Glasgow-born grandson of poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, Horace Phillips dreamed as a teenager of a career in the diplomatic service - if only as a British consul. But family circumstances and the Civil Service Commission ruled this out, and at 17 he became an Inland Revenue tax clerk, later passing the executive class examination. Following wartime army service, and a period working as a member of Mountbatten's staff during his time as Viceroy, Phillips entered the diplomatic service through one of the highly competitive examinations open to ex-servicemen. As a vice-consul in south Persia he began a career of 30 years that took him to a variety of eastern countries, and he eventually rose to the post of senior ambassador. Horace Phillip's memoirs describe an interesting and varied life, and includes accounts of some important moments in history: the British withdrawal from Aden; Nyerere on the brink of taking Tanzania out of the Commonwealth; and Turkey's intervention in Cyprus. Phillips also describes the personal trauma of the King of Saudi Arabia's rejection of him as British Ambassador, after "The Jewish Chronicle" had publicized the fact of his Jewishness.
On mandatory retirement at 60 he became resident representative of a major engineering group for nine years in Persia, Bahrain, Hong Kong and China. For 5 years he was a lecturer in international relations at a Turkish university for one term per year.
Origins - ambitions - civil service; war - marriage - on the Viceroy's staff; diplomatic service reconstruction - obstacles in my way; transfer to diplomatic service (junior branch) - Consul in Persia - failure in examination for senior branch; success into senior branch - Diplomat in Afghanistan - Foreign Office; a Jewish Diplomat in Saudi Arabia - the Buraimi problem; promoted Counsellor - Aden Proctectorate - Socotra - Oman; Iran - OPEC - Khomeini exiled - Bahrain; Ambassador to Indonesia - the fall of Sukarno; a Jew as Ambassador unacceptable to Saudi Arabia - press distortions - escape to Greece; High Commissioner in Tanzania - Nyerere's idealism; Tanzania threatens to leave Commonwealth - Obote and Idi Amin; Ambassador to Turkey - role of the army there; the Ankara residence - jubilee year - knighthood; coup in Cyprus - Turkish intervention - visit to Israel; retirement - attributes of Ambassadors - formulating foreign policy; honorary degree - second career (Taylor Woodrow); Iran again - revolution - Shah out, Khomeini in; flight from Tehran - market reconnaissance in Middle East - return to Tehran; transfer to Hong Kong - first business visits to China; Bahrain; China - problems of doing business - retirement again; slow train to Hong Kong; third career - university lecturer in Turkey.