, moreover, also the wife of the Danish finance minister, and the sister of a diplomat. Turning our gaze from the artistic side of the salon to its political implications, this paper focuses on Charlotte Schimmelmann’s connections with the international diplomatic corps, examining how her Copenhagen salon functioned as a diplomatic space in Copenhagen during the wars.

Charlotte Schimmelmann managed to combine her reputation, connections and status as the Danish finance minister’s wife into a position of political agency. A close reading of her original and unabridged correspondence shows that the salonnière organized “diplomatic dinners” for the international diplomatic corps in Copenhagen, allowing her to collect and disseminate information to foreign representatives.

The ruling Danish crown prince and later king (Frederik 6, 1768-1838, ruling as king from 1808) moved the government’s headquarters to Kiel after the First Battle of Copenhagen in 1801, but the foreign diplomatic corps in Copenhagen would remain in the capital, where the finance minister’s wife continued to host her dinners, while keeping a correspondence with her husband and family members in Kiel. Drawing on her connection to the Danish representative in the Netherlands, Herman Schubart, who was also her brother, and in partnership with her husband, the salonnière actively engaged in political conversation. Demonstrating a close connection between elite sociability, female political agency and international diplomacy, this case study has wider implications for our understanding of late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century salon as an informal diplomatic space – on the margins of formal diplomacy, and on the margins of the war.



PANEL 2.1.3: Diplomacy and the International Governance of Waterways in the 19th Century

Panel abstract:

Concerns around the governance of waterways preoccupied 19th century diplomats and led to the creation of some of the earliest international organizations (IOs) and international expert commissions. Institutions such as the European Commission of the Danube were created by governments to better exploit these waterways for transport and commercial navigation. It is possible to simply explain their creation by the mutual economic and strategic benefits of international cooperation. However, this panel seeks to expose deeper meanings and purposes by analyzing four different examples of 19th century waterways. First, the panel will do so by considering the geographical sites of these institutions. Many of them were located on the fringes of Europe, leading to them, or dealing with them. Some were located in empires considered sovereign, but targeted by western imperialism. An analysis of these sites, their institutions and the membership of these institutions provides a better understanding of global hierarchies. A second approach is to look at waterways as environmental sites whose natural forces were sought to be “tamed,” shipwreck prevented, and lives saved for economic, but also moral benefits – a civilizational achievement and proof of sovereignty. These moral justifications point to a third, intellectual history approach of this panel.

Discussant: Joanne Yao, joanne.yao@qmul.ac.uk, Queen Mary University of London


Individual papers:

Lukas Schemper, schemper@zfl-berlin.org, Leibniz Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin (co-organizer and contact), Sovereignty, International Organization, and the Moral Economy of Saving Lives at Sea in the Ottoman Empire

The Black Sea Lifeboat Service (1866-1918), which consisted of lifesaving stations on the European and Asian coasts leading to the Bosporus, operated exclusively on Ottoman territory, its staff was Turkish, but it was ultimately managed by an IO composed of western delegates. As lifesaving is usually a sovereign function, this led to tensions between the Sublime Porte and European governments. These tensions are a prism through which European attitudes towards Ottoman sovereignty can be analyzed. Further, this case raises questions about such institutions as vehicles for imperialist and commercial agendas.


Joep Schenk, j.schenk@uu.nl, University of Utrecht: The Berlin West-Africa Conference 1884/5, the Role of Non-diplomats and the Political Narrative of the Congo River

This paper focuses on the Berlin West-Africa Conference (1884/5) and the role of non-diplomats in the formation of the Final Act. There are several international “expert communities” that are central here, namely the legal experts, the commercial experts and the “exploratory” experts, those that had actually been in Africa. The paper would explore the “expert” narratives in relation to, and in the context of the more conventional diplomatic narratives, with analytical foci on “neutrality”, and “the common good” establishing a specific political narrative on the imperial river, the Congo.


Ellen Jenny Torgersen Ravndal, ellen.ravndal@uis.no, University of Stavanger (co-organizer): Empire and the Origins of Global Governance: The Case of the International Commission for the Cape Spartel Lighthouse

Until the mid-20th century empires were the dominant political entity in international relations. Many of the institutions and norms we now see as core features of modern international relations first emerged during this time, among them international (intergovernmental) organisations (IOs). IOs today by definition have sovereign states as members, indeed IO membership may confer sovereign status on aspiring state entities. But in the 1860s when the first modern IOs (the international public unions) were founded, it would be more accurate to think of them as “inter-imperial organizations”. What legacy has this period of imperialism left on the institutions and norms of the international system? This paper focuses on a case study of the International Commission for the Cape Spartel Lighthouse. Established in 1865 as a practical solution for dealing with great power rivalries in Morocco and the pressing need for a lighthouse on the southern shore of the Straits of Gibraltar, the International Commission remained in operation until Morocco gained full independence in 1956. The paper argues that international commissions such as this formed an important part of 19th century great power management, and explores how the genesis of IGOs was intimately linked to politics of empire and imperialism.



PANEL 2.1.4: Negotiating the Public and Private in Postwar New York

Panel abstract:

This panel explores how New York—its material geographies, cultures, power relations and spatial networks—shaped postwar diplomacy. Specifically, the panel zooms in on how international actors located in postwar New York connected and negotiated public and private spheres. It is our contention, that how the borders between the two were (re)constructed reveals some of the core traits about the broader diplomatic order it sustained.


Individual presentations:

Dexter Fergie (Northwestern University): dexter.fergie@u.northwestern.edu

“(United Nations) Parents Just Don’t Understand: Raising International Children in New York”

The UN drew thousands of foreigners to New York City and its suburbs. For them, US power was not a distant abstraction, but rather an intimate force that shaped how they spoke, dressed, loved, and laboured. This paper focuses on the experiences of UN parents and children in New York. Many children from around the world felt the lure of Americanization, while many parents felt a need to insulate their family from the pressures to assimilate. Examining their experiences raises questions of how American power exerted itself within US borders.

Myriam Piguet (Université de Genève): Myriam.Piguet@unige.ch

“The Secretariat of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW): gendered norms and the integration of women to international bureaucracy”

Exploring the lives of the two UN officials Sophie Grinberg Vinaver and Rasil Basu, this paper focuses on the ways the secretariat the CSW struggled for its existence. It maps its precarious position in the UN system and argues that despite the fact that women’s rights later became a soft power topic for the US and the USSR, it was not fully considered as such in the early UN days. This allowed the CSW’s secretariat to evolve without being pressured by the cold war atmosphere.

Haakon A. Ikonomou (University of Copenhagen): ikonomou@hum.ku.dk

“The old world and the new: Prestige, networks and institution-building in postwar New York”

This paper investigates how the revival of old institutions (like the Hague Academy) and the creation of new ones (like the UN Secretariat) sustained old diplomatic networks, while at the same time altering the webs of prestige following the WWII. Uncovering how the Greek League-turned-UN Official Thanassis Aghnides manoeuvred between his longstanding, European diplomatic relationships, and the new nodes of power in New York, it highlights the importance of personal relationships in linking the old world and the new.

Discussant: Glenda Sluga (European University Institute): glenda.sluga@eui.eu


PANEL 2.2.1: Roundtable panel: Comparing early modern diplomatic sites and why it matters


Panel abstract:

Convenor: Birgit Tremml-Werner, Linnaeus University, birgit.tremmlwerner@lnu.se


Lisa Hellman (SCAS Uppsala/Lund University, lisa.hellman@hist.lu.se), Stefan Eklöf Amirell (Linnaeus University), Zoltán Biedermann (University College London), Christina Brauner (Tübingen University), Norifumi Daito (The University of Tokyo), Fuyuko Matsukata (The University of Tokyo), João Melo (PO Sevilla), Birgit Tremml-Werner (Linnaeus University)


New Diplomatic History is increasingly global. For early modern diplomacy, the global turn is closely linked to an increasing number of studies shedding light on the role of local practices in sustained pluri-vocal, cross-confessional, and inter-continental diplomatic exchange. One route to bring these sites together into a novel, shared – indeed global narrative, is to apply comparison to assess the nature of diplomatic engagement in local spaces between 1400 and 1800. Comparison as a method is not without its shortcomings, however, as scholars working on diplomatic relations in Europe, East Asia, and Africa have pointed out. The criticism includes lingering Eurocentrism, bias due to unequal knowledge of the specificities of local contexts, and the tendency to manipulate the items for comparison. This roundtable tackles this challenge facing new diplomatic history when going global.

Bringing together leading scholars in early modern global diplomacy, this roundtable enables a dialogue between historians working on cross-cultural diplomacy in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Firmly grounded in the empirical data of the localized diplomacy in Central Asia, Tokugawa Japan, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asian sultanates, the roundtable will explore the larger issues by addressing questions such as:

How did the local diplomatic sites reflect the changing global landscape of early modern inter-polity relations?

How did local practices affect negotiation patterns?

How can such sites be compared in a non-biased and balanced manner?



PANEL 2.2.2: France and the cities of European multilateral diplomacy


This panel will focus on analyzing French conceptions about spatial organization of European multilateral diplomacy from the 1950s to the 1980s. Founding member of NATO then initiator of the main organizations of European integration (ECSC, EEC, etc.), France played a leading role in European diplomacy throughout the Cold War and, as a result, always wanted to make its voice heard when it came to choosing and organizing the host cities of Western institutions as well as major international negotiations.

