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British Diplomacy: foreign secretaries reflect

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Graham Ziegner (ed); Professor William Wallace (introduction)
Politico's Publishing (March 2007)

Revealing accounts of the challenges faced by British foreign secretaries over the last three decades. In 2003 LSE arranged a series of lectures from five politicians who once held the position of foreign secretary. These lectures, updated, have now been brought together in British Diplomacy: foreign secretaries reflect, with an introduction by Professor William Wallace and a conclusion, considering New Labour's foreign policy, by Professor Christopher Hill and Tim Oliver.

The contributors provide a unique insight into the thoughts and actions of the holders of one of the most difficult and challenging posts within British government, highlighting the problems faced during their time as Foreign Secretary and giving a personal account of how these problems were tackled.

British Diplomacy: foreign secretaries reflect covers the period from the early 19th century to the present day, but concentrates on the four decades since the 1970s, an era which included such major events as Britain's membership of the EEC and the ongoing debate; the Falklands War; the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the USSR; the First Gulf War; conflict in the Balkans; and the proliferation of international terrorism.

It provides a fascinating overview of how the many challenges to British diplomacy have been addressed in the past and what lessons can be learnt by current and future policymakers. While aimed primarily at people studying or working in government and politics, the book contains plenty to fascinate the general reader.

  • David Owen (February 1977-May 1979) The Ever-Growing Dominance of No 10 in British Diplomacy since 5 April 1983
  • Lord Carrington (May 1979-April 1982) The Continuing Problems
  • Geoffrey Howe (June 1983-July 1989) Politics and Personality in the Thatcher Years
  • Douglas Hurd (October 1989-July 1995) After Iraq - What Future for Humanitarian Intervention?
  • Malcolm Rifkind (July 1995-May 1997) The Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom - Is it Special?


  • Graham Ziegner is an international relations graduate of LSE holds a Master's degree from St Antony's College, Oxford. He currently works for the House of Commons in Brussels.
  • William Wallace is a professor at LSE, teaching in the European Institute and the International Relations Department.

Press cuttings

Financial Times
British Diplomacy: foreign secretaries reflect (12 June)
Review of the book, British Diplomacy edited by Graham Ziegner, which is a series of LSE lectures and reflections on British diplomacy given by Foreign Secretaries and academics.

Public Servant
Foreign territory for Number 10? (12 June)