Ian Milner

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Ian Frank George Milner (6 June 1911 - 1991) was a New Zealand Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford who had attended Waitaki Boys' High School. He was then a political scientist, a civil servant with Australian Foreign Affairs in Canberra and the United Nations in New York, and from the early 1950s a professor of English at Charles University in Prague where he became the friend and translator into English of the eminent Czech poet, Miroslav Holub.

He had been implicated in the 1954 Petrov Affair during which he was named in absentia - some would say victimised and framed - by an Australian Royal Commission as a KGB agent.[1] Later when a New Zealand newspaper, Truth, labelled him "a Red menace", two universities that had invited him to lecture in New Zealand withdrew their invitation.

Ian Milner was the son of one of New Zealand's most respected headmasters, Frank Milner, of Waitaki Boys' High School near Oamaru, usually known as "the Man".[2]

He was one of a group of five young New Zealand scholars who went to Oxford University in the 1930s and subsequently distinguished themselves in war and revolution.[3]


  1. ^ The Rhodes Scholar Spy (Random House Australia, 1991) by Richard Hall
  2. ^ Intersecting Lines, the Memoirs of Ian Milner (Victoria University Press, 1993) edited and introduced by Vincent O'Sullivan
  3. ^ Dance of the Peacocks, New Zealanders in exile in the time of Hitler and Mao Tse Tung (Random House, 2003) James McNeish