Three bodies will be privileged here: NATO, the European Parliament and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). For each of them, the French political authorities sought to orient the collective decisions of attribution of these organizations and conferences according to their own interests, with a key question systematically raised: the impact of the establishment of these institutions on the organization of the French territory and of French representatives, whether they were elected or diplomats. Paris’ goal was to insert French space into the Western, European and pan-European institutional network by respecting the foreign policy choices of the Fourth and Fifth Republics, but also the orientations of domestic policy.

The panel will present those interactions between external issues and internal priorities, focusing on the one hand on the territorial impact of the European Parliament on Strasbourg, on the other hand on the implications of NATO’s departure from France, finally on the reasons for French support for the candidatures of Helsinki, Geneva, Belgrade and Madrid to host the CSCE in the years 1970-1980.



Nicolas Badalassi, Sciences po Aix-en-Provence, nicolas.badalassi@sciencespo-aix.fr

Birte Wassemberg, Sciences po Strasbourg, birte.wassenberg@unistra.fr

Frédéric Gloriant, Nantes University,


PANEL 2.2.3: Paradiplomacy and non-state actors


Tommaso Portinari, a Florentine merchant and his relational network at the service of diplomacy, between Bruges and London.

Imma Petito, History Vrije Universiteit Brussel / University of Salerno, imma.petito@vub.be, ipetito@unisa.it

This paper will analyse the complex of relations between the kingdom of England and Florence, from the second half of the fifteenth century to the early sixteenth century, through the profiles of some Florentine agents involved in diplomatic and para-diplomatic activities in London. The focus on this precise chronological period derives from the choice of wanting to contribute to illuminating the multiple forms and expressions of the English Euro-Mediterranean relations (widely discussed and known in respect of Burgundy, France or the Netherlands) and to highlight the peculiarities of the link between the kingdom and the major Italian powers, also reflecting on the extraordinary institutional, cultural and economic situation that affected the European state context in that period.

It will involve – using published and unpublished sources, preserved among the major Italian, English and European archives – the exploration and, if possible, the reconstruction of the different profiles of individuals, paths and spaces, places and the forms of communication, perception and cultural contact.

The aim of this paper is to explore the space and the operating protagonists of these connections, therefore to:
– study the quality of the connections they establish;
– represent the places, the social and cultural milieus within which they operated;

– investigate the practices of diplomacy and mediation in general;
– examine the impact of the foreign world on different individuals.
The investigation proposes to reconstruct the most significant moments and aspects of the relationships between these powers and will develop a comparative perspective focused on cultural history, languages, communication, perception of spaces, characters and, therefore, on the discursive and cultural dimension of these connections.


Puerto Rico within and beyond the USA (1950-2020): a mutually constitutive but ambivalent (para)diplomatic assemblage

Noé Cornago, University of the Basque Country, noe.cornago@ehu.eus, Julio Ortiz-Luquis, Montclair State University, jortiz-luquis@consultant.com

This paper delves into the hidden but mutually constitutive nature of Puerto Rico and USA constitutional orders across historical time, the precarious foundations of its formal relationship, and their enduring but estranged mutual self-images. Based in a combination of written sources and original interviews, this interpretative work aims at elucidating the contours of contested territorial (para)diplomacies within the context of self-determination, colonialism, and hegemonic transition, underlining its intrinsic ambivalences. Puerto Rican paradiplomacies have been often used to reinforce the territorial and asymmetric nature of the Puerto Rico-USA relation, but sometimes also to challenge it, showing its limitations and dysfunctionalities.

Puerto Rican paradiplomacies have revealed also a desire to emulate, follow and promote United States’ diplomacy while affirming a distinctive will of political autonomy. Sometimes these efforts were deactivated not to challenge US State Department regional geopolitical designs, but other times was carefully designed and implemented to claim distance from the United States foreign policy. United States’ diplomacy and Puerto Rico’s paradiplomacy form an ‘assemblage of (para)diplomacy’ that can be considered in its totality, that deserves to be considered in its own terms. That ambivalence, with its corresponding practices, discourses, techniques and (para)diplomatic personalities, is observable in the combination of progresses and regressions, and the succession of expressions of dissent and consent, escapes to mainstream diplomatic theoretical and practical grammars, but is the trademark of paradiplomacies in colonial settings in which huge territorial and socio-economic asymmetric realities prevail across time.


Palestinian city diplomacy, between development strategies and the municipalization of foreign policy

Marion Lecoquierre, University of Helsinki, marion.lecoquierre@helsinki.fi

This communication focuses on city diplomacy in Palestine. It discusses the strategies deployed by various Palestinian municipalities (notably Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem) to strengthen their presence and influence on the international scene and obtain political and financial support through their involvement in bilateral cooperation agreements and transnational networks. It is based on fieldwork carried out in 2019 and 2022 in the West Bank, and on interviews with various representatives of municipalities in charge of international relations, Palestinian institutions such as the Ministry of Local Government and the Association of Palestinian Local Authorities, but also with partner institutions, particularly French ones, such as the RCDP (Network for Decentralized Cooperation with Palestine).

This parallel diplomacy (or “paradiplomacy”) raises the question of the possibilities offered by international relations conceived as being “people to people,” not depending solely on institutions and potentially allowing greater freedom of action and speech. This communication questions a possible municipalization of Palestinian foreign policy in a context marked by the Israeli occupation and a significant territorial fragmentation, as well as strong criticisms towards the Palestinian Authority and its institutions.


Thompson and ‘the Pirates’: a para-diplomatic actor and the ‘True translation’ of the first asymmetric treaty with the Trucial States (1820)

Gianpietro Sette, University of Turin, gianpietro.sette@unito.it

In the scenario of the recently ended Napoleonic wars and with the new importance acquired by the Persian Gulf in the balance of power between England and France, a young officer, Thomas P. Thompson, was decisive in the de-piratisation of the Persian Gulf that took place in the second decade of the 19th century.

After the alternating fortunes of his first experiences in the navy and as a colony governor in Sierra Leone, Thomas Perronet Thompson was initially sent to Bombay, where he was a direct witness of the 3rd Anglo-Maratha War (1817-1818), and secondly (around 1820), took his office in the Persian Gulf, where the Wahhabi threat from the Hijaz was creating serious problems to the Sultan of Oman, an important British ally, and was beginning to pose a challenge to the stability of the region.

Here, thanks to his knowledge of the Arabic language, as aide and interpreter of General Keir of the 17th Light Dragoons, he was charged with negotiating and drafting the treaty that put an end to the piratical activities of the Qawasim tribe(s) in 1820, along with its ‘True Translation’. The main signatories of this treaty were Keir and Thompson for the British (on behalf of the East Indian Company) while for the ‘pirates’ the designated representatives were Sheikhs Hassan ben Rahman and Karib ben Ahmad.

Through a comparison of the two treaties and an examination of Lorrimer’s Gazzetteer, some documents preserved in the British Library/Qatar Digital Library, and The London Gazzette, this small episode sheds new light on the great changes that were taking shape in the geo-politics of the time. Furthermore, the British presence in the Gulf became more solid after the confrontation with the pirates and proved to be fundamental for ‘defending’ India and connecting it even more directly and permanently to the Mediterranean (that, in a few years, would be de-piratised as well).


PANEL 2.2.4: Embassies, Ministries, Diplomatic spaces 2


Modern Montenegrin diplomacy: two epochs, similar obstacles?

Boris Vukićević, University of Montenegro, borisvukicevic@ucg.ac.me

The modern Montenegrin state (1878-1918) lacked a developed democratic political culture, an efficient administrative apparatus, and, above all, human (a minimal number of people with higher education) and financial resources – which influenced its diplomacy. As a result, Montenegro had only four diplomatic representations abroad, with Prince/King Nicholas being the most important diplomat. It also heavily relied on the support of a broad network of honorary consuls and on the help of other countries (Russia and Austria-Hungary) to manage consular affairs.

After taking part in very strong and well-developed diplomacy of former Yugoslavia (around 80 ambassadors of socialist Yugoslavia came from Montenegro), Montenegro could finally build a diplomatic-consular network of its own after the 2006 referendum on independence. Of course, international affairs have changed significantly, but it still faces many obstacles comparable to the former Kingdom’s diplomacy. The lack of a democratic culture means that partitocracy is omnipresent, without an efficient and professional network, as diplomacy is primarily seen as a means of satisfying party interests. The long rule of Milo Đukanović as hop-on-hop-off prime minister/president meant that he was the foremost diplomat, and his ad hoc diplomacy was sidelining the Foreign Ministry. The lack of funds also means Montenegro still doesn’t have permanent representatives in some important countries. Again, there is an extensive network of honorary consuls and agreements on consular help by others (Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey).

The personal political influence of the leading politicians, budgetary restrictions, lack of human resources and a value-based system of promotion, relying on ad hoc diplomacy, honorary consuls and support from other countries remain characteristics of Montenegrin diplomacy well into the 21st century.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal during the Constitutional Monarchy (1834-1910). Administrative reform and diplomatic career.

