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History Of Serbian Diplomacy And The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs

The first records of the Serbian diplomacy date from the late 12th century, during the Nemanjić dynasty. The event that is considered as the first Serbian diplomatic mission took place in 1188 when the Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, the founder of the Nemanjić dynasty and creator of the Medieval Serbian state, sent his envoy to Nuremberg, the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, to seek an audience with the German Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, whom he went on to meet a year later in the city of Niš.

When a conflict over the throne broke out between two of Nemanja’s sons, Stefan and Vukan, the third son Sava intervened as a mediator. Sava renounced the throne and his peacekeeping and diplomatic efforts to reconcile the quarrelling brothers made him the forerunner of the traveling or “shuttle” diplomacy.

Following Vukan’s abdication in 1204, Stefan took over the throne and became the first ruler to display great statesmanship and diplomatic skills. After receiving the royal crown from the Roman Pope Honorius III, Stefan was crowned in the Monastery of Žiča in 1217, becoming Stefan the First-Crowned. This act marked the international recognition of Serbia.

Rastko Nemanjić, Sv Sava

His brother Sava obtained autocephaly of the Serbian Church from the Emperor of Nicaea Theodore I Laskaris and Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople in 1219, raising it to the archbishopric and becoming the first Archbishop of the Serbian Church. What all rulers of the Nemanjić dynasty had in common was the ability to skilfully manage and lead diplomatic policy by manoeuvring between the West and the East, that is, between the Roman pontiff, Hungary, Byzantium, and Bulgaria.

Under the reign of King Stefan Milutin, the Serbian medieval state flourished, prospering both economically and culturally, and expanding to the south. The most prosperous times of the medieval Serbian state came under the reign of King Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, or Dušan the Mighty, who received the title of the Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks and Bulgarians in 1346.

Sava Nemanjić obtained autocephaly of the Serbian Church from the Emperor of Nicaea Theodore I Laskaris and Patriarch Manuel I of Constantinople in 1219, raising it to the archbishopric and becoming the first Archbishop of the Serbian Church.

He expanded Serbia’s borders to the south and southwest, codified the law (Dušan’s Code of 1349, amended in 1354), and raised the Archbishopric of Peć to the rank of a Patriarchate.

Kralj Stefan Uroš IV Dušan

However, after his death the state began to weaken under the reign of his successors, with a growing power of the Serbian nobility who made alliances and agreements among themselves and with foreign states. After the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 and the penetration of Ottomans into the Balkans, the local Serbian nobility sought alliances with neighbouring countries, even accepting the position of vassals (Ottoman Empire, Venetian Republic). Under Despot Stefan Lazarević, Serbia became a dual-vassal state, recognising both the rule of the Ottoman Empire and that of the Kingdom of Hungary. His reign was marked by economic prosperity and reunification of territories of the former regional nobility. His successor, Despot Đurađ Branković, introduced the practice of admitting foreigners to the civil service, especially the citizens of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and their nobility who performed the duties of diplomatic envoys (poklisars), considering that the Republic of Ragusa had an extremely well-organised diplomatic (poklisar) service.

Despot Stefan Lazarević

However, during his reign the position of the Serbian Despotate began to weaken again, finally falling under the Ottoman rule in 1459. This formally marked the end of the Serbian statehood.           

One form of the Serbian diplomacy during the medieval period was the practice of the marriage of state, where marriages between members of powerful ruling families of Europe were concluded for political and economic reasons (Stefan the First-Crowned with Eudocia Angelina Komnin and Anna Dandolo; Stefan Vladislav and Belosava Asenina, Stefan Uroš I with Helen of Anjou, Stefan Dragutin with Catherine of Hungary, Stefan Uroš II Milutin with Simonida Paleolog, Stefan Dušan with Helena of Bulgaria, Đurađ Branković with Irene Kantakouzene). This was done with the aim to strengthen the political and factual power of the ruling dynasty and to improve the foreign policy of the state.   

