Collection JOHNSTON, CH - JOHNSTON, Sir Charles (1912-1986)

Key Information

Reference code



JOHNSTON, Sir Charles (1912-1986)


  • 1924-1971 (Creation)

Level of description



21 boxes or 0.21 cubic metres

Scope and content

Papers relating to his life and career, 1924-1971, principally comprising papers relating to his work as British Ambassador to Jordan, 1956-1959, including newspaper cuttings concerning the termination of the Anglo-Jordan treaty of 1948, 1956-1959, and correspondence relating to the stationing of British troops in Jordan, 1958; papers relating to his work as Governor, Commander-in-Chief and High Commissioner, Aden, 1960-1963, dated 1960-1970, including his official reports to the Foreign Office on his visits to the Protectorate states, 1960-1962, his correspondence with King Hussein of Jordan, 1960-1962, newspaper cuttings relating to the merging of Aden with the South Arabian Federation of Arab Emirates, 1960-1963; correspondence concerning British policy towards the South Arabian Federation, particularly the withdrawal of British troops from Aden, 1964-1970; his official report to the Foreign Office concerning the trials in Madrid of opponents of the Franco regime, 1950; notes, cuttings and correspondence concerning Britain's policy towards Japan, 1931-1941, and the signing of the Japanese Peace Treaty, 1951, dated 1971-1975; notes on Australian personalities and contacts written for Sir Morrice James, Johnston's successor as High Commissioner of Australia, 1971; drafts,typescripts, correspondence and reviews of published memoirs The view from Steamer Point (Collins, London, 1964), Mo and other originals (Hamilton, London, 1971) and The brink of Jordan (Hamilton, London, 1972); notes and fragments of unpublished memoirs, dated 1936-1985, mainly relating to his service in the Foreign Office, 1936-1939, Japan, 1939-1942, and Australia, 1965-1971. Photographs, [1938]-1971, principally comprising official photographs relating to his service in Jordan, Aden and Australia. Papers relating to published and unpublished poetry and translations, principally comprising drafts of For Leagros and other poems (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1940), Towards Mozambique and other poems (Cresset Press, London, 1947), Estuary in Scotland (privately published, 1974), Poems and Journeys (Bodley Head, London, 1979), Rivers and fireworks (Bodley Head, London, 1980), Talk about the last poet (Bodley Head, London, 1981), Choiseul and Talleyrand (Bodley Head, London, 1982), The Irish lights (Bodley Head, London, 1983) and translations of Turgenev, Pushkin and Lermontov.

System of arrangement

Arranged in the following sections: personal correspondence; papers relating to his career; photographs; published and unpublished memoirs; published and unpublished poetry; miscellanea.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in 1912; educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford; entered Diplomatic Service, 1936; 3rd Secretary, Tokyo, 1939; interned in Japan, 1940-1942; 2nd Secretary, Cairo, 1942-1945; 1st Secretary, Cairo, 1945-1948, and Madrid, 1948-1951; Counsellor, Japan and Pacific Department and China and Korea Department, Foreign Office, 1951-1953; Political Adviser to British High Commissioner, Bonn, 1953; Ambassador to Jordan, 1956-1959; Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Aden, 1960-1963; High Commissioner for Aden and Protectorate of South Arabia, 1963; Deputy Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office, 1963-1965; High Commissioner, Australia, 1965-1971; retired in 1971; died in 1986.

Publications: Under the pseudonym Charles Hepburn: For Leagros and other poems (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1940); Towards Mozambique and other poems (Cresset Press, London, 1947). Under his own name: The view from Steamer Point (Collins, London, 1964); Mo and other originals (Hamilton, London, 1971); The brink of Jordan (Hamilton, London, 1972), Estuary in Scotland (privatelypublished, 1974); translation of Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin's Eugene Onegin (privately published, 1977); Poems and journeys (Bodley Head, London, 1979); Rivers and fireworks (Bodley Head, London, 1980); Talk about the last poet (Bodley Head, London, 1981); Choiseul and Talleyrand (Bodley Head, London, 1982); The Irish lights (Bodley Head, London, 1983); Narrative poems by Pushkin and Lermontov (translations) (Bodley Head, London, 1984); Selected poems (London, Bodley Head, 1985).

Custodial history

Placed in the Centre by the family in 1988 and 1989.

Conditions governing access

Some material is CLOSED but most of the collection is open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, via the Archives.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Finding aids

This collection level description. Further finding aids may be available in the Reading Room.

Related descriptions


Compiled Feb 1997

Alternative identifier(s)

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Accession area