Júlia Korobtchenko, University of Lisbon, projectohistoria2010@gmail.com

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal was greatly transformed with the advent of the Constitutional Monarchy (1834-1910). The effort to modernize, and to assume the implementation of the modern/rational administrative system led to a legislative effort of administrative reform. This process was characterized by the reorganization of the organic and functional structure of the Secretariat of State, by the functional specialization, the bureaucratization of the dispatch system, the organization of the personnel boards and professional career within the institution, the professionalization (meritocracy) and the organization of the foreign network of diplomatic legations and consulates.

The transition process of the internal organic structure of the Secretariat of State from a horizontal model of subsequent departments, organized by a geographical logic, gave place to a hierarchical structure in a vertical model, divided in two great thematic areas of work: the General Department of Politics and Diplomacy and the General Department of Commerce and Consular Affairs. These two General Departments were later also subdivided in sub-departments and sections. This way it was evidenced the functional specialization and labor division. The board of personnel was organized by a hierarchic model classified by class and categories, multiplying the levels of career ascension, and resulting in the emergence of a professional career. One of the most important measures introduced was the meritocratic model of recruitment based on a public service exam.

From the model of public administration management, we took on the fundamental question, and ultimate function of the institution, which is the administration of the Foreign Policy. The network of diplomatic legations and consulates was adapted to the necessities of the century of economic, technologic, ideologic and commercial progress. Portugal, as an integral part of the European model in expansion, in a period of high imperialism shaped its external representation to its own constraints and national interests. On one hand, Portugal lived a severe economic and financial crisis, on the other hand there was a need to defend the patrimonial, historic and geopolitical heritage and, at the same, the will to be integrated in the international community, in the concert of Europe.

Diplomacy and its executive corps (diplomatic corps) was in tune with the political, social and economic transformations of the 19th century. Without loosing its aristocratic composition, this social corps redefined its own identity. Come into play factors, not only, of social status, but also, of political interests. It is without a doubt a social elite at the service of the constitutional regime in which the ideals of the old aristocracy (already shattered during the 18 century) give way to a new titular nobility, with the possibility of social ascension by the diplomatic service.

The diplomatic field, during this time, had a very strong connection to the political and administrative elite. The diplomats were present at the benches of Parliament, fought in the war for the interests of their country and maintained closely linked to the law, judiciary and humanities fields. Several high political personalities went into the diplomatic practice and, vice-versa, the diplomats were appointed to ministerial and governmental positions. Notwithstanding, the process of professionalization lead to the emergence of the career diplomat with a path from the recruitment to promotion to a higher rank, with rights to temporary leave, fixed income and retirement.

In this manner, we present a study of the institutional organization and personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, in the scope of almost a century, focusing on the aspects of transition into modernity.


Baltic Appeal to the United Nations and the failed attempt to spread anti-colonial self-determination to Europe, 1965-1971

Kaarel Piirimae, University of Tartu/University of Helsinki, kaarel.piirimae@ut.ee

This paper is the first to subject the activities of the Baltic Appeal to the United Nation (BATUN), one of the best known political organizations (and NGOs) in the history of the Baltic diaspora, to scholarly scrutiny. It focuses on the first period of BATUN from 1965 to 1971, when the organization campaigned to link the issue of the self-determination of Baltic peoples to decolonization – both as a norm recently established by the UN and a political practice exercised under UN supervision. It studies how BATUN fought to spread decolonization from the white-dominated colonial world across the “colour line” into Europe, and why the crusade failed and brought about a change in BATUN’s strategy. In the second period since 1971, BATUN abandoned decolonization and approached the Baltic question as an issue of human rights, adopting campaign tactics that aligned with the ongoing human rights revolution and the rise of NGOs. The paper ends by suggesting that BATUN may have been in the forefront of that global movement of the 1970s.


The Problem-Solving Workshop as an Evolving “Diplomatic Place”

Peter Jones and Julia Palmiano Federer, The Ottawa Dialogue, Peter.Jones@uottawa.ca, julia.palmianofederer@uottawa.ca

One of the long-standing techniques of Track Two/Multitrack Diplomacy is known as the “Problem-Solving Workshop” (PSW).  This is typically a small-group discussion wherein an experienced dialogue facilitator (known as the “third party”) works with a select group of informal representatives of the conflict parties to shift their discourse from zero-sum bargaining towards problem-solving.  This is intended to produce new insights and understandings which can then be “transferred” to broader audiences in hopes of positively affecting the trajectory of the conflict.  The PSW is thus a “diplomatic place.”

Traditionally, the third party plays an impartial role, concerned with creating the setting and managing the discussion to promote new thinking.  The needs and issues which arise in facilitating such an approach have been studied for some years.  In recent years, some researchers and practitioners have taken the view that the third party has an obligation to steer the conversation towards greater “inclusion,” such as greater participation by women and other groups traditionally under-represented in elite-level diplomacy, and be more oriented to promoting the dissemination of certain norms (such as human rights, for example).  Thus, the idea of the PSW is, for many, becoming seen as a place of advocacy.

This paper will examine this change and consider what it means for the PSW as a “diplomatic place” in unofficial peacemaking.  Questions to be addressed include: Do our understandings of what the PSW is and how it should be conducted require significant changes?  Can a PSW play both roles, or must it necessarily choose?  What does this evolution mean for the larger field of unofficial peacemaking?


PANEL 2.3.1: Early Modern Ideas, Objects and Practices in Eurasian Royal Courts, 1600- 1800


Panel abstract:

This panel examines Asian royal courts as sites of cultural and material exchanges in encounter and comparison with European courts and its intermediaries from 1600 to 1800. These exchanges reflected and shaped day-to-day as well as broader ideas, norms, and practices of early modern diplomacy.  

In line with recent debates on the need to develop a more global and multicentric understanding of diplomatic history and pay greater attention to emplaced actors and diversified linguistic and courtly settings (Subrahmanyam, 2012; Tremml-Werner et al., 2020: 186), the four papers will address courtly encounters across Eurasia.  

These papers are united in their explorations of how authority was communicated and how intercultural relations were forged and will investigate the extent of shared symbolic values attached to objects, the importance of knowledge about gift-giving rituals, hierarchies, and strategies in negotiating desirable outcomes, as well as the role of local intermediaries.  

All four papers adopt different approaches, ranging from case studies to broader connective and comparative frameworks. Bringing these different approaches together provides a space to reflect upon the concepts, terminologies and methodologies that historians have used and interrogates the role of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in driving diplomatic ideas and practices (Clulow and Mostert, 2018), the socio-political forces that shaped dynamics of diplomatic relations, and whether these can help us understand core features of encounters on a global scale (Sowerby, 2017: 3).  

This panel provides thus a more nuanced emphasis on the global dimensions of early modern courtly practices and offers new insights into how Asian courts functioned as sites of cultural diplomacy.  


Individual Paper Abstracts:

Khoo, B.J.Q. , ben-kjq@nus.edu.sg, Reassessing the 1686 Dutch Embassy to the Qutb Shahi Court

This paper revisits the embassy raised by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to the Qutb Shahi court in 1686. It shows that the negotiations between court and company demonstrate a tango of improvisation to de-escalate conflict that was ultimately and unfortunately thwarted by temporisation, intransigence, and the need for a spurious preservation of honour. A closer look sheds light as well on the intrigues in Golkonda on the eve of Mughal conquest and provides fresh observations on the failure of communication in the diplomatic contact zone.

Naisupap, P. , p.naisupap@hum.leidenuniv.nl, Dutch-Asian Elephant Diplomacy in the Early Modern Period, 1600-1800

One of the practices that the Dutch were involved with Asian partners was elephant gift-giving, both as giver and recipient. This paper explores Dutch-Asian elephant diplomacy and the socio- cultural foundations behind diplomatic scenes. It argues that gift-giving diplomacy was not only about exchange of exotica and transfer or change of the gifts’ meanings from one place toanother but also highlights the shared values both diplomatic parties mutually understood.

Sinha, N. , n.sinha@hum.leidenuniv.nl, Hoarding Gifts: Collections and Diplomacy at the Mughal and Habsburg Courts

The Habsburgs and Mughals are both well-known world powers that received and bestowed gifts and amassed large collections of precious material and visual objects. While the courts of Mughal emperor Jahangir and the Habsburg Rudolf II display a particularly strong propensity for collection, they have rarely been seen as political actors who took part in a complex early modern gift diplomacy across Eurasia. This paper investigates this phenomenon and offers some preliminary hypotheses.

Susanto, M. , m.susanto@hum.leidenuniv.nl, Valuing Medical Knowledge at the Kandyan Court, 1716-17

This paper analyses visits by surgeons of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to the court of King Sri Vira Parakrama Narendra Sinha between 1716 and 1717. While the VOC leveraged medical knowledge for commercial interests, the Kandyan king valued it for health reasons and as a show of status. This paper suggests that divergent values accorded to medical knowledge find commensurability in such courtly exchanges.



