Diplomacy and the Study of International Relations/Part 1-Sup

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Diplomacy and the Study of International Relations by D. P. HEATLEY
Diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy - Supplementary notes



There is an abundant anti-Machiavel literature from an early date : sec, in Burd's edition (1891) of // Principe, the Introduction by Acton and by the editor. In Campanella's De Monarcbia Hispanica (c. 5) sharp antitheses are drawn between prudentia and astutia. E. g. ' Prudentia clemens est, et verax : Astutia crudelis, et adulatrix. . . . Prudentia dum pcrdit, acquirit (id quod Pctrus, et Papa adhuc hodic facit), et quanto penitius cognoscitur tanto ardentius a suis amatur. Astutia dum acquirit, perdit ; ct quanto magis nota est, tanto magis odio habctur. Sicut vidcrc est in scclesti illius Machiavelli discipulo Caesarc Borgia, qui per astutias suas principatum Flaminiac (hodie Romaniae) perdidit.' De Mon. Hisp., ed. 1641, 24-5. More significant arc the favourable, or not adverse, in- terpreters of Machiavelli. To Alberico Gentili, De legationibus libri tres (1585), iii. 9, quoted by Burd, op. cit. 63, Machiavelli is ' Democratiac laudator et assertor acerrimus ; natus, educatus, honoratus, in eo reipublicac statu ; tyrannidis summc inimicus. Itaque tyranno non favct : sui propositi non est, tyrannum instruerc, sed arcanis cius palam factis ipsum miseris

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populis nudum et conspicuum exhibere.' Similarly, Spinoza, Traclatus Politicus, c. v, 7 : ' Quibus autem mediis Princeps, qui sola dominandi libidine fertur, uti debet, ut imperium stabilire et conservare possit, acutissi- mus Machiavellus prolixe ostendit ; quern autem in finem, non satis constare videtur. Si quern tamen bonum habuit, ut de viro sapiente credendum est, fuisse videtur, ut ostenderet, quam imprudenter multi Tyrannum e medio tollere conantur. . . . Praeterea ostendere forsan voluit, quantum Hbera multitudo cavere debet, ne salutem suam uni absolute credat, qui nisi vanus sit, et omnibus se posse placere existimet, quotidie insidias timere debet ; atque adeo sibi potius cavere, et multitudini contra insidiari magis quam consulere cogitur ; et ad hoc de prudentissimo isto viro credendum magis adducor, quia pro libertate fuisse constat, ad quam etiam tuendam saluberrima consilia dedit.' Amelot de la Houssaie in his translation and commentary, Le Prince (1683), wrote : 'II ne faut pas s'etonner, si Machiavel est censure de tant de gens, puisqu'il y en a si peu, qui sachent ce que c'est que Raison-d" tat, et par consequent si peu, qui puissent etre juges com- petens de la qualite des preceptes qu'il donne, et des maximes qu'il enseigne,' p. 5 ; see further his Preface, partly quoted by Burd, 65-6. Amelot's notes are largely made up of passages from Tacitus, ' le Maitre et POracle ordinaire des Princes'. ' En feignant de donner des lemons aux rois ', says Rousseau of Machiavelli, ' il en a donne de grandes aux peuples. " Le Prince " de Machiavel est le livre des republicains.' Contrat Social, iii, c. 6. For Rousseau's views on the sway of ' interest ' and of ' Reason of State ' in international affairs, see Considerations sur le Gouvernement de Pologne, 0.15. According to Hegel, it was Machiavelli's high sense of the necessity of constituting a State that caused him to lay down the principles on which alone States could be formed in the circumstances of his time.


Machiavelli, himself an experienced ambassador and negotiator of treaties, shows his conception of the qualities requisite for a successful embassy in the instructions given by him to Raphael Girolami, Ambassador to the Emperor. It is necessary, he held, for an ambassador so to regulate his actions and conversation that he shall be thought a man of honour. A reputation for sincerity is ' highly essential, though too much neglected, as 1 have seen more than one so lose themselves in the opinion of princes by their duplicity, that they have been unable to conduct a negotiation of the most trifling importance. It is undoubtedly necessary for the ambassador occasionally

