What is a gentleman’s agreement?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines a gentleman’s agreement as ‘an arrangement or understanding, which is based upon the trust of both or all parties, rather than being legally binding.’ Wikipedia adds that it is ‘typically oral, though it may be written, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette.’ It can also be an agreement through a handshake. Often people will say, mostly related to business, ‘Let’s shake on it.’ Hence it ‘relies on the honor of the parties for its fulfilment.’
No partnership can work without trust between states or business partners – this is an unwritten code of behavior all over the globe. The terms of a gentleman’s agreement must be observed as accurately as official contracts. So it emphasises trust, confidentiality, code of behavior, and moral code.
Often if trust has been broken, confidentiality has been broken, responsibility has been broken, and indeed, reputation has been broken.