Diplomacy: Theory and Practice, 5th ed.  –  Online updating pages

Chapter 6: Following Up

p. 82, provision of hostages as surety, ‘… this method expired in Europe with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.’: I’m glad that I carefully said here that it only expired in Europe at that juncture because it survived elsewhere. Thanks to my DiploFoundation colleague, Kishan Rana, I now learn that even as late as 1956 the Thai government secretly sent hostages to Communist China as earnest of its goodwill, despite Bangkok’s openly close relationship to the United States. They were young children of Sang Phathanothai, a senior adviser to the Thai prime minister, and were placed under the close protection of premier Zhou Enlai. Sirin, who at the age of 8 was the younger of the two, published an account of her experience in 1994 (see Phathanothai in Further reading below).

p. 83, treaties of guarantee: according to Headlam-Morley (see Further reading below), the heyday of such treaties in Europe was the seventeenth/eighteenth centuries; and they might guarantee only a part of a settlement. Treaties of guarantee were substantially replaced in Europe in the nineteenth century by the ‘Concert of Europe’, which instead aimed to give pause to those tempted to avoid their treaty commitments by establishing the norm that – especially in regard to territorial settlements – all of the great powers had the right to be consulted on proposals for revision, whether they sought to exercise it or not. This was in principle a weaker system for ensuring treaty-observance but in practice more realistic.

In saying in the final paragraph of this page that almost all of the traditional devices for ensuring that agreements are honoured had become obsolete by the middle of twentieth century, I stupidly omitted to note the continuing use of signing ceremonies. When promises by senior government figures are made in full public view in imposing surroundings and are widely reported, it is usually more difficult to evade them without some embarrassment. Of course, the same is true of marriage ceremonies between sexual partners.

p. 91, Review meetings: An extremely important example of the ‘joint commission’ species of review meeting is that provided for in the ‘Iran Nuclear Deal’ (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015. It is established under para. ix of the main text and also has a six-page annex (‘Annex IV’) devoted entirely to it (see Further reading below). This is well worth studying. ( Incidentally, ‘E3/EU+3’ means France, Germany, United Kingdom/EU High Rep. for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy + China, Russia, USA.)
Another well-documented example of the same kind is the ‘Joint Committee’ established to follow up the Withdrawal Agreement signed between the UK and the EU in early 2020; see Article 164 and Annex VIII in vol. 2 of the agreement.

p. 91, Review meetings: I was reminded by the encouraging news on international action to limit global warming coming from Paris since the end of 2015 that one of the most important examples of the ‘conference of the parties’ method is the ‘Conference of the Parties (COP)’ of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was negotiated in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. Meeting annually since 1995 (Paris hosted ‘COP21’), the work of the COP is also energized by many administrative, political, and technical/economic propellants. These include a secretariat in Bonn, ‘high-level champions’, ‘high-level events’, active engagement with ‘non-Party stakeholders’ (interested non-state bodies), and provision for ‘capacity development’ to assist developing countries meet emissions targets (see additions to Further reading below). It is difficult to see what else could be done by way of following up the 1992 UNFCCC.

p. 91, Review meetings: for the latest on the Nuclear Security Summit, see its website (Further reading below), especially the ‘About us’ menu. Russia is refusing to attend the 2016 summit in Washington, the last in the present format.

Further reading: additions and links

ECBI [European Capacity Building Initiative], Pocket Guide to Capacity Building for Climate Change (2018). Strong analysis if rather abstract; clear and informative on the Climate Change treaties; footnotes provide plenty of references for further reading.

Elliott, Cynthia, ‘4 Ways the Paris Agreement Supports Climate Action Now’, 5 February 2016

Google: ‘treaty signing ceremony’/’peace signing ceremony’

Harvey, Fiona, ‘Climate crisis: what is COP and can it save the world?’, The Guardian, 2 December 2019

Harvey, Fiona, ‘The Paris agreement five years on: is it strong enough to avert climate catastrophe?’, The Guardian, 8 December 2020

Headlam-Morley, Studies in Diplomatic History (Methuen: London, 1930),  ch. 4, ‘Treaties of Guarantee’; first published in the Cambridge Historical Journal, 2(2), 1927

[very good on the concept and historical evolution of such treaties; much better on the subject than Satow, to whom he refers in too-flattering terms]

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [Iran Nuclear Deal], 14 July 2015

Phathanothai, Sirin, The Dragon’s Pearl (Simon & Schuster, 1994)

Signing Ceremony of the Treaty of Lisbon [2007], Youtube

Signing of the Treaty of Lisbon [2007], Wikipedia

Nuclear Security Summit

UNFCCC, ‘Conference of the Parties (COP)’

UNFCCC, ‘Conference of the Parties. Twenty-first session. Paris, 30 November to 11 December 2015: Adoption of the Paris Agreement