PANEL 2.3.2: Embassies, Ministries, Diplomatic spaces 3


“With blessings and well-wishes.” The Swedish diplomats’ micro-mobility during the early decades of the 18th century

Emma Forsberg, Lund University, emma.forsberg@hist.lu.se

For a long time, international relations and diplomacy heavily relied on the mobility of diplomats. As a result, their practices, experiences, and period-specific norms were formed and created around these spaces. Today scholarship on diplomatic places, sites and institutions has broadened our knowledge of how diplomacy functioned through its history. Earlier research has shown that from the peace of Westphalia in 1648, diplomatic practices transformed and entered a professionalisation process, formed in tandem with physical diplomatic practices and theoretical diplomatic writings.

This paper will place itself in the middle of this process during the early decades of the 18th century and focus on the Swedish diplomats abroad. By analysing two reports of diplomatic audiences, this paper will discuss something this author has termed micro-mobility, the movement within a situated diplomatic space, and how this space was used for displays of power and friendship from both the attendee and the host. A restrictive diplomatic architecture can be seen through how historical actors managed access within a specific space. It is, however, only through the analysis of the diplomats’ movements within this space that we can understand the ritualistic properties and practices expected and enacted. Therefore, this paper will aim to answer the question; How did the diplomats navigate the diplomatic spaces they encountered?


Britain’s Mobile Legation in Japan, 1865-67″

Michael Trull, Cardiff University, trullmj@cardiff.ac.uk

The nature of mid-nineteenth century Japanese politics means that it is more accurate to describe Anglo-Japanese diplomacy as a relationship between Britain and one major power, the Tokugawa Shogunate, alongside many numerous minor ones, the Daimyō, rather than a strict binary relationship. This split presented both Britain and Japan more widely with a diplomatic challenge. The Shogunate understandably monopolised all diplomatic relations with the outside world to further legitimise itself as the sole polity of Japan. It vehemently shut out the Daimyō from having any presence or power in the recently opened treaty ports spread along Japan’s coast. By 1865 there existed an ever-growing desire among British diplomats to make contact with the Daimyō and escape the geographical restrictions placed upon them.

My presentation will show how Britain broke free of their diplomatic entrapment by transforming Royal Navy ships into mobile legations. British diplomats successfully took back their diplomatic agency by uprooting their own diplomatic space and adapting it to meet the needs of their present locale. By engaging with the Daimyō more formally as diplomatic equals, Britain was able to initiate more positive, subliminal diplomacy that could then flatter and impress. The ship became a more versatile diplomatic space where diplomats could effectively sell British power and prestige to the geographically spread and diplomatically excluded Daimyō.

The ramifications of this argument are twofold. We will have a better understanding of how Britain successfully expanded and rapidly evolved its diplomatic foothold across Japan during this period, and more generally also see how diplomatic spaces are not always static, fixed positions, but rather places that can be shaped and challenged by diplomatic actors themselves.


From Dresden 1850/51 to Frankfurt 1863: The German Confederation’s Conferences. On the Symbolic Life of a Failing Organisation

Michael Jonas, Helmut Schmidt University/Hamburg, mjonas@hsu-hh.de

The paper intends to explore the spatial, ceremonial, and symbolic dimension of the conference life of the German Confederation. Its emphasis rests with the final period of the organisation’s existence, from the Dresden conference of 1850/51 to the princes’ congresses (Ger. Fürstenkongresse respectively -tage) of 1860 in Baden-Baden and 1863 in Frankfurt. The conferences provided a stage for different layers of diplomacy and both national and international politics. The paper’s approach is primarily indebted to the cultural history of diplomacy and international politics, as it has lately become central to the historiography of the subject. It looks more closely at the interaction and staging, at the ceremonial and spatial dimension of the Confederation’s congresses and conferences and asks to what extent the demise of the organisation affected its symbolic conduct and the ‘mechanics of monarchical relations’ (Johannes Paulmann), which cannot be conceived without the importance of place and representation.


PANEL 2.3.3: Diplomatic Networks


“Well disposed to us”: Diplomatic networks, Anglo-German relations, and the British applications to the EEC, 1967-1972

Thomas Soden, EUI, Thomas.Soden@eui.eu

The negotiations for the United Kingdom to enter the European Economic Community (EEC) were a long and drawn-out process. After the decision to apply for membership in 1961, vetoes by France in 1963 and 1967 made Britain increasingly reliant on close contacts and cooperation with the five other member states for the pursuit of its European aspirations. As the largest member state sympathetic to British entry, West Germany was crucial to this effort, with recent scholarship revealing the key role which assessments of the political support of the Federal Republic played in British strategy during the second application in 1967. However, less attention has been paid to the close social relationships maintained between diplomats in both countries throughout the applications and their implications for the issue of enlargement.

The networks of personal and professional friendship which existed between London and Bonn during the 1960s were a defining element of the preparations for the British application, fostering much Anglo-German diplomatic consultation and strategic planning. Despite the legacies of the Second World War, which had overshadowed bilateral relations until the early 1960s, the issue of European Integration provided a new environment of diplomatic collaboration for which both countries could work together on an equal level. Drawing from the bilateral conversations of the relationships and the surprisingly frank and engaging briefings and notes written by the personnel of the British Foreign Office and the GermanAuswärtiges Amt during the five years from 1967-1972, this paper will examine bilateral connections between British and German diplomats working on the British application during the second and third application cycles. By analysing these sources, I intend to explore the boundaries and nature of the British and West German diplomatic milieu, its significance for developing Anglo-German relations and the successful outcome of accession negotiations in 1970-1972.


The Fabric of Non-Alignment: the Many Faces of Yugoslav Diplomacy in the Third World.

Agustin Cosovschi, École française d’Athènes – Centre d’études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques, acosovschi@gmail.com

In the 1950s, following its break with the USSR in 1948 and finding itself in need of new allies beyond Eastern Europe, socialist Yugoslavia embarked on a novel diplomatic road that brought it closer to the West. Aware of its disagreements with Washington and the political limitations of its ties with the West, Belgrade also started to deploy an intense diplomatic activity targeting the non-communist left and nationalist movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, eventually leading to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.

Most of the literature has analyzed Belgrade’s relations with the “Third World” with a focus on state-to-state relations, stressing Tito’s personal diplomacy and on the basis of Tito’s archives. More recently, the literature has turned to other forms of connection with the “Third World”, especially in the areas of cultural diplomacy, economic cooperation, and academic exchange. In this paper, I draw from a broad corpus of archival and print sources to show that Yugoslavia’s policies in the countries of the global South went considerably beyond the sphere of official diplomacy, and that an essential part of these policies depended on forms of non-official diplomacy involving political parties outside the sphere of power. My main focus is on the role of the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Yugoslavia, an organization charged with developing contacts and relations with progressive parties abroad, and I grant particular attention to Yugoslav diplomacy in Chile and Cyprus during the years from the 1950s to the early 1970s. I designate these forms of backchannel diplomacy practiced by Belgrade as a “partisan diplomacy”, stressing not only that the main target of such activities were political parties instead of states, but also the fact that Belgrade often made use of its past and its antifascist credentials to legitimate itself in the eyes of political forces aspiring to national liberation.

Thus, by stressing activities and networks that have often been little studied by the literature on non-alignment, I suggest that Yugoslav diplomacy in the Third World should be seen as a complex fabric composed of multiple layers and involving several different actors, each of which played a different role with the purpose of broadening Yugoslav influence in the countries of the global South, extending support for non-alignment, and enlarging Belgrade’s reserve of partners on the ground.


Anticommunist Propaganda and Unofficial Diplomatic Networks in Interwar Europe

Mika SuonpääUniversity of Turku, misuon@utu.fi

The presentation examines the activities and networks of the Entente Internationale Anticommuniste (EIA) in Northern Europe during the interwar period. The focus is on the EIA’s connections to diplomatic representatives of Finland and the Baltic States. Until 1949, the EIA functioned as a global anticommunist coordinating organisation. In its activities, the EIA aimed at influencing national decision-makers, security officials and armed forces as well as international organizations, including the League of Nations. In the presentation, I will consider the following questions: what mechanisms did the EIA use in its transnational political lobbying and propaganda? How did the national and cross-border dimensions affect each other in the contexts of constructing anti-communist propaganda? What was the role of diplomats in these propaganda networks? The presentation is based on the archival materials of the EIA. These include the EIA’s correspondence with political, military, diplomatic and business elites in different countries, propaganda materials, and reports on the activities of the communists. Thematically, the presentation is rooted in the idea of “unofficial diplomacy”. In this case, unofficial diplomacy is regarded as a practice by which diplomatic representatives of different states sought to use backchannels and other unofficial sources for acquiring information about national communists, the Soviet Union, and the Comintern. In addition, unofficial diplomacy refers to the activities of a private propaganda organisation in attempting to influence the diplomatic elites of various European countries. More broadly, the presentation explores the border between the private and the public and seeks to understand the activities occurring in this arena with a special reference to diplomatic practices and statecraft.
Baltic American Diaspora and NATO enlargement

Una Bergmane, University of Helsinki, una.bergmane@helsinki.fi

This paper analyses the role that one million strong Baltic American diasporas played in NATO enlargement debates between 1991 when Baltic states regained their independence, and 2004, when Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became members of the North Atlantic Alliance.

