Ulster Peace Talks: One Of The Family

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The Independent Online
General John de Chastelain was asked to look at the arms issue in 1995. Before then, his only experience of Ireland was a visit to the Republic while a child.

The son of a Scottish oil engineer and an American mother, he was educated at Fettes College in Scotland, where Tony Blair went to school.

After leaving school he joined his parents in Canada and went to the Canadian Royal Military College.

He served in Germany and Cyprus. He was appointed Canada's ambassador to the US in 1993 and was made Chief of Defence Staff.

He might be regarded by the British security services as "family."

During the Second World War his father worked for the Special Operations Executive while his mother also helped to run a spy-ring.

His CV is not unblemished. An inquiry into the death of a Somali teenager in 1992 at the hands of members of the Canadian Airborne Regiment said he "failed as a commander".