2010 | 1(53) | 5-18
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THE SOVEREIGN - IN MEMORY OF KRZYSZTOF SKUBISZEWSKI (Suweren. Pamieci Krzysztofa Skubiszewskiego)

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Krzysztof Skubiszewski's greatness as foreign minister can best be seen from a distance - by encompassing the entirety of his foreign policy in the internal and international context in which he acted. In initial direct contacts, he gave the impression of being an old world gentleman - a League of Nations era diplomat, whose entire attention is concentrated on details such as on the painful chiseling of signed or delivered text; on making sure that the all preparations for the program of a meeting or visit have been made; on drawing attention to the dress of the ministry's employees; or on finding out whether an ambassador has carried out an instruction he had just received by wire 'for sure' and not just 'probably'. Professor Skubiszewski attached great importance to form. However, behind it was a strategic instinct of the first measure and a very modern sense of Poland's raison d'├ętat. The difficulty in recognizing the momentum of his vision of foreign policy was initially due to the fact the Minister Skubiszewski's steps were extremely prudent - each successive step had to be preceded by the achievement of a state of affairs that justified it and which created good prospects for going further. It was necessary to undertake a precise reconnaissance of chances, to make preparations form the ground up and, in doing so, to avoid undue publicity. The pompousness and fanfaronade common to other politicians and their political circles in connection to foreign policy was entirely foreign to him. He found Sarmatian empty gestures, so typical of our political tradition, to be deeply distasteful and when he began something, he had to bring it to an end. Poland could not be exposed to the risk of failure or discredit.
  • Roman Kuzniar, Redakcja 'Polski Przeglad Dyplomatyczny', Polski Instytut Spraw Miedzynarodowych, ul. Warecka 1a, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
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