This thesis aims to explain how interpersonal communication develops trust between state leaders and public officials. The role of interpersonal dynamics in international relations is increasingly recognised. This thesis contributes to this recognition. In nuclear cooperation where there is information uncertainty and a risk of exploitation, trust is essential in facilitating cooperation. Literature from various fields of knowledge is used to form hypotheses about possible interpersonal communication factors involved. To answer the research question, a case study is done on Argentina and Brazil. They went from nuclear distrust in 1960 to a fully integrated nuclear system in 1991. Documents of direct and indirect communications are analysed. The results show that careful claims can be made about the role of mutual moral force, expressed considerations, the amount of interaction and transparency. Threat regulation and limited self-righteousness facilitated the development of trust as well. Correlated factors were shared values and identities and the expression of positive emotions. Some other variables are connected to the previous variablesbut had insufficient data points to be confirmed or contradicted on themselves. This research recommends ministries to critically asses public officials’ social-emotional skills in case situations require improved trust, like in the current bilateral nuclear relation between Russia and the USA. Another recommendation is to train public officials in these skills. To improve the external validity, more case studies can be done. Another recommendation is to integrate knowledge from various fields,so a comprehensive image of human behaviour is used to analyse international situations.

Dr. Michal Onderco, Prof. dr. Markus Haverland
Public Administration
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Lisa van der Hoeven. (2022, June 29). How interpersonal communication leads to the development of trust between state leaders and public officials. Public Administration. Retrieved from