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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 2

John Quincy’s introduction to Washington’s diplomacy came when the president invited him to a reception for a delegation of Chickasaw Indians. This was John Quincy’s first experience with the uneasy relations between the federal government and the various tribes along America’s frontier.

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Chronicles of an American Diplomat: John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was born into politics and war. As a small child in Boston, John Quincy lived in a town under British occupation. From the heights near the family farm in Braintree, he and his mother Abigail witnessed the distant fire and smoke of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. John Adams, while serving in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, sent home to the family detailed reports of the move towards independence; and of the military resistance and diplomatic steps needed to sustain the revolution. He encouraged John Quincy and his other children to contemplate these profound events and to prepare themselves, as future statesmen, to meet the challenges to the new country.

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Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-1822 (1957)

A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problem of Peace, 1812-1822, Kissinger's first book, was written in the early 1950s while Kissinger was a young doctoral student at Harvard. The book was initially not as famous or as influential as his later books. Its focus on diplomatic negotiations following the fall of Napoleon was seen by his peers as esoteric and out of tune with the times. In a world featuring nuclear weapons, why dissect the diplomatic wrangling of the 19th century? This view may have characterized the dissertation turned book at the time of its writing, but today Restored is widely regarded as essential reading for the student of strategy and diplomacy.

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François de Callières, The Art of Diplomacy (1716)

In The Art of Diplomacy, secret diplomacy is considered as embedded in the art of negotiation. In this regard, Callières notes that secrecy is absolutely necessary for the generation of confidence and understanding. He advocates that secret negotiations could help maintain peace and thus are necessary to manage relationships between states. Callières believes that before a diplomat could progress towards a negotiated settlement of a dispute, confidence and confidentiality have to be established. He explains that “an able minister will take care that no man shall penetrate into his secret before the proper time.”

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Paul Seabury, The Wilhelmstrasse (1954)

The German Empire created by Bismarck inherited from Prussia a highly rationalized, professional trained, permanent bureaucracy, an important part of which was the Foreign Office (the Wilhelmstrasse). The prestige of this bureaucracy as a whole was enormous. Its personnel was recruited not only from the aristocracy but from the commercial and, later, industrial middle class. By the turn of the 20th century it represented an amalgam of the "liberal" nationalist and conservative elements of German society. The early Weimar Republic attempted to democratize German diplomacy by introducing "new blood" into lower career-service posts and appoint non-career officials into higher positions. The experiment failed.

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