secret diplomacy how far can it be eliminated

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: n OLD DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE The correspondence of diplomats of the eighteenth century is full of interest because of the particular intimacy which characterized social life at that time. But we receive from it also direct and invaluable information on the spirit and methods of diplomacy. The correspondence from St. Petersburg at the time of Catherine the Great gives a complete picture of the less noble features of diplomatic life and action. At that Court, presided over by a woman of great ambition whose every movement and mood the diplomats felt necessary to take into account and carefully to calculate, at a time when England and France as well as other nations were involved in almost constant hostilities, the sharpest characteristics of eighteenth century diplomacy came to the surface. Politics is seen as a game of forfeits and favors in which wars were made for personal and dynastic reasons and territories traded off in the spirit of the gamester without regard to natural or ethnic facts, or the welfare of the population. A letter written near the beginning of Catherine's reign, addressed by Sir George Macartney to the Earl of Sandwich, most strikingly illustrates the character of the period. The British Minister first reports that M. Panin, the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, had signed a treaty of alliance with Denmark, contemplating war with Turkey. By a most secret article, Denmark promises "to disengage herself from all French connections, demanding only a limited time to endeavor to obtain the arrears due to her by the Court of France. At all events, she is immediately to enter into all the views of Russia in Sweden, and to act entirely, though not openly, with her in that kingdom." The writer then reports that it is the ardent wish of the Empress "to m...
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