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to mask his game ; but it should so be done that suspicion shall not be awakened, and he ought always to be prepared with an answer in case of discovery.' The correspondence of an ambassador with his own Govern- ment has regard to three objects what is done, what is being done, and what may be done. The first alone is easy, although it may be difficult to obtain the requisite intelligence concerning a league between two Powers against a third, where it is to the interest of one of them to preserve secrecy, so that great prudence and circumspection are in such cases called for. The difficulty of knowing what is passing is of a different category, because in place of facts as data there are merely conjectures. ' Besides, the courts of princes are full of men whose sole occupation is to listen to everything, and to repeat what they have heard, as well to make friends of those to whom they communicate the intelligence, as to learn something from them which they may turn to their profit. The friendship of this class of men may be gained by talking of such things as dinners and gaming ; and 1 have seen very grave personages permit gaming at their houses, to afford the opportu- nity of seeing many persons whom it would otherwise have been difficult to meet in any place so as to converse with them. But, to extract any informa- tion from a man, you must occasionally encourage him by reposing a confi- dence in him, which he may think important. In a word, nothing is more likely to make others disclose what they know than to appear to set the example. But, in order to do this, an ambassador ought to be informed of all that passes at his own Court and elsewhere. . . . Amongst the matters of which you will hear, there will undoubtedly be many entirely false, as well as some that are true, or probable. It is your duty to weigh them with judgement, and inform your Court of those which you think have some foundation, and merit its attention ; and, as it would not be eligible to place your judgement in your own lips, I would recommend you to adopt the form of dispatches that several ministers have used with effect. It consists in an expose of the facts that have come to your knowledge, sketching the characters of the parties, and the interests which direct them, and concluding in this manner : " taking into consideration all I have said, the most judicious persons here think that such and such will be the result." . . . I know also some who, every month or two, were at the pains to give their Courts a picture of the general situation of the State or city where the prince resided to whom they were sent . . . ; for nothing is so well calculated to enlighten a Government as a knowledge of the resources of other States.'

The Balance of Power 79


' Europe forms a political system, an integral body, closely connected by the relations and different interests of the nations inhabiting this part of the world. It is not, as formerly, a confused heap of detached pieces. . . . The continual attention of sovereigns to every occurrence, the constant residence of ministers, and the perpetual negotiations, make of modern Europe a kind of republic, of which the members each independent, but all linked together by the ties of common interest unite for the maintenance of order and liberty. Hence arose that famous scheme of the political balance, or the equilibrium of power ; by which is understood such a disposition of things, as that no one potentate be able absolutely to predominate, and prescribe laws to the others. The surest means of preserving that equilibrium would be, that no power should be much superior to the others, that all, or at least the greater part, should be nearly equal in force. Such a project has been attributed to Henry IV ; but it would have been impossible to carry it into execution without injustice and violence. Besides . . . commerce, industry, military pre-eminence, would soon put an end to it. The right of inheritance . . . would completely overturn the whole system. It is a more simple, an easier, and a more equitable plan, to have recourse to the method ... of forming confederacies in order to oppose the more powerful potentate, and prevent him from giving law to his neighbours. Such is the mode at present pursued by the sovereigns of Europe. They consider the two principal powers, which on that very account, are naturally rivals, as destined to be checks on each other ; and they unite with the weaker, like so many weights thrown into the lighter scale, in order to keep it in equilibrium with the other. The house of Austria has long been the preponderating power : at present France is so in her turn. England, whose opulence and formidable fleets have a powerful influence, without alarming any state on the score of its liberty, because that nation seems cured of the rage of conquest England, I say, has the glory of holding the political balance. She is attentive to preserve it in equilibrium : a system of policy, which is in itself highly just and wise, and will ever entitle her to praise, as long as she continues to pursue it only by means of alliances, confederacies, and other methods equally lawful.' Vattel, Law of Nations (1758), Eng. tr. ed. by Chitty (1834), 311-13. 'Would the Right Honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer [Pitt] himself declare, that we were no longer in a situation to hold the balance of power in Europe, and to be looked up to as the protector of its liberties ? ... As to the assertion that a poor cottager was not to be talked to in that manner, he must maintain that he was 5 and

8o Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

notwithstanding the pressure of taxes under which the lower order of people in this country laboured, yet it was a comfort to hear that she was the balance of power, and the protector of the liberties of Europe.' Fox, February 15, 1787, Speeches (1815), iii. 285 ; cf. his speech, November 27, 1787, ibid. iii. 331. 'If Europe does not conceive the independence and the equilibrium of the Empire to be in the very essence of the system of balanced power in Europe, and if the scheme of public law in Europe, a mass of laws upon which that independence and equilibrium are founded, be of no leading consequence as they are preserved or destroyed, all the politics of Europe for more than two centuries have been miserably erroneous.' Burke, Thoughts on French Affairs (1791), Works (1823), vii. 28. Even the enormity of the crime of the partitioning of Poland ' the testament of the old Europe ' seemed to be mitigated, inasmuch as deference seemed to be paid to the principle of balance in the deed of partition. With true apprecia- tion and foresight, Burke wrote in 1772 to ' a Prussian gentleman ' : ' Pray, dear sir, what is next ? These powers will continue armed. Their arms must have employment. Poland was but a breakfast, and there are not many Polands to be found. Where will they dine ? After all our love of tranquillity, and all expedients to preserve it, alas, poor Peace ! ' Corre- spondence (1844), i. 403. The necessity of upholding a balance in Europe with a view to security is the central argument in Gentz' State of Europe before and after the French Revolution (an answer to Hauterive's De F Etat de la France a la Fin de VAn VllT) : see, more especially, in translation by Herries, 2nd ed., 1803, 17, 55, 92, 97-8, 122, 153, 223-4, 258, 261 ; and, on the partitioning of Poland, 112, 131-44. See also Bernard, Four Lectures on Diplomacy (1868), 97-100, and works mentioned in foot-note, p. loo.


