Obituaries : Sir Evelyn Shuckburgh

Charles Arthur Evelyn Shuckburgh, diplomat: born 26 May 1909; CMG 1949, KCMG 1959, GCMG 1967; Principal Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1951-54; CB 1954; Assistant Under-Secretary, Foreign Office 1954-56; Senior Civilia n Instructor, IDC 1956-58; Assistant Secretary-General (Political) of Nato, Paris 1958-60; Deputy Under-Secretary, Foreign Office 1960-62; Permanent British Representative to North Atlantic Council, Paris 1962-66; Ambassador to Italy 1966-69; Chairman, E xecutive Committee, British Red Cross Society 1970-80, Chairman, Council 1976-80; Member, Standing Commission, International Red Cross 1974-81, Chairman 1977-81; married 1937 Nancy Brett (two sons, one daughter); died Watlington, Oxfordshire 12 December 1994.

Evelyn Shuckburgh was a talented, versatile and much-liked diplomat, whose final posting was as Ambassador to Italy from 1966 to 1969. In the 1950s he was at the heart of affairs in London, as Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, Anthon y Eden, and from 1954 to 1956 as Assistant Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office in charge of Middle East affairs; he published his record of this important period in British foreign policy in his diaries Descent to Suez (1986).

Shuckburgh was born in 1909, the son of Sir John Shuckburgh, an under-secretary at the Colonial Office, and educated at Winchester and King's College, Cambridge. He entered the Diplomatic Service in 1933, and his early years were spent on four different Continents - in Egypt, Canada, Argentina and Czechoslovakia. In Cairo, in the years immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War, he was for a time Private Secretary to Sir Miles Lampson, the first British ambassador (as opposed to High Commissioner) to Egypt, which gave Shuckburgh a foretaste of the Suez Crisis. While in Buenos Aires - as charge d'affaires in 1944 - he saw the beginnings of the Falkland problem.

He returned to the Foreign Office in 1947 and, after heading up three successive regional departments, was recommended in 1951 for the post of Private Secretary to the Secretary of State: Ernest Bevin had retired through ill-health in March of the year, to be succeeded by Herbert Morrison for a seven-month period. The Conservatives took power in the autumn and Anthony Eden became Foreign Secretary. In the succeeding three years Eden and Shuckburgh were involved in the post-war reorganisation of Western Europe, backed by a British military guarantee, which led up to the creation of the Common Market; in negotiations in Korea and Indochina; and in making an agreement with Egypt over the withdrawal of British forces from the Suez Canal Zone. Like other ofEden's private secretaries, Shuckburgh found him a difficult and frustrating man to work for and he was irritated by Eden's impatience.

After a period at the Imperial Defence College, Shuckburgh went as an international civil servant to the headquarters of Nato in Paris, in 1958, as Assistant Secretary-General and was British Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council from 1962 to 1966, both of them posts to which he was well suited. He was a highly cultivated man, spoke Italian fluently, and enjoyed travelling the country and the cultural aspects of his time as Ambassador in Rome to the full.

After retiring from Rome in 1969 Shuckburgh came to Britain and went to live in the Chilterns. He enjoyed riding and gardening, and was extraordinarily gifted with his hands. He built on his own harpsichords and some high-class pieces of furniture. His wife Nancy, a daughter of the third Lord Esher, helped him throughout his diplomatic career as a hostess and sharer in his work. He had two sons and a daughter, who contributed much to his enjoyment of his life in retirement. During the 1970s Evelyn Shuck burgh chaired his local committee for the National Trust, and also worked for the British Red Cross; he was Chairman of both its Executive Committee and its Council.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk