John Arthur Pilcher

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Sir John Arthur Pilcher GCMG (16 May 1912 – 10 February 1990) was a British diplomat, capping a long career with a posting as Her Majesty's ambassador to Austria (1965-1967) and as ambassador to Japan (1967–1972).

Career[edit]

Educated at Shrewsbury, Pilcher's entered the consular service after passing an open examination in 1935.[1]

His career in the Foreign Service was marked by appointment as one of His Majesty's Vice-Consuls in China in 1940.[2]

Pilcher was the British ambassador to the Philippines 1959–63, and to Austria 1965–67[3] when the Queen conferred with the honour of Knight Commander in the Order of St Michael and St George.[4]

Sir John ended his career as Her Majesty's ambassador in Tokyo from 1967[5] through 1972,[6] He was considered by some of his peers as "the last of the scholar-diplomats."[7]

Although Sir John was appropriately diplomatic in his professional duties, he was capable of extraordinary frankness in dispatches sent to Whitehall. While there is no doubt that Sir John was sincere, his seeming inability to recognize an inherent double standard in his views is revealing about the attitude that many British and European scholars took towards non-Europeans in the early postwar decades.[8] For instance, the substance of a declassified 1972 letter to the Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home was published in the Japan Times in 2003. In that dispatch, Sir John expressed views which are no less controversial today than when he wrote them.[9]

Honours[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Cortazzi, Hugh. (2004). British Envoys in Japan,1859-1972. London: Global Oriental.
  • ____________. (2001). Japan Experiences: Fifty Years, One Hundred Views : Post-war Japan Through British Eyes 1945-2000. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-903350-04-1
  • Daniels, Gordon. Summary of microfilmed records: Part 7: Complete Files for 1969-1971 (PRO Class FCO 21/555-593 et seq.). Foreign Office Files for Japan and the Far East; Series Two: British Foreign Office Files for Post-war Japan, 1952-1980 (Public Record Office Classes FO 371 and FCO 21). Marlborough, Wiltshire: Adam Matthew Publications.
  • ____________. Summary of Microfilmed records: Part 6: Complete Files for 1966-1968 (PRO Classes FO 371/187076-187142 & FCO 21/238-299). Foreign Office Files for Japan and the Far East; Series Two: British Foreign Office Files for Post-War Japan, 1952-1980 (Public Record Office Classes FO 371 and FCO 21)
  • PILCHER, Sir John (Arthur), Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007, accessed 24 July 2012