Excerpt from "Ivo Andric on Diplomacy", Knowledge and Diplomacy


It is not only that diplomacy "is not for everyone", but one can say unreservedly that only a small number of people really have the gift and vocation for this work. It is, of course, far harder to say what those people are like and what they ought to be like. But, let us try.

  • They are people of sound but straightforward intelligence
  • people of simplified and limited sensitivity and a cool heart, but not without heart or any sensitivity; 
  • capable of deception, but not closed and mysterious, still less underhand;
  • strong, but not rough; 
  • quick and decisive, but not hasty or impulsive; 
  • realistic, sober, but not dry and dull. 
  • They need to know a certain amount, but there should be no trace of erudition or pedantry in what they know, and their knowledge should agreeably surprise and perhaps impress those with whom they are speaking, but never embarrass, offend or shame them. 
  • It is the same with their courage: they need to have it, and it should be sound and reliable, but they should display it only in extreme circumstances and bear it as they bear arms which everyone knows they have, but are never seen. 
  • They must also have imagination, but only in a certain degree, enough for a man to see every issue from every point of view and with all its possibilities and immediate consequences; anything more than that is both dangerous for them and damaging to the work they are doing.


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