Formerly a university teacher, I am now a freelance writer specialising in the theory and practice of diplomacy from the earliest times until the present. As well as hoping to encourage the study of diplomacy, this site provides periodic updating of my textbook (see immediately below). This page contains some news and views. The contents of the rest of the site can be navigated via the column on the left-hand side.

4th edition
(Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke and New York, 2010)
ISBN 978-0-230-22960-0 (pbk)

Read more about this book
on the publisher’s website.



From the back cover: ‘This book remains the best introduction to the subject’ (Alan Henrikson, Director of Diplomatic Studies, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy); ‘Berridge is the leading authority on contemporary diplomatic practice’ (Laurence E. Pope, former US ambassador and senior official at the Department of State); ‘Berridge’s study of diplomacy is the standard text on the subject – succinct yet substantial in content, lucid in style’ (John W. Young, Professor of International History at the University of Nottingham).


I was mildly astonished to learn recently that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office re-named its commercial attachés ‘Prosperity Officers’ some time ago, apparently after William Hague (a former management consultant) became Foreign Secretary. Unless self-parody, this is a deplorable departure even by the tawdry standards of the present Tory-dominated British coalition government. I am afraid that it is typical of the modern political culture in which targets are announced in such a way as to suggest that they are achievements. Clearly immune to the embarrassment that use of this kind of language would induce in most of us, the FO might well not stop there. Perhaps it is just a matter of time before we hear about ‘Higher Wages Officers’ instead of labour attachés (if any remain), ‘Bumper Crop Officers’ instead of agricultural attachés, ‘Truth Officers’ instead of press attachés – and ‘Victory Officers’ in place of defence attachés.


It is worth keeping in mind – and reassuring – that throughout this undeclared war each party has kept open its embassy in the other’s capital, although the Russian Embassy in Kiev was savagely attacked by protesters in June. For discussion of the role that diplomatic missions can play in such circumstances, see the final section of Chapter 1 (‘Embassies in Enemy States’) of my Embassies in Armed Conflict.


Brian Barder’s long-awaited What Diplomats Do is finally published. You can read more about it on the author’s own website here.


Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this brilliant, timely article. [25 July 2014]


Thanks to a prompting from a friend in Brussels and the technical efforts of Jelena Jakovljevic, the homepage of this website has had a face-lift. Please note: (a) that posts continue onto further pages, and (b) that rss is now available – either via the icon at top right, or this link ://