Books: How to be Perfidious

DIPLOMACY—Harold Nicolson—Harcourt, Brace ($2).

Intriguing European diplomats have long regarded their phlegmatic British rivals as men of diabolic cunning. They compress their admiration and envy into the epithet, perfidious Albion. Even Heinrich Heine warned against "the treacherous and murderous intrigues of those Carthaginians of the North Sea." Writer-Diplomat Harold Nicolson in his Diplomacy, published last fortnight, says British diplomats seem "treacherous" because they are amateurish, opportunist, childishly simple, sentimental. Salient traits of British diplomacy to Author Nicolson are a "national distaste for logic and a national preference for dealing with situations after...

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