Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or nations. In an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational, or social manner.
- If we think of nations as "actors" on the world stage, diplomats are the stage hands.
- Gregory Adams, All the World's a Stage.
- DIPLOMACY, n. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1948), p. 72 (originally published in 1906 as The Cynic's Word Book).
- It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy; power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy. This is why the weak are so deeply concerned with the democratic principle of the sovereign equality of states, as a means of providing some small measure of equality for that which is not equal in fact. Coming from a developing country, I was trained extensively in international law and diplomacy and mistakenly assumed that the great powers, especially the United States, also trained their representatives in diplomacy and accepted the value of it. But the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States. Diplomacy is perceived by an imperial power as a waste of time and prestige and a sign of weakness.
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as quoted in Unvanquished : A U.S. - U.N. Saga (1999), p. 198.
- Diplomacy is to do and say
The nastiest things in the nicest way.
- Isaac Goldberg, The Reflex.
- May the pens of the diplomats not ruin again what the people have attained with such exertions.
- Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, After the Battle of Waterloo (1815).
- A Foreign Secretary—and this applies also to a prospective Foreign Secretary—is always faced with this cruel dilemma. Nothing he can say can do very much good, and almost anything he may say may do a great deal of harm. Anything he says that is not obvious is dangerous; whatever is not trite is risky. He is forever poised between the cliché and the indiscretion.
- Harold Macmillan, secretary of state for foreign affairs, remarks in the House of Commons (July 27, 1955), Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), House of Commons Official Report, vol. 544, col. 1301.
- These, then, are the qualities of my ideal diplomatist. Truth, accuracy, calm, patience, good temper, modesty and loyalty. They are also the qualities of an ideal diplomacy. But, the reader may object, you have forgotten intelligence, knowledge, discernment, prudence, hospitality, charm, industry, courage and even tact. I have not forgotten them. I have taken them for granted.
- Sir Harold George Nicolson, Diplomacy (1939), chapter 3, p. 126.
- An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.
- Henry Wotton, Written in the album of Christopher Fleckmore (1604).