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Diplomacy Under a Foreign Flag

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Diplomacy under a Foreign Flag: When Nations Break Relations

“The excellent case studies in this gem of a book are all written by experienced diplomats and have a practical tone and the ring of authenticity.”

Foreign Affairs

Experienced diplomats who have been involved in breaks in diplomatic relations and their aftermath address a hitherto neglected but significant aspect of diplomacy: the role of a protecting power and, in recent years, that of an interests section serving under a protecting power’s flag in maintaining dialogue in the absence of diplomatic relations. Case histories illustrate how, in the wake of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, U.S. interests sections in Cairo and Algiers, under the Spanish and Swiss flags respectively, and an Egyptian interests section in Washington under the flag of India, continued virtually full relations. Other cases recount the sensitive Swiss role in the U.S.-Iran hostage crisis; the hurried evacuation and hand-over to Belgium of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in June 1967; and the conduct of U.S. diplomacy in Havana since 1961 under the flag of Switzerland.

The book also provides an historic overview of the role of third countries as protecting powers, documents the preeminent “good offices” role of Switzerland, and summarizes instances in which the United States was either a protected or protecting power. The authors, all career diplomats, are Donald C. Bergus, James J. Blake, William L. Eagleton, Jr., Ashraf Ghorbal, Grant V. McClanahan, David D. Newsom, Raymond Probst, and Wayne S. Smith.