Reginald Leeper

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Sir Reginald Leeper
Born (1888-03-25)25 March 1888
Died 2 February 1968(1968-02-02) (aged 79)
Occupation civil servant and diplomat

Sir Reginald "Rex" Wildig Allen Leeper GBE KCMG (25 March 1888 – 2 February 1968) was a British civil servant and diplomat. He was the founder of the British Council.[1]

Born in Sydney, Australia, Leeper was educated at Melbourne Grammar School, Melbourne's Trinity College, and New College, Oxford.

Leeper was the son of Dr Alexander Leeper, the first Warden of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, and his wife Adeline (née Allen).[2] His half-sister Valentine Leeper (1900–2001), maintained a lifelong correspondence with him.[3]

Leeper began his government career at the Intelligence Bureau of the Department of Information in the First World War and served briefly at the Political Intelligence Department. He became head of Britain's Political Intelligence Department when it reformed in 1939.

Leeper was the British ambassador to the Greek government 1943–46 (in exile in Cairo until October 1944). He played a critical role in Greek political developments of 1944, especially in support of the Greek monarchy in the person of King George II of Greece. After Greece's liberation, Leeper continued to be one of the major power brokers during his tenure, which included the early stages of the Greek Civil War.

Leeper (left) in Buenos Aires in March 1948 watching President Juan Perón (right) sign the instrument that nationalised British-owned railways in Argentina.

Leeper was then British ambassador to Argentina from 1946–48. In February 1948 he and a UK trade mission led by Clive Baillieu secured a new trade agreement with Argentina. It was signed on 7 February in the Port of Buenos Aires at a reception aboard the Royal Mail Lines flagship RMS Andes.[4]

His brother, Alexander Wigram Allen Leeper, was also a distinguished British diplomat.

References[edit]

  • Nicol, Stuart (2001). MacQueen's Legacy; Ships of the Royal Mail Line. Two. Brimscombe Port and Charleston, SC: Tempus Publishing. p. 174. ISBN 0-7524-2119-0. 
  • Poynter, John (1997). Doubts and Certainties: A Life of Alexander Leeper. Melbourne University Press. 
  • Poynter, Marion (2008). Nobody's Valentine: Letters in the Life of Valentine Alexa Leeper, 1900–2001. Miegunyah Press & Trinity College, University of Melbourne.