The traditional, stereotypical image of the diplomat is that of gentlemanly intellectual, ‘bon viveur’ and adventurer, socially adept and thus skilled in the art of negotiation. However, an investigation of the history of diplomatic information and communication practices – from the era of manuscript and messenger through to the ages of the telegraph and telephone, and now that of the internet – reveals the diplomat less as gentlemanly negotiator than as knowledge manager, as a collector and conduit of information designed to enhance the knowledge of policy-makers.

Knowledge management and diplomacy: Reflections on the demise of the valedictory despatch in the context of an informational history of the British Diplomatic Service

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