 Initially wary of the possible alienation of Russia that Baltic membership could cause, the Clinton and Bush administrations gradually moved towards fully embracing it. I argue that the Baltic American diaspora played a crucial role in these dynamics by promoting the Baltic NATO membership project in Washington. Their efforts were driven by the diasporic myth of “return”. While some members of the diaspora actually returned to the Baltic states and assumed important roles in local governments, most of them saw “Westernisation” and “de-sovietisation” of the Baltic states as their symbolic reunification with their ancestral lands.

This paper originates from research carried out in the framework of  BALTRANS project funded by the Academy of Finland.



PANEL 2.3.4: Multilateral venues of diplomacy


The End of the Cold War and the Rise of Regional Cooperation. Germany and the Council of the Baltic Sea States

Marjo Uutela, University of Helsinki, marjo@uutela.net

The end of the Cold War broadened the scope of multilateral cooperation and cleared the way for new regional organisations. One of these was the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), which was launched in October 1991 by the foreign ministers of Germany and Denmark, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, and officially established in March 1992. The formation of a new intergovernmental forum was an answer to the need for finding a flexible form of cooperation supporting the democratization processes of the former communist countries in the Baltic Sea region and the inclusion of the Soviet Union in Europe. At the same time, the principle of subsidiarity, introduced in the Treaty of Maastricht, played an important role in Germany’s activism regarding the CBSS.


End of secret back channel. Finland and Russian foreign intelligence after the collapse of the Soviet Union

Juha-Matti Ritvanen, University of Helsinki, juha-matti.ritvanen@helsinki.fi

Secret intelligence has been described as the “missing dimension of most diplomatic history”. Throughout the Cold War the Soviet Union maintained a huge KGB station in Helsinki, many of those members spoke fluent Finnish. They cultivated anyone prominent in Finnish public life: so much that virtually every aspiring politician had a kotiryssä, a Soviet intelligence officer who maintained regular contact.

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union swiftly transformed Finland’s geostrategic position. Finland replaced the Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance Treaty (FCMA), the cornerstone of Finland’s relations with the Soviet Union, in the fall of 1991 and concluded a treaty on the Foundations of Relations with Russia without any bilateral security obligations beyond the general CSCE principles in early 1992.

The requirements of the post-Cold War era were also extended to the relations between the Finnish leadership and the KGB resident in Helsinki. At the same time, Finland generally changed its attitude towards the activities of Russian foreign intelligence in Finland.

It is however known that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s intelligence agencies influenced Russian politics and policy choices. This presentation explores the role of Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) in relations between Finland and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


The Finnish peacebuilding diplomacy: peacemaking as a device to promote national interests and defence cooperation from the Cold War to the Afghanistan operation

Jukka Pesu, University of Turku, jipesu@utu.fi

This presentation explores the traditional and military diplomatic practices and objectives behind the Finnish peacebuilding from the Cold War to the fall of the Afghanistan operation 2021. For what purpose did the Finnish peacebuilding diplomacy develop, and how did it adapt the political changes of the late 20th century and new Finnish stance in post-Cold War time?

During the Cold War, remarkable Finnish peacekeeping contribution in the UN peace operations was a significant tool for Finnish national branding and public diplomacy. Principally, it was used in the western world to revise the image of Finland from the Soviet dictated semi-independent eastern European state to the stable, wealthy, democratic, and militarily capable Nordic country. UN military operations were dominated by the western interest and NATO-style military structures but still needed the Soviet approval or abstention in the UN Security Council to be realized. To achieve that, neutral countries were solemnly needed in the UN to balance the western military presence and to keep the impact of the Soviet bloc in control. Therefore, UN peacekeeping operations became a self-reinforcing circle to fulfil the Finnish foreign and security policy needs: the image of the Finnish neutrality and the efficiency of the Finnish Defence Forces were the two main reasons why Finland was selected for the operations, and because Finland had selected Finnish foreign policy and military leadership could promote neutrality and still develop Finnish military capability through the operations.

After the Cold War ended, NATO took a significant role in emerging crises management as the role of the UN slowly decreased. Although the Finnish foreign political stance was drastically changed and Finland became the member of EU in 1995, NATO-led peace operations still provided diplomatic and military objectives like UN operations previously. During the peace operations in Balkan and Afghanistan, Finnish defence policy and military practices were gradually coordinated with NATO and leading Western countries which eventually pave the way for the full NATO membership.


DAY 3, Saturday 27th May 2023

PANEL 3.1.1. Roundtable Panel: Nuclear Science Diplomacy

Panel abstract:

This panel aims to bridge nuclear and diplomatic history. We explore questions related to what the “nuclear dimension” brings to the discussion of diplomatic practices in the 20th and 21st centuries. Historians of science and scholars of diplomatic history have separately recognized the growing importance of scientists as diplomats in the nuclear field. These “nuclear actors” acting on a global scale became central in negotiating national, international, regional as well as scientific interests, and shaped East-West-South cooperation.

Aske Hennelund Nielsen focuses on the situated diplomacy of the Inter-War congresses of the International Radiological Committee. These represent some of the first international scientific collaborations on radiology. Being influential for later international developments, these congresses acted as an arena for different scientific groups to represent and promote their national scientific interests and practices. Loukas Freris explores the spread of the peaceful uses of atomic energy within the rapidly growing number of international institutions that arose in the Post-War period. He focuses on the case of the United Nations and its coordination of over a dozen different specialized institutions, tracing
the scientific diplomatic milieu of these different groups. Maria Rentetzi, Kapil Patil and Irina Fedorova will examine the ‘science in diplomacy’ prong by focusing on its practitioners, i.e., scientists in diplomacy, bringing their specialized knowledge to shaping diplomacy, institutions, and Post-War global order. Rentetzi, Patil and Fedorova seek to
understand the inception of Post-War nuclear diplomacy through the lens of three notable science diplomats, namely Homi Bhabha (India), Bertrand Goldschmidt (France), and V.S. Emelyanov (USSR). The paper argues that by bringing their specialized knowledge of nuclear technology to Post-War international diplomatic settings, the science diplomats were instrumental in forging the Post-War global nuclear order while safeguarding their national interests. The science diplomats  were key arbiters of ‘global’ and ‘local’ in the Post-War nuclear governance as they strove to carve and institutionalize a rule-based framework to govern the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Sonali Huria brings our attention to the Global South and to India’s diplomacy on nuclear liability’s laws and rules. In her paper, she examines the debates both within and outside the Indian parliament on nuclear liability, focusing on the conceptualization of risk, biopower, accidents, safety, waste and accountability and discourses surrounding them.

This panel consists of senior and junior scholars from the Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany. All the panelists are associated with or are part of the ERC-project “Living with Radiation: The Role of International Atomic Energy Agency in the History of Radiation Protection” led by Professor Dr. Maria Rentetzi.


Aske Hennelund Nielsen, Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies, aske.h.nielsen@fau.de (Panel organizer)
Loukas Freris, Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies, loukas.freris@fau.de (Panelist)
Maria Rentetzi, Chair for Science, Technology and Gender Studies, maria.rentetzi@fau.de (Panelist)
Irina Fedorova, Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies, irina.fedorova@fau.de (Panelist)
Kapil Patil, Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies, kapil.patil@fau.de (Panelist)
Sonali Huria, Chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies, sonalihuria@gmail.com (Panelist)
Véronique Stenger, University of Geneva and affiliated scholar to the ERC project “Living with Radiation: The Role of International Atomic Energy Agency in the History of Radiation Protection”, veronique.stenger@unige.ch (Discussant)


PANEL 3.1.2. Brokers of Global Asia I: Entangled Diplomatic Norms, Practices, and Symbolic Interaction


Panel abstract:

New scholarship within the domain of New Diplomatic History has broadened the field, thematically, spatially, conceptually, and epistemologically. On the one hand, researchers are increasingly investigating socio-cultural spaces and practices of diplomacy, e.g., rituals, perceptions, networks, and material culture. On the other hand, a broader, multi-vocational interpretation is noticeable regarding the research subjects in question, the individuals performing diplomatic roles often outside or in-between the state-dominated system. What appears to be missing is a profound discussion within the NDH field on the evolution of diplomatic norms and practices in an increasingly globalized modern context, especially outside the Euro-American sphere. Debunking the traditional view of “European” diplomacy traversing to “peripheral states”, the various papers in this panel analyze how numerous intermediaries from and within “global Asia” performed diplomacy within a networked setting and what this tells us about the adaptability and context-specificity of diplomatic norms and practices over time and space. Each panelist, therefore, tackles a peculiar aspect of symbolic intercultural interaction, the fluidity of these brokers, their social-cultural milieus, and the wider diplomatic stage they operated in. In doing so, we hope to spark a wider debate on the topic in particular and reflect on the state of NDH research in general.



Eline Ceulemans, University of Antwerp, Eline.Ceulemans@uantwerpen.beThe inter-imperial web: Leopoldian brokers performing diplomacy in semi-colonial Qing China

After the First Sino-Japanese War, Belgian King Leopold II intensified his attempts to build a sphere of influence in China. Although many of his peers tried to carve out a piece of the “dying” Qing Empire, Leopold II stood at the centre of Belgian foreign policymaking, simultaneously relying on a vast network of transnational agents. During the nineteenth century, various Western “experts” served as formal or semi-official representatives of imperial powers, informal diplomatic intermediaries of transnational organizations, or advisors to semi-colonial states. The Belgian King resorted to these actors to implement his plans in East Asia, yet what remains unexplored is how these intermediaries positioned themselves on the ground. How did they perceive the world they inhabited, the inter-imperial encounters they maintained, and the hybrid role(s) they took on? What do their practices tell us?

