Troubador Shaking My Briefcase

Released: 28/04/2016

ISBN: 9781785890222

Format: Paperback

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Shaking My Briefcase

Diplomatic Stories


Alan Charlton couldn't describe diplomacy to his small children beyond saying he went to the Embassy to shake his briefcase. This book tells stories for everyone interested in foreign affairs, places and people in five sections: Middle East, Germany, Home Front, United States and Brazil (where he was British Ambassador 2008-2013). He learned Arabic, admired Jordan - his first overseas posting - and supported The Queen's groundbreaking visit there in 1984. In the Foreign Office, he was Israel desk officer; and involved in the diplomacy of the hostage-taking in Lebanon in the 1980s.He was Deputy Chief of the Assessments staff during the Iraq-Kuwait war. He was a Germanist. He served in Berlin before, during and after the Fall of the Wall - working the arcane Four-Power status of the city, meeting Rudolf Hess, living the tragedy and joy of escape attempts, the collapse of the GDR and German Unification. He was later Deputy Ambassador when The Queen opened the quirky new British Embassy in Berlin in 2000. He was intensely involved from London in the post-Cold- War diplomacy of Former Yugoslavia and attended the 1995 Dayton Peace Conference. His last job in London was HR Director and Member of the Board of Management, different but with its own stories and opportunity to travel. He was Deputy Ambassador to the US (2004-2008) at a time of close relations, and managed to visit all 50 states. He was Ambassador to Brazil (2008-2013), a country of dazzling diversity, fizz and contradictions - where the UK made a renewed effort with Royal and Government visits and diplomacy included a gorilla called Idi. Some of these Stories are about Diplomacy. Others are personal. Alan Charlton wants to share them while fresh in his memory.

Thanks to John Humphrys for hosting me on the Today Programme on 13 May 2016 and Matthew Amroliwalah on BBC World TV News on 11 May, both to talk about Brazil.

Thanks to Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University Leicester for my book launch there in February 2016.

Thanks to the Brazilian Ambassador Eduardo dos Santos for hosting an event at his Embassy in London on 7 April.

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Alan  Charlton

Alan Charlton hugely enjoyed his diplomatic career taking him to the Middle East, Germany, Washington, and Brazil, where he was British Ambassador. His personal stories told with humour and humility give general readers and specialists a taste of diplomatic life.

Author at DMU Leicester

Brazilian Ambassador
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