Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
May 24, 1996
British Ambassador John Kerr To Speak at Library of Congress
Britain's ambassador to the United States, Sir John Kerr, will speak at the Library June 7 on the topic "Europe: What Next?"
A native Scot who attended Oxford university, Sir John has had a long and distinguished career in Britain's foreign service, specializing in economic and military issues. Promoted to first secretary of the Foreign Office in 1971, he worked on NATO issues. In 1974 he shifted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he served as private secretary to the permanent under secretary in 1979. His next post, in the Defence Division in Her Majesty's Treasury, led to service as head of military intelligence.
In 1981 he became a regular visitor to Washington, attending meetings of the International Monetary Fund, following his appointment as principal private secretary to the chancellor of the Exchequer.
In 1984 Sir John became the youngest-ever head of chancery in Britain's Washington embassy. In that role he accompanied Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the 1984 and 1986 Camp David meetings, assisting her during talks on the Strategic Defense Initiative with President Reagan. Later, Mrs. Thatcher appointed him assistant under secretary for European Community matters.
In 1990 Sir John moved to Brussels as Great Britain's ambassador and permanent representative to the European Union. There he was part of the team that negotiated the Maastricht treaty of 1991, which, among other things, set out a delicately framed plan for a single European currency. He returned to Washington as Britain's ambassador in September 1995, making him one of very few British civil servants to have served in the two top foreign postings Brussels and Washington.
Sir John and his wife, Elizabeth, have two sons and three daughters, including twins born in 1976.
Sir John will speak in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the Madison Building, at noon. The talk is one of a series of occasional lectures sponsored by the Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Division.
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