Roger Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield

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Makins (left), A. L. Rowse and Evelyn Baring photographed in 1926 by Lady Ottoline Morrell

Roger Mellor Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield, GCB GCMG FRS[1] (3 February 1904 – 9 November 1996), was a British diplomat who served as British Ambassador to the United States from 1953 to 1956.

Makins was the son of Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Makins (1869–1959) and Florence Mellor. He was educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1927. However, he never practised and instead joined the Diplomatic Service in 1928. Makins later served as Minister at the British Embassy in Washington from 1945 to 1947, as Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office from 1947 to 1948 and as Deputy Under-Secretary of State from 1948 to 1952.

In 1953 he was appointed Ambassador to the United States, a post he held until 1956. On the eve of the Suez Crisis, he was present at the crucial meeting on 25 September 1956 where Harold Macmillan was apparently persuaded that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had offered the British Government tacit support; Makins, on the other hand, concluded correctly that Eisenhower would not support the intervention. After his return from Washington he served as Joint Permanent Secretary to The Treasury from 1956 to 1960 and as Chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority from 1960 to 1964.

Makins was appointed to the post of Chancellor of the University of Reading in 1969, and retained this position until 1992.[2]

Ferdinand Lured by Ariel, a Millais from Makins' collection.

Makins became a CMG in 1944, a KCMG in 1949 and a GCMG in 1955 and was also a GCB and a Fellow of the Royal Society.[1] In 1960 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Sherfield, of Sherfield on Loddon in the County of Hampshire.

On 30 April 1934, in an Episcopal ceremony in Tallahassee, Florida, he married an American, Alice Brooks Davis (d.1985), the daughter of Dwight F. Davis, founder of the Davis Cup and former U.S. Secretary of War.

Makins was a notable collector of Victorian art. The Makins Collection contained important works by John Everett Millais.


  1. ^ a b Selborne, L. (1998). "Roger Mellor Makins, G. C. B., G. C. M. G., D. L., the 1st Baron Sherfield. 3 February 1904-9 November 1996". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 44: 267. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1998.0018. 
  2. ^ "Reading welcomes its new chancellor". Bulletin. University of Reading. 2008-01-17. pp. 6–7. 

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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sir Oliver Franks
British Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Sir Harold Caccia
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Sherfield
Succeeded by
Christopher James Makins
Academic offices
Preceded by
Lord Bridges
Chancellor of the University of Reading
Succeeded by
Lord Carrington