This paper examines a particular segment of the diplomatic web of Leopoldian brokers in late Qing China (1895-1899) by focusing on three Belgian advisors: Capt. Jean-Clément Baesens, who accepted a position as military advisor to Yuan Shikai’s New Armies; aristocrat Emmanuel de Wouters who served as legal advisor to the Zongli Yamen, and wealthy industrialist Georges Warocqué who was in the running for the position of foreign advisor to the Chinese Mining Bureau. They found themselves in an ambiguous position between representing their home country, tending to the entangled web of Leopold II, and serving the semi-colonial entities that hired them. Each story offers unique insight into the informal socio-cultural aspects of small-state imperialism and its intermediaries, who could (or were obliged to) perform behind-the-scenes diplomacy within the world of inter-imperial cooperation and competition. By uncovering their fluid identities, multifarious encounters, and overlapping networks from a bottom-up perspective, these accounts deepen our understanding of the performative aspects of diplomacy and imperialism in late Qing China.


Carl E. Kubler, University of Chicago, kubler@uchicago.eduDiaspora’s Informal Diplomats: Chinese Sailors as Brokers of Cultural-Political Representation in Nineteenth-Century Europe

This paper examines Qing China’s indirect diplomacy with Europe in the nineteenth century, through discussing the role that Chinese sailors and other grassroots diasporic agents played as informal brokers of Chinese overseas foreign relations at a time when the Qing state lacked formal diplomatic representation in Europe. For about a century between the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784) and the establishment of the first Qing legations in Europe (1870s onward), the growing numbers of Chinese sailors who worked in European merchant shipping and congregated seasonally in ports such as London and Amsterdam were the main conduits of Chinese representation abroad. As these sailors interacted with local populations and gained visibility in the littoral spaces in and around the docklands of maritime Europe, they shaped public perceptions and discourses about China and played a critical backstage role in informing European political and diplomatic attitudes toward the Qing state, which has been underappreciated in historical scholarship.


Laurence Badel, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Laurence.Badel@univ-paris1.fr Interpreters in Siam.

Abstract tba.



PANEL 3.1.3. The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Cultural Cold War in the Nordic region, 1950-1970


Panel abstract:

The Cold War was much more than the military arms race and proxy wars between the two superpowers. At its core, the Cold War was a battle between cultures, between ideas and visions. The Cultural Cold War is therefore not a side show, but a central aspect of the Cold War.

In this cultural contest, The Congress for Cultural Freedom, founded in 1950, was the largest covert program of its kind by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in terms of activities, budgets and longevity. Until the CIA-link was revealed in 1966-67, the Congress organized local subchapters and published journals in more than 30 countries worldwide, including on all five continents.

Congress magazines focused on high culture and included contributions from leading Western writers, artists, and philosophers. Promoting freedom and combatting totalitarianism, the Congress published books and organized conferences, concerts, exhibitions, and campaigns that contributed to a positive view of American culture and the spread of an anti-Communist “Cold War modernism”. On the political level, the Congress contained communist peace initiatives, combatted neutralist tendencies, advanced a Cold War consensus liberalism, and common security in NATO.

In the past twenty years scholars have studied the Congress locally and globally, including in the Nordic region. However, this panel will deepen and widen the study of this phenomenon, including to new places in the Nordic region, but also with a focus on the still largely unexplored 1960s, including how Congress activities became centrally coordinated from Copenhagen. This will be done with an eye to how Congress activities related to official diplomacy.


Individual papers:

  • Haukur Ingvarsson, University of Iceland, haukuri@hi.is, illuminates the initiatives of anti-Communist entrepreneurs in Iceland, including the establishing of the publishing house Almenna Bókafélagið (AB) in 1955. AB served as the basis for operating the Icelandic Congress, providing a robust infrastructure, influencing various social fields, and setting up a widespread media-network. Ingvarsson builds on previously unused source materials from US and Icelandic archives.


  • Mikael Nilsson, independent researcher, explores how the Swedish subchapter of the Congress was established and worked in the 1950s and 1960s, including with the editor-in-chief of the largest Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Herbert Tingsten. The latter was a central contact for the Congress in Sweden. Nilsson relates this to the United States Information Agency’s activities in Sweden, basing himself on documents from Swedish and American archives and one of his latest book, The Battle for Hearts and Minds in the High North. The USIA and American Cold War Propaganda in Sweden, 1952-1969.


  • Dino Knudsen, Malmö University, dino.knudsen@mau.se, explores how Congress activities expanded from the Scandinavian countries to Finland and Iceland in the 1950s and became more centrally coordinated from Copenhagen during the 1960s, but also how new agendas such as anticolonialism entered the agenda. Knudsen’s study is based on previously unused source materials from both Danish and American archives.



PANEL 3.1.4. Consuls and consulates


Bureaucratic Suicide: Honour, Emotion, and a Habsburg Consul’s Choice to End His Own Life

Sven Mörsdorf, EUI Florence, sven.moersdorf@eui.eu

One lonely night in 1891, Stanisław Piliński, the Austro-Hungarian vice-consul in Prizren in Kosovo, sits down at his office desk and puts a revolver to his head. He leaves behind a suicide letter, dutifully copied out in triplicate: one for his supervising consul in a neighbouring town, one for the local Ottoman governor to whom he is accredited, and one for his own father in Galicia. This letter, together with a forensic report and attendant correspondence, has remained in Piliński’s personnel file in Vienna. The documents hold clues but no easy answers. What prompted him to shoot himself? Was he out of his mind? Neither Piliński’s colleagues nor his widow (who witnessed the scene) could make sense of this dramatic final act in an otherwise ordinary career. Can we? Pondering the challenges posed by this odd and moving find, my paper argues for an analysis of the vice-consul’s choice that transcends stigma, tragedy, or pity. By placing it in its functional context within the institutional culture of the Habsburg foreign service, my approach seeks to illuminate the very rational reasons behind a young diplomat’s self-administered death.


Disorganized Commerce: American Consuls and the Spanish Influenza Pandemic

Jonathan Chilcote, Florida College, chilcotej@floridacollege.edu

By the early 20th century, the United States consular service consisted mainly of professional, educated, and business-oriented men from across the United States. Despite the similar backgrounds of U.S. consuls stationed throughout the world, their interpretations of events could vary widely. This is clearly seen during the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza pandemic. While all were focused on their primary duty of promoting American trade, their consular reports reveal stark differences in thought. A number of those stationed in Europe simply chose to ignore the pandemic; others mentioned it only in passing. Many of those located outside of Europe, though, did write about it in detail, its effects, and who they believed was responsible. Some blamed the devastation and hardship on the perceived backwardness of the local cultures that surrounded them, others on local governments for not offering better protection and care. Several consuls went further and worked with governments, American charities, and expatriates to alleviate suffering. These diplomats gloried in the ability of Americans to assist those deemed less fortunate, and to demonstrate American culture. But in almost every instance where consuls actively wrote about the pandemic, the anticipated end of the suffering meant the same thing: an opportunity for the United States to increase its influence and role in the world. The consular responses, then, tell us much about American views of the United States’ relationship with the world, not just during the pandemic, but also the desire for a more influential and powerful U.S. global presence after its conclusion.


Are they professional? The British consular staff supervised by Sir Edmund G. Hornby

Zülâl Muslu, Tilburg University School of Law, Z.Muslu@tilburguniversity.edu

The consular courts are usually studied under their imperial or colonial aspects grounded on the principle of extraterritoriality at the core of these institutions. A well-known example of this privilege of extraterritoriality among historians of international law is provided by the British Supreme Court and the memoirs of one of its most famous Chief judges, Sir Edmund Grimany Hornby. More than the illustration of extraterritoriality, my paper intends to highlight an original side of this very material, i.e. its contribution to the professionalization of local consular court staff as a translation of British diplomacy onsite.

The paper is based on the example of the Ottoman Empire, China and Japan, where Sir Edmund Hornby successively undertook his task as Chief judge of the Supreme court. His personality as well as his professional and personal backgrounds have left an indelible mark on the practice of the Supreme Court and its staff. While the consular courts are commonly looked as imposing unilaterally Western law and ‘modernity’ to local legal systems, my paper emphasizes both the intra-British developments and the encounters. The paper aims at offering further methodologic and paradigmatic frameworks to the studies in comparative legal history by dismantling the Eurocentric narratives that still often confine comparative works within colonial epistemics and narrow the dynamism of diplomatic practices to a sadly uniform and smooth display image.


Foreign consulates and consular agents in France in the 20th century: a survey to explore consular networks’ contemporary history

Marion Aballéa, Université de Strasbourg, maballea@unistra.fr; Judith Bonnin, Université Bordeaux-Montaigne, and Jérémy Guedj, Université Côte d’Azur

The authors have been supervising since September 2021 a research webinar dedicated to the exploration of the history of foreign consulates in France in the 20th century. This webinar, which consisted in 4 on-line workshops in 2021-2022, will continue in 2023, and the authors will be happy to present a first analysis of its results during the Conference.