One form of the Serbian diplomacy during the medieval period was the practice of the marriage of state, where marriages between members of powerful ruling families of Europe were concluded for political and economic reasons

The emergence of modern Serbian diplomacy is inextricably linked with the start of the Serbian revolution in 1804, which was one of the most significant events in the history of the Balkans and Europe of the first half of the 19th century.

Vožd Karađorđe Petrović

It was the first in a series of national liberation uprisings of the Balkan peoples at the beginning of the 19th century (Greek Revolt, uprisings in Wallachia and Moldavia). These marked a new phase in the resolution of the Eastern Question during the 19th century, characterised by national awakenings, liberation movements of the peoples on the Balkan Peninsula and beyond, as well as national unification and nation-building processes.

The revolution was initially aimed at stopping the atrocities committed by the dahijas and bringing order and lawfulness in the Pashaluq of Belgrade. Over time, and especially after the fall of Belgrade into the hands of the insurgents in 1806, the revolution took on a much broader and more ambitious goals, including national liberation from the Ottoman Empire, gaining autonomy, and the restoration of Serbian statehood which had been interrupted by the fall of the Serbian Despotate in 1459.

The first steps of the Serbian diplomatic service were made as early as 1804. By order of Karađorđe, the Grand Vožd of Serbia, two diplomatic deputations (delegations) were sent to St. Petersburg and Zemun with the aim of obtaining, among other things, diplomatic support for the uprising from Russia and the Habsburg monarchy.

The first steps of the Serbian diplomatic service were made as early as 1804. By order of Karađorđe, the Grand Vožd of Serbia, two diplomatic deputations (delegations) were sent to St. Petersburg and Zemun with the aim of obtaining, among other things, diplomatic support for the uprising from Russia and the Habsburg monarchy

In those years, the rebels began to rely more on the Tsarist Russia, which sent its representative Konstantin Rodofinikin to Serbia in 1807, who was the first foreign representative in insurgent Serbia. At the initiative of Russia, the Ičko’s Peace of 1806 ― which would have granted Serbs autonomy within the Ottoman Empire ― was not accepted. A similar provision pertaining to Serbia’s internal self-government was point 8 of the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812 ― in itself significant as the first international agreement mentioning the status of Serbia. This Treaty, in effect, made the question of Serbia’s status as international one.

Knez Miloš Obrenović

In the first phase of the Serbian revolution, i.e. the First Serbian Uprising, Vožd Karađorđe practically led the Serbian diplomacy, despite the reorganisation of the Governing Council in 1811, which provided for the formation of ministries (popečiteljstva), including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Duke Milenko Stojković was appointed the first Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The apparent rise of the Serbian diplomacy started in 1815, at the beginning of the second phase of the Serbian revolution (the Second Serbian Uprising), when Prince Miloš Obrenović used diplomatic skills and negotiations with the Ottoman authorities as an effective mechanism for achieving Serbian national and state goals. In 1815, Prince Miloš Obrenović sent his first diplomatic emissary to Constantinople, and by 1838 nine deputations had visited the capital of the Ottoman Empire (August of 1815, September of 1815, July of 1816, two deputations in 1820, March of 1827, February of 1833, 1835, and April of 1838) to negotiate on the Serbian national demands. The crowning result of these persistent diplomatic efforts was the granting of Serbia’s autonomy by the Ottoman Empire. Based on three hatisherifs (imperial edicts issued by the Ottoman Sultan) of 1829, 1830, and 1833, the Ottoman authorities agreed to fulfil their obligations and grant Serbia the right to internal self-government, which had previously been prescribed in point 8 of the Treaty of Bucharest of 1812, point 5 of the 1826 Akkerman Convention, and point 6 of the Treaty of Edirne of 1829.

Duke Milenko Stojković was appointed the first Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs

The hatisherifs issued by the Ottoman Sultan granted Serbia autonomy in most matters, including the right to national or internal self-government, legislative power, independent judiciary, freedom of religion, the right to open schools, hospitals, printing houses, the restoration of six nahias (administrative/regional units), and abolition of feudalism. This made Serbia a sovereign principality, with Miloš Obrenović as hereditary prince, who is rightly considered the first successful Serbian diplomat. 

