Désy, Jean

Jean Désy, diplomat (b at Montréal 8 Jan 1893; d at Paris, France 19 Dec 1960). Educated at Laval and the Sorbonne, the highly intelligent Désy was called to the Québec Bar in 1915 and taught history and law at Université de Montréal, 1919-25. He joined the Department of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs and International Trade) in 1925, the year it came under the direction of O.D. Skelton. Along with Laurent Beaudry and Pierre Dupuy, he was one of the pioneering Francophones in the department; like Dupuy, he avoided Ottawa, preferring to serve abroad. As minister to Belgium and the Netherlands 1939-40, Désy was among the first career diplomats to head a Canadian post in a foreign country. Ambassadorships in Brazil, Italy and finally France followed.