This webinar aims at better understanding the geography, functions, and various actors of the consular implantation in France, mostly since 1914. Important studies have explored foreign consulates in France in modern times and in the 19th century, but few have been dedicated so far to a more recent history. Our hypothesis is that the changing world of the 20th century had a profound impact on consular missions, activities and staff. Economic globalization or the growth of international migrations and immigrated communities, to mention only two obvious factors, led to a redefinition of consular work. During our webinar, we consider how this redefinition affected the network of foreign consulates (professional and honorary) on French territory (European mainland and oversea territories). Our presentation will explore the same questions, and hopefully provide some insights and at least partial answers to them – our survey being still in progress.



PANEL 3.2.1. Women in diplomacy


Diplomatic spouses in early Republican Turkey

Müzeyyen Ezel Ünal, Kocaeli University, International Relations Department, ezelunal@gmail.com

In this study, I will examine the roles of the wives of diplomats, namely the ambassadrices; these women represented the Ankara government abroad during the National Struggle (1918-1922) and during the early Republican period (1923-1945), in diplomatic relations and diplomatic life. The inclusion of women in the practice of diplomacy, which is an extremely male-dominated practice, was only possible in the early 20th century with the role of “diplomatic spouses”. While women were tasked with facilitating diplomatic daily life in relation to their spouses, they were also expected to represent national norms and values ​​before other states and international community. In this respect, diplomatic life for women is a magnificent example of the transformation of ‘private areas’ such as the home and family to which women are seen to belong, into a national and international representation, to a public performance. During this performance, established gender hierarchies and norms are intertwined with national and international hierarchies and norms.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the new Republican regime in Turkey adopted a radical modernization approach in order to be re-admitted to the international system, and women became the most important ‘indicators’ of this modernization process. Diplomat spouses also participated in the representation of the state abroad at various levels. While some also took positions in the field of political representation, most of them undertook the task of promoting the Republican women and the Republican family alongside their spouses. While women -many of whom belonged to the privileged families of the Empire- provided an additional social environment to their husbands through their families, some of them also tried to play a role in the fate of their spouses -for example, by writing to the President’s wife. Although they define themselves through their husbands and build their entire lives through their husbands, they do not deserve to be evaluated in a wholly passive, secondary status. In this study, I aim to contribute to the socio-cultural history of diplomacy in Turkey by focusing on the private archives of the diplomatic spouses, their contributions to diplomatic relations, their position in the bureaucratic mechanism, and their neglected role in the social life of diplomacy.


The female Face of Indian Foreign Policy

Amit Das Gupta, Universität der Bundeswehr, Munchen, amitrdasgupta@gmx.de

Against the ongoing discrimination of women in Indian society, the country has a reputation for being represented by women abroad. The focus usually is on Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the first female head of state to play a relevant role on the international floor. 25 years before she took over power, however, the wife of Indian Agent Maharaj Singh already was a key figure to raise the image of Indians overseas. From late 1944, her aunt Vijayalakshmi Pandit successfully campaigned for independence in the US. She became the first women to lead a country’s delegation to the UN in 1946 and, thereafter, held ambassadorships in Moscow, Washington and London.

The list is to be continued with lesser known women: Many years, Mridula Sarubhai engaged in interstate diplomacy around the recovery of women and children, abducted around partition. Minister for Health Amrit Kaur took over various diplomatic missions all over the world. Equally relevant as those prominent appointees was that at times when most foreign services took only men, Jawaharlal Nehru insisted on including women, at least on principle. Next to typical influential ambassadors’ wives, India, therefore, had proper female diplomats, who, however, faced many obstacles in their careers, as the first of them, C.B. Muthamma (1949 batch), had to witness. Nevertheless, in the new millennium, three female officers of the Indian Foreign Service held the rank of Foreign Secretary, a rather unique feature globally.

The paper wants to categorise women in foreign affairs – wives, prominent appointees, career officers – and investigate their (mostly privileged) social backgrounds. It further analyses whether being women helped or restricted their efficiency and to what extent it helped to give a developing country a touch of modernity.


Mapping the role of women in Luxembourg post-war diplomacy through the lens of oral history

Elena Danescu, François Klein, Anne Schmit, University of Luxembourg, elena.danescu@uni.lu


After the Second World War, as Luxembourg abandoned its neutrality and engaged in international multilateralism and European integration, it adopted a new foreign policy that for many years remained exclusively male-dominated. The recruitment of the first female diplomat in 1973 (Arlette Conzemius) was preceded by the emergence of Luxembourg’s first female politicians in international relations as elected members of parliament (Astrid Lulling and Colette Flesch) or ministers (Madeleine Frieden-Kinnen). These forerunners paved the way for a more significant and diverse representation of women in diplomacy, as Members of the European Parliament (Astrid Lulling, Colette Flesch and Erna Hennicot-Schoepges) or the Commission (Viviane Reding) or as senior technocrats (Martine Reicherts). Analysing the involvement of women in international relations in Luxembourg is a difficult task given the absence of systematic archive sources (the diplomatic archives of the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry deposited in the National Archives only cover the period up to 1973) and the fact that the topic has thus far received little attention in international and national historiography. In this context, oral history is not only a novel methodological tool; it is also the most appropriate source considering our objectives. By conducting an oral history project (2021-2025) consisting of semi-structured filmed interviews with remarkable women from a range of backgrounds (political, diplomatic, economic, trade union, cultural, technocratic, civil society, etc.), we will attempt to elucidate their role in the sphere of European and international relations in Luxembourg by tracing their careers, their achievements and failings, their synergies and networking, their role as mentors for future generations, and the continuity of female Luxembourg leadership in their various fields. This paper will use the first six interviews to show how women defended the vital interests of Luxembourg and Europe on the world stage.



PANEL 3.2.2. Personal diplomacy


Tsunejiro Miyaoka and the Diplomacy of the International Mind

Michael ClintonGwynedd Mercy University, Clinton.Michael@gmercyu.edu

Cutting short a distinguished and still promising career in his government’s diplomatic corps, Tsunejiro Miyaoka (1865–1943) returned to Japan in March 1908 to establish a law practice in Tokyo. Rather than disengaging from international diplomacy, however, Miyaoka leveraged his extensive contacts with a transnational network of figures within and beyond formal structures of diplomacy in Japan, the United States, and Europe to advance the agenda of the movement for international arbitration and conciliation. As the Asian correspondent for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) from 1911 to 1931, Miyaoka promoted the CEIP’s principle of “the international mind” throughout Japan in diverse ways, such as advising the CEIP on candidates for Japanese-American academic exchanges and facilitating speaking tours of foreign proponents of international cooperation to Japan. In addition, Miyaoka fed Japanese policy makers and news media CEIP propaganda on peace and arbitration issues, urged CEIP leaders to use their well-placed political connections to counter anti-Asian narratives and practices in California and other parts of the United States, provided the CEIP with data on Japanese military expenditures, assisted the reorganization and revitalization of Japanese peace societies, and more. This paper draws from Miyaoka’s extensive correspondence with CEIP officials and other advocates of internationalism preserved in archival collections in the United States and France to consider his role as a transnational agent of informal diplomacy during a time when fervent visions of international peace confronted the violent realities of intense nationalism and global war.



Battling totalitarianism through politics and diplomacy: Bruno Pittermann against the Greek Junta 

Ioannis Brigkos, University of Vienna, ioannis.brigkos@univie.ac.at

This essay takes under consideration the anti-dictatorial efforts of Bruno Pittermann against the Greek military dictatorship (1967-1974), in his capacity as president of the Socialist International (1964-1976), as an Austrian parliamentarian in the Council of Europe, and as an MP of the Austrian parliament until 1971 under the banners of the Austrian Socialist Party (SPÖ). It will be underlined that Pittermann’s actions against the Junta became a landmark in the struggle of the SI against totalitarian regimes all over the world. Tangible examples of Pittermann’s initiatives were the detachment of a fact-finding mission in Athens in May 1967, the founding of the association “Friends of the Greek Democracy” in Vienna in 1967, and the establishment of the SI’s Greek Committee in November 1969. Through his network of associates all over Europe and in Austria, Pittermann stayed always abreast of the situation of Greek people in need, both inside and outside the country. His unremitting humanitarian efforts aided a plethora of political prisoners and persecuted Greeks who managed to improve their detainment conditions or even escape the military regime. Yet, it will be underscored that Pittermann’s actions weighed heavily on the Greek-Austrian diplomatic relations and brought oftentimes severe tension between them, as the Greek diplomacy didn’t always distinguish the roles of the Austrian politician, as until 1971 he was an active member of the Austrian parliament, and from 1970 onwards a member of the ruling party in Austria as well.This paper focuses on the figure of Bruno Pittermann through the lens of New Diplomatic History and is based largely on primary sources recovered from the Austrian State Archives (Österreichisches Staatsarchiv), the Bruno Kreisky Archives Foundation, the Archive of the Association for the History of the Worker’s Movement (VGA-Archiv), and the Diplomatic and Historical Archive of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs (YDIA).


