Papers of Sir John Wilton

Scope and Content

This small collection contains the following items: one draft typescript essay 'Doha 1949-50' by JW containing memoirs of the time he spent in Qatar, [2002]; transcript of interview held with Wilton relating to Wilton's residence in Qatar [used in gathering material for the biography of H.M. Shaikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar], n.d. [1990s]; draft manuscript text written by JW for the Saudi Information Centre's tenth anniversary of King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud's accession, 1992; two photograph albums produced by the Kuwait Oil Company for JW in honour of his Ambassadorship to Kuwait 1971-1974 containing colour and b/w photographs of the landscape, industry and people, c 1974.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir (Arthur) John Wilton (1921- ), diplomat, was the son of Walter and Annetta Wilton, and was educated at Wanstead High School, winning an Open Scholarship to St. John's College, University of Oxford in 1940. In 1942 he entered the Royal Ulster Rifles, and served with the Irish Brigade in North Africa, Italy and Austria between 1943 and 1946. He was awarded a War-time MA (first class Hons) from the University of Oxford on the basis of the time spent at Oxford and on war service.

He entered HM Diplomatic Service in 1947, with postings in Lebanon, Egypt, Gulf Shaikdoms (including the post of the first Political Officer resident in Doha, Qatar, Aug 1949-Jul 1950), Yugoslavia and Roumania. He was Director of the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies in Lebanon from 1960-1965, Deputy High Commissioner in Aden 1966-1967, Ambassador to Kuwait 1970-1974, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1974-1976, and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia 1976-1979. He was also Director of the London House for Overseas Graduates 1979-1986 and Chairman of the Arab-British Centre 1981-1986. Since he retired to Devon, he has been President of the Plymouth branch of the English Speaking Union (from 1991) and is also Trustee of the Arab-British Chamber Charitable Foundation (from 1989), churchwarden of St. Maurice's church, Plympton, Devon and chairman of the charity Call South West. He was awarded an Honorary LLD in 1986 by New England College, New Hampshire, USA.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Biographical information taken from Who's Who (2003).

Other Finding Aids

Not currently listed.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 22 APril 2005, and encoded into EAD 3 June 2005.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Donated to the University Library in October 2004.

Related Material

None known relating to Wilton. Papers relating to the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies are also held at Exeter University Library (EUL MS 268).


It is not known whether this collection has been used as the basis for publication.

Geographical Names