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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering