Ritchie, Charles Stewart Almon

Charles Stewart Almon Ritchie, diplomat, author (b at Halifax 23 Sept 1906; d at Ottawa 8 June 1995). Ritchie joined the Dept of External Affairs in 1934, rising to assistant (later deputy) undersecretary 1950-54. Restless in Ottawa, he escaped to Germany as ambassador 1954-58, and subsequently held the top posts in Canada's diplomatic service - ambassador to the United Nations 1958-62, to the United States 1962-66, to NATO and the EEC 1966-67, and high commissioner to the UK 1967-71.

Ritchie had grown up wanting to be an author, and he kept diaries from an early age. Four volumes have been published since his retirement: The Siren Years (1974; Gov Gen's Award), An Appetite for Life (1977), Diplomatic Passport (1981) and Storm Signals (1983). The diaries, like the man, are cool, elegant and cynical about human nature but generous to individuals. My Grandfather's House (1987) is a memoir of his youth.