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.

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice

5th edition
(Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke and New York, 2015)
In Editor’s Choice.

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


berridge diplomacy 5th

From the back cover: ‘Probably the most prolific contemporary writer on diplomacy is Professor Geoff R. Berridge … Each of his many books is impeccably written and full of insights into the fascinating formation of modern diplomacy” (Robert William Dry, New York University, USA, and Chairman of AFSA’s Committee on the Foreign Service Profession and Ethics); “I discovered Geoff Berridge’s book on diplomacy after serving as a diplomat for over 30 years. It is well-researched, sophisticated, inspiring and, where the subject invites it, suitably ironic” (Dr Max Schweizer, Head of Foreign Affairs and Applied Diplomacy, ZHAW School of Management and Law, Switzerland); “Berridge’s Diplomacy is an enlightening journey that takes the student, the practitioner and the general reader from the forefront to the backstage of current diplomatic practice. The thoroughly updated text – also enriched with a stimulating new treatment of embassies – is an invaluable guide to the stratagems and outcomes, continuities and innovations, of a centuries’ long process” (Arianna Arisi Rota, Professor of History of Diplomacy, University of Pavia, Italy).

Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

The Life and Writings of E. C. Grenville-Murray

Second edition (digital), revised (DiploFoundation: 2018)

Available on the ISSUU platform here

Diplomacy, Satire and Victorians

Comments on the First edition

‘I can’t disembark at Southampton at the crack of dawn on Tuesday without telling you first what a boon companion your Grenville-Murray on my Kindle has been throughout the voyage and during rare moments of reading time in New York and Boston.  … You tell the G-M tale brilliantly and it cries out to be made into a film.  What a lively society it was then!  Your account puts the Oscar Wilde affair nicely into perspective’ (Brian Barder, former ambassador and author of What Diplomats Do, QM2, 3 November, 2014).

‘Congratulations on your study of Murray. I’ve only just discovered him myself and I am so pleased there is a biography…. I’m reading the online version and enjoying it hugely. This superbly researched work is a model of the kind of study that is so badly needed to help provide the larger picture. There is too much writing on the well-known’ (Richard Grenville Clark, Apocalypse Press).

‘What an astonishing story: I sat up till half-past midnight last night finishing it. It is rare to find such a fund of real research contained in such a readable envelope’ (Robin Fairlie, sometime company managing director, marketing consultant, and author; now historian and collector of English verse epitaphs).

The Khashoggi affair and consular law

Some points of law concerning this sickening and profoundly worrying case need clearing up. I am not a diplomatic lawyer and I have no knowledge of any relevant recent case law but I have had occasion in the past to brood on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and its sister Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963). In light of my knowledge of these treaties and the thinking that went into them by the jurists on the International Law Commission, I offer the following thoughts:

1. The Saudi Consulate-General in Istanbul, like all other consular and diplomatic missions, is not ‘sovereign territory’, although this is being constantly repeated. This is a complete myth. The inviolability of such premises is not justified in international law on these grounds but on the argument that without inviolability – especially in unfriendly states – diplomats and consuls could not fearlessly discharge their proper functions: ‘the purpose of such privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient performance of functions by consular posts on behalf of their respective States’, VCCR (1963), preamble.

2.  ‘Consular functions’ (see Berridge and Lloyd, The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy, 3rd ed., pp. 76-7 – unfortunately not available in Arabic) are not generally supposed to include the seizure, torture, killing, dismemberment and secret disposal of the body parts of a citizen. Put another way, a chief consular function is to assist nationals in distress, not cause it in the most grotesque manner imaginable.

3.  Compared to diplomatic premises, the inviolability of consular premises (irrespective of the status of the mission), is qualified in a very significant respect: they may be entered by the authorities of the receiving state without the express consent of the head of the mission ‘in case of fire or other disaster requiring prompt protective action’ (my emphasis added), VCCR (1963), art. 31(2). The wording I have italicized here is interesting. I would have thought that a strong legal case could be made that Jamal Khashoggi’s fate in the Saudi Consulate-General was a ‘disaster’ because it threatened first himself, his family and friends, second journalistic freedom, and third, the minor matter of the international order – as subsequently remarked by the UN Secretary-General. Therefore, having come to the notice of the Turkish authorities, they would have been legally entitled as well as morally obliged to force their way into the consulate and arrest everyone inside, even if they were too late to save Khashoggi.

4.  The private residence of the head of a consular mission – in contrast to the head of a diplomatic mission – has no inviolability whatsoever, since it is not included in the definition of ‘consular premises’ contained in the VCCR (1963); compare art. 1.1(j) here with art. 1(i) of the VCDR (1961). So with even stronger legal justification, the Turkish authorities could have seized it immediately.

