‘“The Diplomatic Digestive Organ”': The Foreign Office as the Nerve Centre of Foreign Policy, c. 1800-1940

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Foreign ministries form a central part of modern diplomatic practice. They emerged slowly and haphazardly from the late fifteenth century onwards. With the growth in scope – both geographical and temporal – and intensity of diplomacy came the need for a central organization that could control and coordinate policy at the seat of government.

In Tudor and Elizabethan England, too, the steady growth of diplomatic activity spurred on institutional change in the shape of the Principal Secretary of State. Initially, an officer of the royal household, executing the decisions of the monarch and the Privy Council, over time much of his business came to be focused on foreign affairs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish World Policy and the Projection of British Power, 1830-1960
EditorsT.G. Otte
Place of PublicationCambridge
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

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