For a theory of the diplomatic discourse

Presupposing the concept of discourse (factitiveness, interactivity, contextuality and intertextuality), the diplomatic discourse is analysed in its specificity, that is as a set of structures and procedures, being its «diplomaticity». Two specific features are identified as necessary and relevant, namely its ambiguity and obliqueness. Ambiguity is what conditions any diplomatic manoeuvre; obliqueness is the way it operates. They both function on the semantic and pragmatic level. Two historical examples are used to illustrate this fact : the China of Spring and Automn and the Hanse of 15th century. This diplomatic discourse thus proves to be a subtle art which cultivates the ambiguity inherent in communication between men, as well as States and which is a truly powerful resource. – Summary AFRI-2005