 Milenko Stojković

At the beginning of the Second Serbian Uprising, Prince Miloš Obrenović established the National Office, which over time included foreign policy affairs. In 1826, a special, yet entirely separate, foreign policy department was opened with its headquarters in Kragujevac. This department was headed by Dimitrije Davidović, one of the most educated Serbs and the First Secretary to Prince Miloš Obrenović. During 1834 and 1835, Davidović also performed the duties of the minister of foreign affairs. He was, in fact, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs, considering that Milenko Stojković, the first appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs did not accept the duty, and that Miljko Radonjić only held the office for a very short time.    

After Serbia became an Autonomous Principality, the first European diplomatic representatives holding the rank of consuls started to arrive in Serbia. This was an important step towards establishing full diplomatic relations with the most influential European powers of the 19th century. The Habsburg monarchy sent its first consul Antun Mihanović to the Principality of Serbia in 1836, Great Britain sent Colonel George Lloyd Hodges to Serbia in 1837, and Russia appointed Gerasim Vashchenko as its first consul to Serbia in 1838. The French consular mission in Serbia was established in 1839 and it was headed by François Duclos. Over the following years and decades, many other countries such as Italy, France, Prussia, and Greece opened their consular missions, which were then raised to Consulate General status, while Romania was represented through a consular mission. The arrival of European diplomats to Serbia helped introduce new customs, ceremonies and protocols that had been unknown until then ― such as formal and ceremonial lunches, dinners, and balls.

At the beginning of the Second Serbian Uprising, Prince Miloš Obrenović established the National Office, which over time included foreign policy affairs. In 1826, a special, yet entirely separate, foreign policy department was opened with its headquarters in Kragujevac

Serbia sent its first diplomatic agent to Constantinople at the beginning of the Second Serbian Uprising. However, it was not until the adoption of the Turkish Constitution of 1838 that officially enabled Serbia to appoint a diplomatic representative/agent (kapućehaja) to the Ottoman Porte.

Dimitrije Davidović

Jovan Antić, a diplomat who had gone to Constantinople before as a member of the Serbian deputations, was the first to hold this office. Prince Miloš Obrenović realised early on the importance of diplomacy, and in 1816 he sent his most trusted diplomatic agent Mihajlo Herman to Bucharest, Wallachia. The Ottoman authorities made this representation official only after a decree of November 1835. The practice of encrypting diplomatic reports coming from Constantinople and Bucharest also dates from that time.  

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs underwent the first major reform in 1834, when the Department of Education was temporarily placed under its jurisdiction. After the adoption of the Sretenje Constitution in 1835, the Decree on State Council Organisation was published, specifying the constitutional provisions according to which ministries, including that of foreign affairs, represented departments of the State Council. The Decree also specified the competencies of the minister of foreign affairs, who was the only one among the six ministers to have direct contact with the Prince, resulting in a merger of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Prince’s Cabinet Office.

The next important step towards the establishment of a modern and professional Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taken on 28 May 1839, when the Decree on the Establishment of Prince’s Office of Foreign Affairs was passed, tasked with implementing the foreign policy of the Principality of Serbia and managing relations between Serbia and foreign authorities. This newly established office included 13 officials and was headed by Avram Petronijević

The next important step towards the establishment of a modern and professional Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taken on 28 May 1839, when the Decree on the Establishment of Prince’s Office of Foreign Affairs was passed, tasked with implementing the foreign policy of the Principality of Serbia and managing relations between Serbia and foreign authorities.

Avram Petronijević

The head of the Prince’s Office served as the Prince’s representative and, at the same time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This newly established office included 13 officials and was headed by Avram Petronijević, one of the most famous leaders of the political regime Defenders of the Constitution in the Principality of Serbia and the Personal Secretary to Prince Miloš. Compared to the Decree of 1835, the Decree of 1839 narrowed the scope of work and obligations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the rule of the Defenders of the Constitution, the Prince’s Office underwent changes and by the Decree of 7 November 1850, it was divided into the administrative, judicial, and foreign relations department, headed by chiefs. During this time, the competencies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were often intertwined with the tasks of other ministries, which is best shown in the example of Načertanije, the national and state foreign policy program of Serbia drafted in 1844 by Ilija Garašanin, the Minister of the Interior. In late 1858, the Prince’s Office underwent another restructuring and was divided into two departments: the Administrative Department, and the Foreign Affairs Department. Finally, in 1860 the Princes’s Office was divided into two offices: the Office of the Prince’s Representative and the Office of Foreign Affairs.     