The ' secret diplomacy ' or ' secret correspondence ' of Louis XV has its first beginnings in 1745, at the time of the pourparlers with the Polish nobles at Paris in the interest of the candidature of the Prince de Conti for the Polish throne. Conti was at first the chief agent of the King in la diplomatie secrete. It received impetus from the fall of d'Argenson in January 1 747, and in 1750 is found in vigorous and widely-diffused activity. The Count de Broglie became attached to it on March 12, 1752, and two days later was nominated Ambassador to Poland. See Boutaric, Correspondance secrete inedite de Louis XV (i 886) ; Le Due de Broglie, Le Secret du Roi (i 878), and Politique de tous les Cabinets de t Europe . . . contenant des Pieces autben- tiques sur la Correspondance secrite du Cte de Broglie . . . ; first published

Secret Diplomacy of Louis XV 81

in 1793 in 2 vols. ; later, with notes and commentaries and additions by Segur, in 3 vols., 2nd ed. 1801, 3rd ed. 1802. Segur' s Preface of twenty pages and his notes are of great value, especially for their insight and suggestiveness. ' Le Comte de Broglie avoit trop d'esprit, et Favier trop de connoissances pour croire sincerement qu'on put, au milieu de la fluctua- tion des Cabinets de 1'Europe, et des variations de leurs forces et de leurs projets, etablir un systeme federatif permanent ; ils devoient savoir qu'il n'existe pour aucune puissance, ni ami, ni ennemi naturel, que pour un temps plus ou moins long, et que les amities et les rivalites des Peuples doivent changer comme leur fortune et les caracteres de ceux qui les gouver- nent. Ce qu'on doit naturellement penser, c'est que le Ministere secret, imagine par la mefiance du Monarque franc.ais, vouloit, pour se rendre utile, combattre le systeme du Ministere public . . . Les Memoires du Comte de Broglie, le Tableau Politique de Favier, et les Doutes de ce meme Auteur sur le Traite de 1756 [contained in Politique de tous les Cabinets], sont devenus des Ouvrages presque classiques aux yeux des nouveaux diplomates : le succes prodigieux qu'ils ont obtenu dans un temps ou ils flattoient les preventions et les haines nationales, les a revetus d'une autorite que je crois utile de combattre et d'affoiblir.' i. (3rd ed.) 17, 1 8. ' Ce qui prouve sans replique le vice de ce systeme, c'est que chacun des ambassadeurs qui ont eu part a cette correspondance, ignoree de leur chef, auroient, lorsqu'ils ont etc ministres, blame et poursuivi avec animosite tout homme qui en auroit entretenu quelqu'une a leur insu.' Ibid. 86-7 (from a note by Segur).


The correspondence for 1757 and 1758 preserved in the Public Record Office, Prussia, 70-71, furnishes ample evidence of Frederick's growing distrust of the British Parliament in the early years of the war, and before his disposition of mind became one of fixed ' abuse '. See Holdernesse's letter to Mitchell, November 29, 1757 ; Mitchell to Holdernesse, November 28, 1757 ('During the whole Campaign England has done nothing, the Strength of the Nation was melted away in Faction ') ; Holdernesse to Mitchell, December 12, 1757 ('You will have learnt, with Pleasure, the Unanimity with which the present Session of Parliament has been opened ; the Zeal with which the Protestant cause is supported ; and the chearfulness with which People, in general, will bear the heavy Load. . . . An Attempt to send British troops abroad wou'd put the continuance of this happy Situation of Things at Home to the greatest Hazard ; and it is past doubt, that a unanimity in Parliament is, in this critical session, of much more


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consequence to the Interests of Germany, than a few British troops joined to the Armies there could possibly be ') ; Mitchell to Holdernesse, December 25, 1757 (' I have no doubt His Prussian Majesty will be highly pleased with the affectionate Manner in which His Majesty has mentioned him to His Parliament, and with the Addresses of both Houses, but He will naturally say Words will no longer do, what succour will your Nation give to carry on the War next year ? . . . What assurances can you give that your Nation will act with Vigour and Spirit, against the Common Enemy ? or will this Winter be spent (as the last was) in fruitless Enquiries who is to be blamed for the late Miscarriages ? ') ; Holdernesse to Mitchell (a strong letter), February 25, 1758; Mitchell to Holdernesse, December n, 1758 ('His Prussian Majesty . . . congratulated me on the Harmony and Unanimity, which now prevail in the Councils of Great Britain, which he said was a most fortunate event for the Common Cause, and could not fail of being productive of the best effects, whether the Allies were obliged to carry on the War, or enabled to make an honourable and secure Peace ').