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In the first major assessment of diplomatic dialogue since Nicolson's Diplomacy in 1939, Adam Watson traces the changing techniques of diplomacy from ancient times through the 'diplomatic society' of Europe to the present global system. In examining the conventions and institutions which help to shape the international system the author aims not so much to preserve diplomatic order which worked well in the past but rather to identify the continuities and the new conditions which will enable the dialogue to function in the future. He pays special attention to the extension of the dialogue into new fields and to the impact of the newly independent states of the third world. This leads him to argue strongly that the world's growing interdependence has increased rather than lessened the scope of diplomacy in the nuclear age.