Diplomacy with a Difference: the Commonwealth Office of High Commissioner, 1880-2006

Author: Lorna Lloyd
This book illuminates two familiar phenomena – diplomacy and the Commonwealth – from a new and unfamiliar angle: the atypical way in which the Commonwealth’s members came to, and continue to, engage in official relations with each other. This innovative and wide-ranging study is based on archival material from four states, interviews and correspondence with diplomats, and a wide range of secondary sources. It shows how members of an empire found it necessary to engage in diplomacy and, in so doing, created a singular, and often remarkably intimate, diplomatic system. The result is a fascinating, multidisciplinary exploration of the evolving Commonwealth and the way in which its 53 members and Ireland conduct diplomacy with one another, and in so doing have contributed a distinctive terminology to the diplomatic lexicon.

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Lorna Lloyd was educated at the London School of Economics and teaches International Relations at Keele University. She has written Peace through Law. Britain and the International Court in the 1920s (The Boydell Press for the Royal Historical Society, 1997), and is a co-author of International Organisation in World Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 3rd edition, 2004).
“one of the best [books] on the history of diplomacy to appear in recent years. There is no doubt that it will come to be regarded as the standard work on the subject. No Foreign Ministry should be without it.” – G.R. Berridge

“This meticulous work of scholarship should remain a standard reference and history of its subject for many years to come.” – International Affairs

“In meticulous detail, drawing on documents in the official archives of Commonwealth countries, newspaper reports, personal interviews, and e-mail correspondence with role-players, and various other sources, Lorna Lloyd has put together a detailed history. […] Although the subject of the book is the office of high commissioner, the development of that office and how all its travails played themselves out against the background of the history of the 20th and the early years of the 21st century and the figures involved are also covered. It is a fascinating story in itself, but also a record of how much political attitudes have changed over the past century, and more especially over the past 50 or so years.” - South African Journal of International Affairs

Diplomacy with a Difference is indisputably an impressively researched nd in many ways pioneering historical study” - Millennium – Journal of International Studies

"This substantial and well researched book provides with unique depth and detail, analysis of a little understood and not nowadays much studies aspect of diplomacy - the Commonwealth dimension." - Peter Lyon, British Journal of Canadian Studies 21.2 (2008)

“The author succeeds in providing a fascinating amount of the twists and turns in the origin and evolution of the office of the high commissioner in the context of its historically close association with the Commonwealth . . . . The author deserves praise for the meticulous and extensive citations primarily from declassified British documents.” – International Studies(2009).

“Lloyd’s writing exhibits traditional virtues. Drawing on memoirs and interviews as well as minutes from government archives, she makes her story readable without sacrificing its intricacy of historical detail. As in her earlier book Peace through Law, she demonstrates how the skillfully interwoven strands of law, diplomacy and institutions can illuminate the study of international relations.” - Political Studies Review (2009)
The office of high commissioner
High commissioners and diplomacy

Chapter 1 - Beginnings, 1880-1914
§ Colonial representation in London
§ The emergence of the office of high commissioner
§ Early high commissioners and the establishment of the office

Chapter 2 - Consolidation: 1914 – late 1930s
§ The growing stature of the dominions: their entry into international relations and the question of constitutional change
§ The enhanced standing of high commissioners in London
§ The importance of the office
§ An expanding work load
§ The growing diplomatic character of the office
§ Winning enhanced status
§ Consultation, information gathering, and high commissioners’ meetings
§ Limitations on high commissioners as diplomats
§ Problems with prime ministers
§ Other channels of communication
§ Prime minister to prime minister
§ Government-to-government
§ Liaison officers
§ The decline of the office of governor-general and the emergence of British high commissioners
§ South African and Irish overtures to Canada, and the despatch of a South African ‘Accredited Representative’

Chapter 3 - Discontent, late 1930s – mid-1940s
§ High commissioners and high commissioners’ meetings during the Second World War
§ The expansion of high commissions
§ Anglo-Irish complications
§ High commissioner woes: Canada and South Africa
§ The standing of high commissioners elsewhere
§ Post-War developments
§ Ireland and Australia: ‘an Ambassador, or a Minister or a What’?
§ Moving forwards: Ireland and Canada
§ Deputy high commissioners

Chapter 4 - Equal Status, 1946-1948
§ Discussions in Ottawa
§ Dominion views of the office
§ Britain’s deliberations
§ The Prime Ministers’ Meeting, 11-22 October 1948
§ Implementing the Prime Ministers’ decisions

Chapter 5 - Substantive equality, late 1940s – early 1950s
§ Keeping India in the Commonwealth
§ High commissioners to and from India, Pakistan, and Ceylon
§ India and the question of translating high commissioners into ambassadors
§ Accreditation and agréation
§ The diplomatic consequences of Ireland’s departure from the Commonwealth
§ Later problems
§ Diplomatic immunity
§ High commissioners and the décanat
§ Further equality
§ South Africa and the décanat, 1956

Chapter 6 - ‘Ambassadors plus’, early 1950s – mid-1960s
§ Pageantry and protocol
§ Royal occasions
§ Presentation of Credentials
§ The activity of high commissioners
§ Relations with the receiving state
§ The influence of British high commissions
§ Collegial relations
§ The Commonwealth Relations Office
§ CRO diplomacy
§ Information sharing
§ Ireland and the CRO
§ Safeguarding the office: the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
§ Preparation
§ The Conference, 2 March-18 April 1961
§ Impact

Chapter 7 - Normalisation, early 1960s – mid-1970s
§ Consular relations
§ The Commonwealth’s consular arrangements
§ The 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR)
§ Preparation
§ The Conference
§ From the Vienna Conference to consular relations
§ Comings – and goings
§ South Africa
§ Pakistan
§ The Commonwealth Secretariat
§ Meetings of high commissioners and of Commonwealth heads of mission
§ The position of high commissioners
§ Titular flexibility – and orthodoxy
§ CRO diplomacy and the demise of the CRO
§ Britain and the décanat
§ British high commissioners and the décanat in newly-independent states
§ The doyen in London
§ Australian sniping

Chapter 8 - Survival: mid-1970s – 2006
§ The position of high commissioners
§ Information sharing and collective meetings
§ Relations between individual high commissioners
§ High commissioners and the receiving state
§ The office and the Commonwealth
§ Unexpected applicants – and lost sheep
§ Return of the prodigal
§ The question of Ireland
§ A Commonwealth constituency
§ The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth
Students of the Commonwealth, diplomacy, international history and international law, together with diplomats posted to and from Commonwealth countries, especially its older members, and to and from Ireland.