5.  In matters not connected with the exercise of their functions, consular officers, in further contrast to diplomats, might be called on to give evidence at judicial or administrative proceedings, VCCR (1963), art. 44.

6.  In the case of a ‘grave crime’, and in yet further contrast with a diplomat, a consular officer might be liable to arrest or detention pending trial; required to appear in court in person, if facing a criminal charge; and be imprisoned in execution of a final judgement, VCCR, art. 41.

In light of points 5 and 6 above, it is not surprising that the Saudi Consul-General did a runner. The Turks would, of course, be entitled to seek his extradition, if only to give evidence; according to one report I have read, he was himself threatened with death if he did not ‘shut up’.

October 18th, 2018|

‘The Brexit Express’. Things past and things to come.

After the incident shown in this photograph, the following announcement was overheard: ‘Passengers planning to travel on the next departure of the Brexit Express, the inaugural journey of which left on 29 March 2019, are advised that, due to signalling problems, the service will no longer operate. Please remain until buses arrive to take you home.’ It has been subsequently reported that the signalman, Mr. B. Johnson, formerly a caretaker at the Foreign Office, was temporarily unavailable for comment. It is, however, confidently expected that he will shortly be explaining in the Daily Telegraph who was really to blame for the catastrophe.

September 18th, 2018|

Writing update

I am putting the finishing touches to a very short book called The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece. I completed a draft of this some years ago and dug it out again over the summer. My interest was re-kindled, so I consulted new sources and have refreshed and extended it. I hope to see it joining my much longer book on Grenville-Murray on the ISSUU platform before long. It’s such an important subject in the history of diplomacy and the only other systematic treatment – Adcock and Mosley’s Diplomacy in Ancient Greece – although still of great value, is over 40 years old, has a rather unwieldy structure, and is devoid of maps. It is treated quite fairly, I thought, in this review, even though the writer begins rather disconcertingly by saying that ‘It is impossible to write a book about diplomacy in ancient Greece, and probably a mistake to try.’ Well, that puts me on my mettle!
I hope to publish in the early winter, also on ISSUU, a book called Spooks and Diplomats: The uneasy relationship between diplomats and intelligence officers (working title). This is a vastly expanded version of the chapter on secret intelligence in my textbook and already well advanced. It explains, I’m afraid, why I have not given much attention recently to the updating page on that chapter on this site. I put the Spooks book on hold and switched to the Greek project largely because I wished to wait for the conclusion of the Mueller investigation into the charge that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election campaign, a subject to which I have given quite a lot of attention.


August 26th, 2018|

Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

Diplomacy, Satire and Victorians

Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

This is the new title under which DiploFoundation has re-launched my biography of E. C. Grenville-Murray on the ISSUU platform. Previously called A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era, I have chosen the new title in the hope that it will attract the attention not only of those interested in diplomacy but also of those with a passion for nineteenth century English literature and journalism. For as well as being a controversial diplomat, ending his career when sacked as British Consul-General in southern Russia, Grenville-Murray was a brilliant satirist and wrote many novels, some widely praised. He was admired by Charles Dickens, who published him for many years (under the pseudonym ‘The Roving Englishman’) in his weekly magazine, Household Words. Among the most important of his non-satirical, non-fiction works, and the one that first aroused my interest in him, is Embassies and Foreign Courts, which is available on the Internet Archive here. Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians is still the only biography to have been written of this mysterious and influential – but routinely misrepresented – man, and it took me some years to research and put together. As re-issued on the attractive ISSUU platform, the book now has its illustrations – all in their original colours – lodged on or adjacent to the relevant pages rather than tucked away at the back, and here and there I have refreshed the text. It also has a striking new cover. We are now selling this ebook, such proceeds as are earned being divided between myself and DiploFoundation. It can be bought here. About 10 per cent of the text is freely available by way of a sample.

August 11th, 2018|

‘It looks like the cops are finally arriving.’

So exclaimed the Switzerland-based data expert, Paul-Olivier Dehaye, on seeing the hard-hitting Interim Report on Disinformation and ‘fake news’ of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee of the British House of Commons, published officially on 29 July 2018. Available here, it is essential reading not only for those seeking confirmation that the narrow June 2016 referendum victory for the Brexiteers was achieved by anti-democratic tactics and flagrant breaches of electoral law but also for everyone keen to see steps taken  to protect popular voting procedures from being deviously manipulated in the future.

July 29th, 2018|