James Byron Bissett

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"James Bissett" redirects here. For other uses, see James Bissett (disambiguation).
James Bissett in November 2007

James Byron Bissett is a former Canadian diplomat. He was high commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago and later ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Yugoslavia, Albania, and Bulgaria.[1]

Career[edit]

James Bissett joined the Canadian government in 1956. He spent the next 36 years as a public servant in the Departments of Citizenship and Immigration and Foreign Affairs. In 1974 he was appointed head of the Immigration Foreign services. During the early 1970s he served at the Canadian High Commission in London, England. In 1980 he became the assistant undersecretary of state for social affairs in the Department of External Affairs. Two years later he was appointed the Canadian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, where he remained until 1985. He was then seconded to the Department of Employment and Immigration as executive director, to help steer new immigration and refugee legislation through the Parliament of Canada. In 1990 he was then appointed Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania. In the summer of 1992 he was recalled from there and retired from foreign service, to accept a job as the head of the International Organization for Migration in Moscow, helping the Russian government establish a new immigration agency and implementing settlement programs for Russians returning to Russia from other parts of the former Soviet Union.

The Break-Up of Yugoslavia and Its Aftermath[edit]

As a son of a First World War veteran, Mr. Bisset had great sympathy for the preservation of Yugoslavia, a country born as a result of Serbian victory in that war. He tried to steer the Canadian foreign ministry in that vein, but was left powerless against the onslaught of anti-Serbian propaganda in the West, including Canada. This has influenced his career change a few years before retirement -- which took him out of the foreign service and into a consulting position in Russia -- and was documented when he testified at the Trial of Slobodan Milošević.[2]

Media[edit]

James Bissett appears in two Canadian documentary films by Boris Malagurski: Kosovo: Can You Imagine? (2009) and The Weight of Chains (2011).

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Paul-Eugène Laberge
High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago
1982-1985
Succeeded by
James Calbert Best
Preceded by
Terence Charles Bacon
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Yugoslavia
1990-1992
Succeeded by
Dennis Snider
Preceded by
Terence Charles Bacon
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Albania
1990-1992
Succeeded by
Rodney Irwin
Preceded by
Terence Charles Bacon
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Bulgaria
1990-1992
Succeeded by
Rodney Irwin

References[edit]