Diplomacy Going Native? The Role of Local Cultural and Scientific Networks in Russian Diplomacy (1760-1815)

Lien Verpoest, University of Leuven, lien.verpoest@kuleuven.be

This presentation discusses the hypothesis that long term engagement and involvement of ambassadors in local cultural and scientific networks can play a decisive role in diplomats opting to leave their post. Diplomats ‘going native’ is well-known as a as a process of socialization in international relations (Scully 2005), yet seems rather understudied as a concept in the field of diplomatic history and international relations. Yet even Roger Scully points out that absence of empirical work has led to a knowledge gap on the notion of going native. Two cases will be discussed: the European diplomacy of Dmitry Alekseevich Golitsyn (1734-1803) and Andrey Kirillovich Razumovsky (1752-1836).  Both men served as ambassadors of the Russian Empire in times of deep political turmoil and were engaged in European high politics through their negotiations in the League of Armed Neutrality, Polish Partitions, the Coalition Wars and the Congress of Vienna. During the European residencies, they however also became crucial figures in cultural and scientific networks in Paris, Vienna and The Hague. Interestingly, both opted to remain in Europe instead of returning to Russia after their resignation. Their choice not to return to Russia underscores a more general research question that I intend to address in the presentation: which factors turn out to be the tipping point for diplomats to leave diplomatic service and ‘go native’? These factors will be assessed by discussing both the ‘hard power’ context of high politics and the ‘soft power’ effect of cultural immersion.

In recent years, a new focus has emerged on cosmopolitan networks and salon sociability, in which diplomats often played a significant role (Dyrmann 2021, Vick 2021, Sluga 2022). Although ‘going cosmopolitan’ in the cities to which diplomats were assigned seems to be the opposite of ‘going native’, their engagement in cosmopolitan networks often went hand in hand with becoming acquainted with local elites who also navigated these networks, which sometimes led to further (cultural, personal, political, scientific) contacts. In this sense, studying the diplomat’s engagement in local or regional cultural and scientific networks can not only be a useful addition to the current literature on cosmopolitan networks, but also can open a new research line within new diplomatic history that focuses on assessing determinant factors for diplomats to go native.



PANEL 3.2.3. Brokers of Global Asia II: Entangled Diplomatic Norms, Practices, and Symbolic Interaction

Panel abstract:

New scholarship within the domain of New Diplomatic History has broadened the field, thematically, spatially, conceptually, and epistemologically. On the one hand, researchers are increasingly investigating socio-cultural spaces and practices of diplomacy, e.g., rituals, perceptions, networks, and material culture. On the other hand, a broader, multi-vocational interpretation is noticeable regarding the research subjects in question, the individuals performing diplomatic roles often outside or in-between the state-dominated system. What appears to be missing is a profound discussion within the NDH field on the evolution of diplomatic norms and practices in an increasingly globalized modern context, especially outside the Euro-American sphere. Debunking the traditional view of “European” diplomacy traversing to “peripheral states”, the various papers in this panel analyze how numerous intermediaries from and within “global Asia” performed diplomacy within a networked setting and what this tells us about the adaptability and context-specificity of diplomatic norms and practices over time and space. Each panelist, therefore, tackles a peculiar aspect of symbolic intercultural interaction, the fluidity of these brokers, their social-cultural milieus, and the wider diplomatic stage they operated in. In doing so, we hope to spark a wider debate on the topic in particular and reflect on the state of NDH research in general.



Naoko Shimazu, Asia Research Institute, Yale-NUS College, naoko.shimazu@yale-nus.edu.sgTo be the Most Perfect Host: General Tojo and the Greater East Asia Conference of 1943

Details matter in diplomacy, or least, General Tojo who was a wartime leader of Japan strongly felt so in preparing for the 1943 Greater East Asia Conference held in Tokyo. Leaders from Manchukuo (Zhang Jinghui), National Government of China (Wang Jingwei), Burma (Ba Maw), Philippines (Laurel), and Thailand (Wan Waithayakorn) flew over to Tokyo to be the principal guests of Japan. It was arranged that Subhas Chandra Bose as the leader of Azad Hind would also be dropping into Tokyo at the same time. This paper is about the symbolic meanings behind the minutiae of diplomatic preparations orchestrated by Tojo for the most important diplomatic conference for Japan’s wartime diplomacy.


Isami Sawai, Seikei University, Tokyo, Japan/Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, isamisawai@fas.harvard.edu , ‘Jiaoshe交渉’, ‘Kōshō交際’, and ‘Gyorin交隣’: The Transitional Styles of East Asian Foreign Policy-making, the 1860s-70s.

It has been stated that Japan succeeded in learning Western-style diplomacy in the late 19th century, although China and Korea failed to do that. This framework, which included an assumption of modernization theory and Western-centrism, has long been criticized from various perspectives. However, these criticisms have not yet submitted an alternative framework. This paper will reconstruct the transformation of China, Japan, and Korean foreign relations strictly based on their internal contexts.

After the Second Opium War, Prince Gong’s group intended to maneuver the Western powers by its negotiation by emphasizing the concept of ‘negotiation’ (Jiaoshe) in China. However, its efforts failed due to huge central-periphery geographical distances and the opposition of high-ranking local officials. After the later 1860s, Prince Gong’s group rather included high-ranking local officials and others in its foreign policy-making, which eventually led to the gradual rise of Li Hongzhang and the transformation of its ‘negotiation’. After the confusion in the Tokugawa shogunate, the new Meiji government adopted a quite friendly attitude toward the Western powers by fully adopting the concept of ‘intercourse’ (Kōshō). Although the Meiji leaders initially pursue starting and maintaining these intercourses themselves, through trial and error, they gradually realized the need for a more strategic approach to foreign relations in the 1870s. In contrast to China and Japan, Korea maintained its foreign relations only with Qing China and Japan in its way, which was called ‘relations with neighbor’ (Gyorin). In parallel with its opening to Western powers in the 1870s, this style of foreign relations was preserved despite some political confusion.

As described above, ’Jiaoshe’, ‘Kōshō’, and ‘Gyorin’ can be an appropriate framework to explain the similarity and differences in East Asian foreign policy-making in the late 19th century.


Houssine Alloul, University of Amsterdam, h.alloul@uva.nl, (No) Ambassadors of Modernity: Habitus, ‘Interculturality’, and the Ottoman Diplomatic Venture Into Europe, 1832-1914

While the presence of Ottoman diplomats in Europe was self-evident to their contemporaries in the West, they are conspicuous today by their absence in the historical literature on modern European diplomacy. This is remarkable as for nearly a century, between 1832 and 1914, Ottoman envoys continually represented their empire in the capitals of Europe. In effect, Ottoman participation to the so-called Vienna system amply antedates that of other ‘peripheral(ized)’ polities. The glaring absence of this multi-religious body of imperial officials from the scholarly literature seems even more paradoxical if we consider that the Ottoman Empire has always been the central object of the vast geopolitics literature on European ‘Great Power’ rivalries in the nineteenth century. In this grand drama of imperial conflict and foreign competition over who would inherit what from the “Sick Man” of Europe, the Ottoman field diplomats who did much of the pushing and mediating are thrust aside in favor of the familiar European government leaders and Great Power ambassadors in Istanbul. This paper instead proposes an enquiry into the social networks and habitus of Ottoman diplomats stationed in different European capitals. Asking how these agents, as well as their female relatives, sought to integrate themselves in local diplomatic milieus, the paper pays particular attention to the formation of ‘intercultural’ bonds of amity and how various kinds of Western racialisms thwarted or complicated such relationships. Revisiting prevailing narratives about the historical development of ‘European’ diplomacy, it ultimately demonstrates how Ottoman resident envoys, both Muslim and Christian, formed an integral, if always contested part of the new international order that emerged in the wake of Napoleon’s defeat in 1814.


Jenny Huangfu Day, Skidmore College, jhuangfu@skidmore.eduMediating between “Humanity” and “Rule of Law”: Sino-British Diplomats and the Debate over Judicial Torture and Extradition, 1866-1885

The Treaty of Tianjin, negotiated in 1858 following the Second Opium War, included a provision for the simple extradition of Chinese fugitives in Hong Kong or on British premises (Article 21). However, in the 1860s and 1870s, implementing this treaty was complicated by the severe laws in China towards rebels and the differences in legal culture. This paper explores how extradition rules from Hong Kong to mainland China became the lightning rod in diplomatic debates over the dictates of humanity and the necessity of accommodation with Chinese law enforcement. The central debate revolved around the tension between treaty obligations and colonial laws. During the 1870s and 1880s, British government officials and lawmakers struggled with the challenge of fully implementing Article 21 due to the conflicting legal systems in Hong Kong and China. They were unable to fully implement it without giving the Chinese government cause to renounce the treaty clauses they found difficult to implement. The Chinese government similarly found themselves in a difficult position, as they were bound by commitments that served as legal precedents. As the local population began to take advantage of the inconsistencies in the extradition regime, Sino-British diplomats and officials quickly came together to address the discrepancy between the Sino-Western extradition treaties and the laws of the colonies. This chapter examines these negotiations, highlighting the challenges of balancing “humanity” and the “rule of law” in colonial Hong Kong and the impact of these contradictions on cross-border jurisdiction.