Skip to main content

Transcript of interview: John Willson, 2005

Reference Code: GBR/0014/DOHP 128

Scope and Contents

From the Fonds:

The programme comprises transcripts of interviews with senior diplomats.


  • Creation: 2005


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Material in this collection is open to researchers unless otherwise marked in the catalogue.

Biographical / Historical

John Willson was born 15 July 1931, son of Richard and Kathleen Willson. He was educated at Wimbledon College, University College, University of Oxford) and also Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. In 1954, he married Phyllis Marian Dawn, daughter of William and Phyllis Holman Richards, OBE, having two sons and two daughters.

Following his National Service, 1949-51, Willson initially joined the Colonial Service, serving in the following posts: Northern Rhodesia [later Zambia], 1955-64; Ministry of Overseas Development, 1965-70; seconded to British High Commission, Malta, as First Secretary (Economic), 1967-70. He then joined the Diplomatic Service in 1970, and his diplomatic postings included: British Consulate-General, Johannesburg [South Africa], 1972-75; Foreign and Commonwealth Office (West Indian and North American Departments), 1975-8; Special Counsellor for African Affairs, 1978; Secretary-General, Rhodesian Independence Conference, 1979; on staff of Lord Soames, Governor of Rhodesia [later Zimbabwe], 1979-80; Counsellor, Bucharest [Romania], 1980-82; Ambassador to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso (earlier Upper Volta) and Niger, 1983-87; High Commissioner in Zambia, 1988-90. Willson died on 17 April 2013.


1 file(s)

Language of Materials



Willson, John Michael, b 1931, diplomat

Finding aid date

2011-04-05 11:51:51.477000+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087