Glencairn Balfour Paul

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(Hugh) Glencairn Balfour Paul CMG (23 September 1917 – 2 July 2008) was the British Ambassador to Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia before becoming an academic at Exeter University.

The son of John William Balfour Paul, he was born in Moniaive in Dumfriesshire, educated at Lime House school near Carlisle, then at Sedbergh School, before going to Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1936, to read Classics. He served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during World War II before being sent east to Egypt and then on to Sudan to the Sudan Defence Force. After the war he served the Sudan Political Service as a District Commissioner, before joining the Diplomatic Service in 1955.

He was appointed Ambassador to Iraq in 1969, Ambassador to Jordan in July 1972 and then Ambassador to Tunisia 1975-77.

Having retired from the diplomatic service aged 60, Balfour Paul became Director-General of the Middle East Association in London before joining Exeter University as a Research Fellow in the Centre for Arab Gulf Studies.[1] Whilst at Exeter he produced the volume The End of Empire in the Middle East (1991), and the Middle East section of The Oxford History of the British Empire. He also wrote his memoirs, Bagpipes in Babylon (2006) and a collection of poetry, A Kind of Kindness (2000).


  • BALFOUR-PAUL, (Hugh) Glencairn, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2014; online edn, Oxford University Press, April 2014 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  1. The Independent, p.36, 24 July 2008

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Trefor Evans
British Ambassador to Iraq
Succeeded by
John Graham
Preceded by
John Phillips
British Ambassador to Jordan
Succeeded by
John Moberly
Preceded by
John Marnham
British Ambassador to Tunisia
Succeeded by
John Lambert