OBITUARY:Sir Archibald Ross
Tuesday 06 February 1996
His father had been in the Indian Civil Service and there was a strong family tradition of government service. Archie was a scholar of Winchester and of New College, Oxford, where he took Firsts in Mods and Greats and won the Gaisford Prize for Greek Verse; he also won the Laming Travelling Fellowship at Queen's. When he took the pre-war Foreign Office examination in 1936, he passed in top.
His diplomatic career was somewhat narrow in the sense that he served always in the Foreign Office or in regular embassies abroad in Europe or the Middle East. He never served in a post involving multilateral diplomacy or in Washington or Paris, nor did he ever go further east than Iran. So he served successively at Stockholm, Tehran and Rome, with intervening periods in London in increasingly senior capacities until his appointment as ambassador to Lisbon at the age of 50. After five years there he was happy to spend his final five years as ambassador at Stockholm.
I served with and under Archie Ross in Rome 40 years ago. I could not have had a more agreeable and helpful colleague, generous in his support and available to give advice from his much greater experience. He could be counted on to carry out his instructions with care and accuracy and to promote British policies persuasively. Before coming to Rome as Minister (no 2) he had been head of the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office, a very demanding job at the time of our then difficulties with Iran. Rome was no doubt a reward for his success in that department and he and his wife, Mary, herself something of a paragon as ambassadress who preserved her good looks to an advanced age, enjoyed their time there, entertaining in an elegant little house overlooking the baths of Caracalla. Archie played a useful role over Trieste in the inter-regnum between Victor Mallet and Ashley Clarke. Later when he was an under-secretary at the Foreign Office he could chalk up a success over Cyprus in 1959.
Ross was regarded by some as ultra-conventional. He was indeed extremely correct in his demeanour and appearance on all official occasions. Nor did he fail to show all the minor old-fashioned courtesies which form part of diplomatic intercourse. But he was not without humour - sometimes concealed well beneath the surface - and he responded to teasing about his addiction to protocol.
I used to see Archie Ross at least once a year at the annual service of the Order of St Michael and St George in St Paul's Cathedral. His loud "Amen" after the prayer for members of the order reflected his own beliefs. I cannot imagine him enjoying any career other than service to the Crown. His sense of duty was immensely strong.
Archibald David Manisty Ross, diplomat: born 12 October 1911; HM Minister, Rome 1953-56; CMG 1953, KCMG 1961; Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1956-60; Ambassador to Portugal 1961-66; Ambassador to Sweden 1966-71; married 1939 Mary Macfadyen (one son, one daughter, and one son deceased); died 25 January 1996.
- 1 The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
- 2 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 3 Andy Murray takes to Twitter to show off his Christmas jumper
- 4 Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
- 5 Top 10 travel destinations for 2015: From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
UK weather: Travel chaos continues as Kings Cross train delays add to snow on roads
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...