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The “Piano Virtuosos” of International Politics: Informal Diplomacy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth Century Ottoman Empire

Andreas Rathberger
From the journal New Global Studies

Abstract

Drawing on source material from archives in Vienna, Berlin, London and Jerusalem, this article aims to reconstruct the circumstances, methods and mechanics of informal diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire under the rule of Sultan Abdülhamit II between 1876 and 1909, answering the following questions: How did the special social, political and economic circumstances of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ottoman Empire affect the effectiveness of informal diplomacy? Who was part of informal diplomatic networks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ottoman Empire and who employed their services? How were these networks created, how did they function and what motivated their members?

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  1. 1
  2. 2

    This process has been frequently analysed in the context of the developments leading to the Armenian Genocide. See for instance Akçam (1996, 21–24); Bloxham (2005, 37–57); Zürrer (1970, 29–42); Hoffmann (1997, 77); Fritz (2006, 35).

  3. 3

    On the nineteenth century Great Powers and the so-called “Concert of Powers” see Schulz (2004); Schulz (2009); Verosta (1988, 15–19).

  4. 4

    At various times throughout the year 1895, the powerful and influential Grand Viziers Said Paşa and Mehmet Kâmil Paşa, themselves close confidants of the Sultan, felt it necessary to flee to foreign embassies in Constantinople, fearing that they or their families were about to be murdered by order of Abdülhamit II. See Calice to Gołuchowski, Constantinople, November 14, 1895, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (HHStA) Vienna, PA I/162 Nr. 47A–H; Telegram from Calice to Gołuchowski, Constantinople, December 5, 1895, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/162 Nr. 126; Telegram from Calices Calice to Gołuchowski, Constantinople, December 6, 1895, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/162 Nr. 127; Telegrams from Calice to Gołuchowski, Constantinople, December 8, 1895, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/162 Nr. 129, 130; Telegram from Calice to Gołuchowski, Constantinople, December 9, 1895, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/162 Nr. 132.

  5. 5

    The ambassadors were aware of the problematic character of this “multiple mandate” but unable to find a practical solution. See Calice to Gołuchowski, Constantinople, January 7, 1897, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/168 private.

  6. 6

    On the Ottoman State debt and foreign economic interests in the Ottoman Empire, see e.g. Birdal (2010, 1–16); Quataert (1994, 773–75); Shaw and Shaw (1977, 223–27); Zürrer (1970, 20–26).

  7. 7

    See for instance the case of Berthold Arpad Popper Baron Podhragy described in Gelber (1959, 119); Albertall to unknown, excerpt, Constantinople, March 16, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PAXII/166 private; Herzl (1922, 438).

  8. 8

    On the Christian “Levantine” families of Constantinople and their traditional, transnational networks see Schmitt (2005, 15–118, 185–219, 305–83).

  9. 9
  10. 10

    On the Austro-Polish idea see Batowski (1980).

  11. 11

    On the “Literarisches Bureau” and its methods see Gemeinhardt (1980, 51–60); Kammerhofer (1989); Rottensteiner (1967, 8, 36–42).

  12. 12

    HHStA Vienna, PL Index 8.

  13. 13

    Falke to Andrássy, Vienna, June 20, 1878, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  14. 14

    Report by Section Chief Falke von Lilienstein (Department III, Literarisches Bureau) to the First Section of the Foreign Ministry, February 9, 1873, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, August 22, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Zichy to Falke, October 4, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Zichy, November 4, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, November 9, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Wyzínski to Falke, November 18, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Newlinski, December 5, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Zichy, December 25, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Bill on travel costs Constantinople–Vienna submitted by Newlinski, January 13, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Gelber (1959, here 115).

  15. 15

    Gelber (1959, 115–17, 122); Keil (1998, 194); See Falke to Pasetti, May 31, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Anonymous informer to Falke, September 6, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Lübeck to Falke, March 21, 1885, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Freiberg to Falke, March 24, 1885, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Pasetti, February 6, 1886, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Pasetti, April 30, 1887, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Newlinski, May 2, 1887, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski, to Falke, May 9, 1887, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  16. 16

    A l’usage des redactions de journaux, ambassades, consulats et banques”, see e.g. Correspondance de l’Est, December 20, 1897, CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  17. 17

    Friedman (2004, here 61–63); Gelber (1959, 115–22); Mandel (1974, here 317–19); Burian to Kálnoky, February 18, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Wolkenstein to Kálnoky, November 13, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Herbert to Unknown, May 21, 1896, TNA/PRO London, FO 78/4708 private; Albertall to unknown, January 23, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; Albertall to unknown, March 16, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; Albertall to unknown, May 29, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 Nr. 7; Newlinski to unknown, April 8, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; see Circular of Newlinski and Willner to the editors of all Vienna newspapers, October 10, 1887, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  18. 18

    Gelber (1959, 119); See Albertall to unknown, excerpt, March 16, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PAXII/166 private; Herzl (1922, 438p).

  19. 19

    Gelber (1959, 119–22); Herzl (1922, 396, 427, 464); See Calice to Kálnoky, February 23, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Albertall to unknown, excerpt, January 23, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PAXII/166 private; Newlinski to Dóczi, April 8, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 69 private; Newlinski’s report on the activities of Armenian committees in London, Vienna May/June 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691; Newlinski to Dóczi, July 9, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 69 private.

  20. 20

    Albertall to unknown, January 23, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; Albertall to unknown, March 16, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; Newlinski to Dóczi, April 8, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 69 private; Literarisches Bureau to First Section of the Foreign Ministry, April 18, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL69; Albertall to unknown, May 29, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 Nr. 7; Newlinski to Dóczi, July 9, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 69 private.

  21. 21

    See file index of the Literarisches Bureau, HHStA Vienna, PL Index 8.

  22. 22

    Gelber (1959, 125–27); Herbert to Unknown, May 21, 1896, TNA PRO London, FO 78/4708 private.

  23. 23

    See Gelber (1959, 123–50); Herzl (1922, 350, 387, 395–403, 414–65, 477, 480–82, 494, 499–503, 516–20, 523, 542, 554–56, 558, 561, 574, 583, 593, 604); Herzl (1925, 28–34, 44, 53–55, 104, 118–24, 150, 166, 238–41, 271, 290, 298, 302).

  24. 24

    CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691; CZA Jerusalem, H1\3562.

  25. 25

    Gelber (1959, 121); Herzl (1925, 300); See Newlinski to Foreign Ministry, April 5, 1878, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Foreign Ministry, July 16, 1878, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Albertall to unknown, excerpt, January 23, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PAXII/166 private; Unknown (1899, 12).

  26. 26

    Wyzínski to Falke, November 18, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, August 22, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  27. 27

    Falke to Pasetti, February 6, 1886, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  28. 28

    Keil (1998, 194); Gelber (1959, 115–18); Service contract Newlinski, May 23, 1879, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Order for payment of fees to Newlinski, Pasetti to Ankers, May 23, 1879, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Periodischer Bericht Newlinski to Literarisches Bureau, May 7, 1879, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, March 10, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, March 11, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Order for payment of fees, Falke to Ankert, May 31, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  29. 29

    Falke to Pasetti, May 31, 1884, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  30. 30

    Circular of Newlinski and Willner to the editors of all Vienna newspapers, October 10, 1887, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  31. 31

    Burian to Kálnoky, February 18, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  32. 32

    Herzl (1922, 500–02, 604); Martin Fuerth to Newlinski, Sofia, March 21, 1897, CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  33. 33

    Hengelmüller to Kálnoky, Belgrade, March 14, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45. See Neamţu (2003).

  34. 34

    Calice to Kálnoky, Constantinople, February 23, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  35. 35

    Calice to Kálnoky, February 23, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Telegram from Kálnoky to Hengelmüller, March 8, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Gelber (1959, 117).

  36. 36

    Calice to Kálnoky, February 23, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  37. 37

    See Albertall to unknown, excerpt, January 23, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PAXII/166 private.

  38. 38

    Albertall to unknown, January 23, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; Albertall to unknown, March 16, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 private; Newlinski to Dóczi, April 8, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 69 private; Literarisches Bureau to First Section of the Foreign Ministry, April 18, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL69; Albertall to unknown, May 29, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PA XII/166 Nr. 7; Newlinski to Dóczi, July 9, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 69 private.

  39. 39

    Falke to Pasetti, May 31, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  40. 40

    Newlinski to Herzl, June 17, 1898, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  41. 41

    Gelber (1959, 123–26); Herzl (1922, 395–97, 399–403); Newlinski to Herzl, May 8, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  42. 42

    Gelber (1959, 125–28); Herzl (1922, 414–19); Telegram from Newlinski to Herzl, May 13, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691; Herbert to Unknown, May 21, 1896, TNA PRO London, FO 78/4708 private; to Herzl, May 28, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  43. 43

    “Grande priere achetez deux garniture cheminee composel pendule deux candelabres en argent premiere qualite demimetre hateur ou plus massif style rennaisance et une oriental ou moresque deux a trois mille francs chacune payees comptant. Eu ai besoin urgent pour sa majeste personnellement, ici impossible trouver […]” Telegram from Newlinski to Herzl, July 16, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691 (translation from French by the author).

  44. 44

    Telegram from Newlinski to Herzl, July 17, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691; Telegram from Newlinski to Herzl, July 18, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691; Telegram from Newlinski to Herzl, July 19, 1896, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691; Herzl (1922, 487).

  45. 45

    Danusso to Newlinski, September 20, 1897, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\169; Newlinski to Herzl, September 25, 1897, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  46. 46

    Newlinski to Herzl, November 14, 1897, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  47. 47

    Danusso to Newlinski, n.d. (spring 1899?), HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

  48. 48

    Newlinski to Herzl, March 17, 1899, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\3562.

  49. 49

    Newlinski to Herzl, March 17, 1899, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\3562.

  50. 50

    Keil (1998, 194); Gelber (1959, 115); Falke to Zichy, November 4, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, November 9, 1876, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  51. 51

    Newlinski to Falke, March 10, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Newlinski to Falke, March 11, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Falke to Pasetti, May 31, 1884, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  52. 52

    Lübeck to Falke, March 21, 1885, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Burian to Kálnoky, February 18, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Kálnoky to Burian, February 21, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Calice to Kálnoky, February 23, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Telegram from Kálnoky to Hengelmüller, March 8, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45; Hengelmüller to Kálnoky, March 14, 1889, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  53. 53

    Copy of an informer’s report from Vienna, forwarded by the Foreign Office in Berlin to the Literarisches Bureau in Vienna, April 10, 1890, CZA Jerusalem, CM 45.

  54. 54

    Newlinski to Herzl, March 17, 1899, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\3562.

  55. 55

    “Da ich nicht die Politik meiner Nation machen kann, ist mir alles Wurst. Ich unternehme Kunstreisen in der Politik, wie ein Klaviervirtuose – das ist alles.” Herzl (1922, 448) (translation from German by the author).

  56. 56

    Gelber (1959, 138–41); Herzl (1925, 28, 31, 34); Newlinski to Herzl, September 13, 1897, HHStA Vienna, PL 255/CZA Jerusalem, H1\1691.

Published Online: 2014-4-2
Published in Print: 2014-3-1

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