Obituary: Ian M. Robertson

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THE QUALITIES that made Ian Robertson so greatly liked and so respected among his contemporaries are well reflected in the obituaries by Martin Fearn and Colin Thompson (10 August), writes Archie Rennie. I would add two points. The poetry that Ian wrote as a young man and published under the pseudonym 'Sagramore' is of uncommon distinction. It is not now easy to find but several of his poems - enough to remind us what an acute ear he had and how well he wrote on any subject - are to be found in Scottish University (1944), by JH Burns and D. Sutherland- Graeme.

One episode in his civil-service career may also be of wider interest. Before his appointment as Lord Home's Private Secretary in the Scottish Office in the 1951 Conservative administration, he had been attached to Hector McNeil's private office with the task of summarising Foreign Office telegrams from overseas posts. McNeil had come to the office of Secretary of State for Scotland from being Minister of State in the Foreign Office and the purpose of this unprecedented assignment was to assist McNeil in his continuing contributions in Cabinet to the discussion of foreign affairs. What the Foreign Office thought of this arrangement we do not know.