The March 1862 reform, i.e. the establishment of the Organisation of the Central State Administration (Ustrojenije Centralne državne uprave), gave the ministries more precise competencies compared to before. The newly formed Ministry of Foreign Affairs was constituted on modern principles

The March 1862 reform, i.e. the establishment of the Organisation of the Central State Administration (Ustrojenije Centralne državne uprave), gave the ministries more precise competencies compared to before. The newly formed Ministry of Foreign Affairs was constituted on modern principles. The tasks included maintaining relations with other countries, conducting negotiations, drafting contracts, conventions and other types of agreements, ensuring precise execution of contracts, protecting the political, economic and trade interests of the country abroad, providing assistance to its citizens abroad, appointing diplomatic and consular agents abroad. Diplomatic ceremony and protocol were also introduced.

Ilija Garašanin

In February 1868, a special Ministry of Foreign Affairs Officers Act was adopted, which abolished previous titles (protocol clerk, registrar, archivist, forwarder) and introduced new ones (secretary of the 3rd class, clerk of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class). During the first reign of Prince Miloš, the Prince’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were located in the Mali konak building (on the site of today’s Old Palace), and during the reign of Prince Mihailo Obrenović, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was moved to the building where the New Palace building stands today. The most important Ministers of Foreign Affairs up to Serbia’s independence in 1878 were Dimitrije Davidović, Avram Petronijević, Dimitrije Matić, Aleksa Simić, Ilija Garašanin, Cvetko Rajević, Radivoje Milojković, Milan Petronijević, Milan Bogićević, Jovan Ristić, Filip Hristić, Jovan Marinović, Milan Piroćanac.

The growing autonomy during the 1829−1833 period was only one of the goals of the Serbian revolution. It took another thirty-four years for Serbia to regain its long-lost statehood. Finally, at the Berlin Congress of 1878, Serbia gained complete independence, received international recognition, and achieved territorial expansion (Pirot, Vranje, Niš and Toplica districts). Gaining independence and international recognition created the conditions for a more intensive development of the Serbian diplomatic service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pursuant to the Serbian Diplomatic Missions and Consulates Abroad Act of 1879, all diplomatic missions abroad were raised from the rank of consulate to the rank of embassy.

During the first reign of Prince Miloš, the Prince’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were located in the Mali konak building (on the site of today’s Old Palace), and during the reign of Prince Mihailo Obrenović, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was moved to the building where the New Palace building stands today

In addition to the embassies in Bucharest, Constantinople and Vienna, the Act of 1879 enabled the opening of embassies in Paris (1879), St. Petersburg (1879), Sofia (1879), Berlin (1881), Rome (1881), Athens (1882), London (1880), Cetinje (1897). The first Serbian ambassadors and plenipotentiary ministers were: Milan Petronijević in Bucharest and Berlin, Filip Hristić in Constantinople, Rome and London, Kosta Cukić in Vienna, Milosav Protić in St. Petersburg, Sava Grujić in Sofia and Athens, Jovan Marinović in Paris, Filip Hristić in Rome and London, and Aleksandar Mašin in Cetinje.

Jovan Ristić

Shortly after the Berlin Congress, the great European powers started to send their highest diplomatic representatives to Serbia. France sent its first Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Minister Jules Alexis de Michel to Belgrade in 1879. Rudolf Khevenhüller-Metsch was the first Extraordinary Ambassador of Austria―Hungary to Serbia, appointed in 1881. Diplomatic relations between Serbia and the United States of America were established on 15 July 1882, with the appointment of Eugene Schuyler as Minister Resident and Consul General. Alexander Eben was the first US Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary/Consul General to Serbia appointed on 29 June 1894. In 1886, Germany appointed Hippolytus von Bray-Steinburg as its Ambassador to Belgrade, who had previously held the office of Resident Minister. The first British Ambassador to Serbia was George Wyndham, a former Resident Minister, appointed in 1886. In 1890, Russia appointed Alexander Ivanovich Persiani as its first Extraordinary Envoy and Plenipotentiary Minister to Serbia, who since 1878 had held the office of Consul General in Belgrade.

The Act of 1879 enabled Serbia to start laying foundations of modern diplomacy. The term consular service was introduced for the first time ― a practice reserved for independent states only. Consuls were divided into career and honorary consuls. The first career consulate of Serbia was opened in Budapest in 1882 as Consulate General. The Rules of Consular Service were adopted in July 1882, prescribing detailed instructions for performing consular duties. 

Gaining independence and international recognition created the conditions for a more intensive development of the Serbian diplomatic service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pursuant to the Serbian Diplomatic Missions and Consulates Abroad Act of 1879, all diplomatic missions abroad were raised from the rank of consulate to the rank of embassy

One of the most important stages in the development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the adoption of the first Organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic Missions and Consulates of Serbia Abroad Act in 1886. It prescribed in detail the tasks and the organisation of the Ministry and was in force until the proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. Among other things, this Act provided for the establishment of the highly significant Political Department, as well as the Administrative Department, within the Ministry, each lead by its respective head. The Political Department dealt with confidential affairs, among other things, and was divided into two sections: politics and press (Press Bureau). The Act also instituted three diplomatic ranks: ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, resident minister and charge d’affaires

Branislav Nušić

Serbian diplomacy and Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs underwent another very important restructuring in 1889, with the establishment of the Political and Educational Department (Confidential Propaganda), tasked with organising propaganda and confidential work among compatriots outside the borders of the Kingdom of Serbia. All Serbian consulates on the territory of the Ottoman Empire fell within the purview of this department. In the preceding years, the tasks related to propaganda were performed by individuals, and after 1868 by members of the Educational Council in Old Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Matija Ban, Nićifor Dučić, Miloš Milojević), i.e. members of the Department for Serbian Schools and Churches Outside Serbia, formed in 1887 within the Ministry of Education and Church Affairs of Serbia. With the establishment of the Political and Educational Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, national propaganda was raised to a higher level and gained an overall state importance.

One of the most important stages in the development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the adoption of the first Organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic Missions and Consulates of Serbia Abroad Act in 1886. It prescribed in detail the tasks and the organisation of the Ministry and was in force until the proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918

The first head of the department was the renowned Serbian geographer Vladimir Karić, who was succeeded by Branislav Nušić. The most important role in the national education work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Political and Educational Department was played by the eminent Serbian scientist, diplomat and politician Stojan Novaković. Owing to his skills and enormous commitment, he was able to influence the Ottoman authorities to grant Serbia the right to open consulates in Skopje and Thessaloniki in 1887, and in Bitola and Priština in 1889. In 1890, a special advisory body entitled Education Committee was formed within the Political and Educational Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which included prominent Serbian scientists (Nićifor Dučić, Stojan Novaković, Milovan Milovanović, Ljuba Jovanović, Ljubomir Kovačević, Panta Srećković). This Committee dealt with the issue of Macedonia and Old Serbia.

Stojan Novaković

In the early years of the 20th century, Serbia went through a turbulent internal political struggle, involving the change of dynasties and unstable foreign policy situation in the Balkans and Europe, which left their mark on the work of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The foreign policy of the Kingdom of Serbia and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time primarily focused on the protection of the rights of the Serbian people in Old Serbia, including diplomatic activities on warning the European powers and the public about the upheaval in those areas. Riots in Macedonia in 1903, the Customs War (Pig War) 1906–1911, the Annexation Crisis of 1908, the Balkan Wars 1912–1913, and the events leading up to and at the beginning of WWI presented particularly delicate challenges for the Serbian diplomacy, in the face of which it showed its finest qualities. It is for that reason that the period between 1903 and 1914 is rightly referred to as the Golden Age of Serbian diplomacy.

In the period following the May Coup of 1903, several attempts were made to change the 1886 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Act. However, it was not until 1911 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was restructured, despite the respective amendments to the Act never being confirmed by the National Assembly.

Riots in Macedonia in 1903, the Customs War (Pig War) 1906–1911, the Annexation Crisis of 1908, the Balkan Wars 1912–1913, and the events leading up to and at the beginning of WWI presented particularly delicate challenges for the Serbian diplomacy, in the face of which it showed its finest qualities. It is for that reason that the period between 1903 and 1914 is rightly referred to as the Golden Age of Serbian diplomacy

The Ministry was divided into five departments: Political Department, Educational Department, Administrative Department, the Treasury, and the Press Bureau which proved to be particularly important in the turbulent times that followed.

Nikola Pašić

The foundations of the Press Bureau, as a special organisational unit within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were laid after the Berlin Congress by literary author Matija Ban, a department head at the Ministry, and Carlo Bethan, a Swiss who was the secretary in the Ministry in charge of foreign correspondence. The Press Bureau was formally established as a special department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1885 with Todor Stefanović Vilovski at its helm. After the Serbian Government went into exile on the island of Corfu in 1916, the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was renewed, with an added organisational department ― the Yugoslav Department, headed by Ljubomir Nešić, the Ministry Secretary. This body was established in accordance with the Niš Declaration and the policy of the Serbian Government of 1914 which had declared, as its war objectives, the liberation and the unification of all Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.    

From the time of gaining independence until the end of WWI, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was headed by the most prominent and the most talented Serbian diplomats, statesmen, politicians, and scientists, such as Jovan Ristić, Dragutin Franasović, Sava Grujić, Dr. Vladan Đorđević, Stojan Novaković, Čedomilj Mijatović, Milutin Garašanin., Nikola Pašić, Mihailo Vujić, Jovan Avakumović, Ljubomir Kaljević, Andre Nikolić, Sima Lozanić, Milovan Milovanović, Jovan Žujović, Jovan Jovanović Pižon, Mihailo Gavrilović, Stojan Protić. Other distinguished Serbian scientists, literary authors, and journalists who held the office of Serbian consuls in the Ottoman Empire included Branislav Nušić, Dimitrij Bodi, Milojko V. Veselinović, Vojislav Ilić, Vladimir Karić, Svetislav Simić, Svetolik Jakšić, Milan Rakić, Jovan Dučić. 

Slovenes in 1918, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbia ceased to exist, but its organisational structure and professional diplomats became the backbone of the newly formed Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The newly established Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs consisted of six departments (Political, Administrative, Consular and Trade, Accounting, Main Archives, Press Bureau). The title of Assistant Minister was introduced, replacing the previous title of the Head of Department

Todor Stefanović Vilovski

With the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbia ceased to exist, but its organisational structure and professional diplomats became the backbone of the newly formed Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Decree on the Organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic Missions and Consulates of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes Abroad was passed in early May 1919, revoking all legal regulations on the organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia. The newly established Yugoslav Ministry of Foreign Affairs consisted of six departments (Political, Administrative, Consular and Trade, Accounting, Main Archives, Press Bureau). The title of Assistant Minister was introduced, replacing the previous title of the Head of Department.

The diplomacy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia made an important contribution to the initiation and formation of international organisations (League of Nations), and several regional and European alliances, including Little Entente (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania), and the Balkan Pact or the Balkan Entente (Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece, Turkey). On two occasions, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a non-permanent member of the Council of the League of Nations (1929–1932, and 1938–1939), and in recognition of Serbia as one of the founders of the League of Nations, Momčilo Ninčić was elected President of the seventh session of the Assembly of the League of Nations in 1926.

The diplomacy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia made an important contribution to the initiation and formation of international organisations (League of Nations), and several regional and European alliances, including Little Entente (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania), and the Balkan Pact or the Balkan Entente (Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece, Turkey)

After Dr. Ante Trumbić, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the diplomacy of the first Yugoslav state was headed by renowned Serbian diplomats, politicians and university professors, such as Dr. Miroslav Spalajković, Dr. Milenko Vesnić, Nikola Pašić, Dr. Momčilo Ninčić, Dr. Ninko Perić, Miloš Trifunović, Dr. Vojislav Marinković, Bogoljub Jevtić, Dr. Milan Stojadinović, Aleksandar Cincar Marković, Professor Slobodan Jovanović, Milan Grol, Dr. Božidar Purić.

Slobodan Jovanović

During this period, some of the most prominent names in Serbian science and culture served in the Yugoslav diplomacy, such as journalist Milan Jovanović Stojimirović, attorney Luj Bakotić, professor Đorđe Đurić, musicologist Petar Bingulac, translator Vojislav Jovanović Marambo, attorney Ilija Šumenković, novelist Ivo Andrić. 

After the end of WWII and the establishment of the socialist Yugoslavia, a new Ministry of Foreign Affairs was formed, which initially included Serbian diplomatic personnel from the Kingdom of Serbia and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, such as Stanoje Simić, Sava Kosanović, Pavle Beljanski, as well as respected cultural figures, such as surrealist writer Marko Ristić. At that time, Yugoslavia was one of the founders of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975, and a member of the regional organisation Balkan Alliance (Yugoslavia, Turkey, Greece), formed in 1954.

The backbone of diplomacy of the second Yugoslav state was the non-alignment policy, as well as maintaining good relations with both the United States and the USSR. As one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, Yugoslavia hosted two conferences of this organisation (the first conference in 1961, and the ninth conference in 1989), and in 2011 Serbia hosted a conference of Non-Aligned countries to mark the 50th anniversary of the Movement. The name of the Ministry was changed several times during the period of socialist Yugoslavia (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Federal Secretariat of Foreign Affairs). The heads of Yugoslav diplomacy from Serbia from 1945 to 1990 include Stanoje Simić, Koča Popović, Marko Nikezić, Mirko Tepavac, Milos Minić.

The secession of the four former Yugoslav republics in the early 1990s imposed the renewal of Serbian diplomacy and the reformation of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Article 72 of the 1990 Serbian Constitution stipulated that Serbia would regulate and secure its international position and relations with other states and international organisations. In those years, Serbian diplomacy faced the difficult task of organising its diplomatic service amidst the civil war fought in the neighbouring Yugoslav republics and mitigating the consequences of negative propaganda. Although the Ministry has been formed at the republic level in 1991, in the period 1993−1994 there were two ministries (Serbian and Yugoslav), and from 19 February 1994 only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) continued operations.

Serbian and Yugoslav diplomacy faced a particularly difficult challenge in 1999, during the NATO aggression on the FRY. In those turbulent years, the Ministry was headed by career diplomats Branko Mikašinović, Ilija Đukić, Vladislav Jovanović, Milan Milutinović and Živadin Jovanović. Goran Svilanović and Vuk Drašković headed the Ministry of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro from 2003 to 2006, and following the dissolution of that State Union in 2006, Serbia reformed its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since then, the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia has been held by Vuk Drašković, Vuk Jeremić, Ivan Mrkić, Ivica Dačić, and Nikola Selaković as of 2020.

Source: www.mfa.gov.rs, Author: Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Rastović, Advisor, Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Obtaining a certificate for the production of organic food should be easier for small farmers from January 1st this...

Anti-Vaccine Activists March In D.C. – City That Mandates Coronavirus Vaccination – To Protest Mandates

Thousands of protesters from across the country — including some of the biggest names in the anti-vaccination movement — descended on...

Joint Statement From The Embassies Of The United States, The United Kingdom, And The Federal Republic Of Germany

We reject allegations that our countries are financing political or environmental protests in Serbia.  These claims do not reflect...

The Jadar Project And All Administrative Acts Related To Rio Tinto Have Been Abolished

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic announced tonight that the government at today's session revoked the decree and spatial plan of...

Schneider Electric Recognized In Corporate Knights’ Global 100 For The 11th Year In A Row

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has earned its place in the...