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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Johnston C H
JOHNSTON, Sir Charles (Hepburn) (1912-1986)
Created 1924-1971
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
21 boxes or 0.21 cubic metres


Administrative / 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).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

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

Content & structure

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.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Please note: One file relating to his service in Australia is closed.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

This Summary Guide, and detailed catalogue available in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives



Compiled Feb 1997

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.


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  • Armed forces
  • Colonial forces
  • Diplomacy
  • Documents
  • East West relations
  • Foreign relations
  • Information sources
  • International instruments
  • International law
  • International relations
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Memoirs
  • Military organizations
  • Organizations
  • Poetry
  • State security

Personal names

  • Franco, Francisco, 1892-1975, Spanish general and dictator
  • Hussein bin Talal, 1935-1999, King of Jordan
  • James, John Morrice Cairns, 1916-1989, 1st Baron Saint Brides of Hasguard, diplomat
  • Lermontov, Mikhail Yureyvich, 1814-1841, Russian poet and author
  • Pushkin, Alexander Sergeyevich, 1799-1837, Russian poet
  • Turgenev, Ivan Sergeyvich, 1818-1883, Russian novelist


  • Aden
  • Aden Protectorate
  • Asia and the Pacific
  • Australia, Oceania
  • China, East Asia
  • Japan, East Asia
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Yemen, Middle East

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