2.7 Raymond R. Probst, “Good offices” ; in the light of Swiss international practice and experience, Dordrecht/Boston/London, 1989 ; excerpt : Chapter III, “Good offices”: The Swiss experience, p. 17-70
The titles of the chapters of the treaties are; “Good Offices”, “Good Offices and neutrality”, “Good Offices”: The Swiss experience, Swiss arbitral activity on the basis of the international treaties, Good Offices of a political nature, the protecting power, the “Geneva Mandate” of the “Protecting Power”, new forms of general “Good Offices” and “some final considerations”. The text at hand is an excerpt, it covers chapter III “Good Offices”, the Swiss Experience.
The text reproduced describes the tradition of “good offices” offered by Neutral Switzerland to the solution of international disputes. It has been one of the main instruments of the non-aligned country. “Good Offices” are not easy to grasp and to classify. It is no longer possible to get to the root of the matter by means of legal notions alone. The treatise The text at hand is based not an academic knowledge but on practical experience. Raymond Probst’s concept of international law is strongly moulded by his professional experience. The treatise reflects the experience of a Swiss Diplomat, “Good offices” being a concept, which brings positive effects for a small state committed to permanent neutrality. The instrument has been increasingly challenged as conciliation moved to international organizations, in particular the United Nations. It gradually left its traditional frame and moved into other pragmatic, political and even humanitarian spheres.
Raymond Probst was a lawyer and diplomat of Switzerland. He was born in Riga (Latvia), and got his doctoral degree in international law at the University of Berne. He had many diplomatic functions, among others Assistant Legal Advisor to the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1957-1966, Deputy Head, Political Affairs Directorate, 1967-1976, roving Ambassador of the Swiss Government for Trade Negotiations, 1976 to 1980 Swiss Ambassador to the United States of America and from 1980 to 1984 Secretary of State, Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Until his retirement he was President of the Swiss Foreign Relations Association and a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. He had various appointments in the Economy.
The text at hand is an excerpt, it covers Chapter III: Good Offices: The Swiss Experience. The chapter deals with “good offices” in Swiss history and the history of the use of these legal instruments; “good offices” and mediation; with conciliation and arbitration; with international jurisdiction; the changing force of international arbitration and finally Switzerland’s active contribution to International Arbitration. The text at hand describes the Swiss practice of “good offices” in detail. The chapter is full of specific examples, illustrating a vital and recognised instrument of international law as part of Swiss foreign policy. “Good offices” are an important contribution of Swiss law and legal culture to the legal process of internationalization and globalization.