Obituary: Sir Anthony Lincoln
Saturday 20 November 1993
ANTHONY LINCOLN, ambassador to Venezuela in 1964-69, was a diplomat who combined a certain attachment to the protocolaire side of his work with a self-deprecatory sense of humour, a droll wit, and personal kindness.
Entering the Foreign Office at the end of the war, from the home Civil Service where he was originally in the Customs and Excise Department, he took readily to the life of a diplomat (or, as he might have said, diplomatist). His first postings were in Paris for the peace conference, and in Buenos Aires, where he married an Anglo-Argentine, Lisette Summers. Then, after a spell in London concerned with economic questions, he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg, in the pioneering days of that body: a post he probably enjoyed as much as any that were to come, with the scope it offered for international company, and for exercising his affection for France and French culture. There followed Copenhagen, as No 2 initially to none too easy an ambassador. Lincoln in any case lacked any special bent for the Nordic world.
But the Foreign Office clearly had their own ideas as to his adaptability, sending him as Ambassador to Laos (1958-60) and Minister to Bulgaria (1960-63). Neither was a particularly rewarding post, but he did his best in the circumstances; not only was Bulgaria completely under the Soviet heel but there was still popular liking for the Russians as traditional liberators from Ottoman rule making it hard for any Western envoy to make much of a mark there. More congenial was his next post, as Ambassador in Caracas, where he served a full five-year term before retirement.
Lincoln was an engaging character, once one had seen through an apparent preoccupation with the outward trappings of diplomacy (even then, doubtless, sometimes tongue-in-cheek). If, for example, as head of mission his 'morning prayers' gave priority to form over substance, he was nevertheless a good judge of the local scene. Socially, he and his wife were affable hosts, as well as maintaining some style in a period of post-war austerity. His Bentley was said to be the only one in Denmark other than the King's; and it followed him, not without operational difficulty, all the way to Laos and back again. There, against a background of war and revolution, he had also to cope with such delicate problems as whether it was suitable for a Filipino night-club band to accompany the loyal toasts at the Queen's birthday party - a gramophone record of the Grenadier Guards being eventually sent out from London for that purpose.
In Venezuela, he was able to enter more fully into the life of the country, thanks to a real interest in its affairs, helped by his wife's fluency in Spanish. And his political instincts were always sound enough.
Educated at Mill Hill School, Lincoln went as an exhibitioner to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he read history with distinction, later publishing a book, Some Political and Social Ideas of English Dissent (1937). The quality of his official despatches suggests indeed that he might have done rather more in the literary direction. He was also a music lover, and on retirement he and his wife enjoyed country pursuits near Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 4 The most powerful passports in the world
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
Nepal earthquake: How you can help victims of the Kathmandu disaster
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital in London where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
General Election 2015: The photo of a tree that proves the Tories have an image problem
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...