This gem of a book explores a hitherto neglected but most significant diplomatic activity. For over a century, when nations have broken diplomatic relations other states have been asked to represent them as a "protecting power" or to provide "good offices." In recent years this practice has been expanded to the creation of "interest sections," manned by nationals of country x in the embassy of country y in the capital of country z. Thus American diplomats have worked in the Swiss embassy in Havana, for example. The excellent case studies in this volume are all written by experienced diplomats and have a practical tone and the ring of authenticity. They make clear that the essential task is the maintenance of communication. The editor is one of America's most experienced professional diplomats, under secretary of state for political affairs during the Iran hostage crisis and ambassador to Libya, Indonesia and the Philippines.