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Storm Signals: More Undiplomatic Diaries,…

Storm Signals: More Undiplomatic Diaries, 1962-1971 (1983)

by Charles Ritchie

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Ritchie published four volumes of diaries that chronicled his life from youth to retirement. This volume covers his time with the Canadian Department of External Affairs during the years 1962-1971. In this time period he was the Canadian ambassador to Washington where he dealt with President Kennedy who was having many issues with the Canadian prime minister, John Diefenbaker at the time. Interestingly, Ritchie who I suspect was a Conservative, did not like Diefenbaker and was relieved when Dief was defeated in 1963.

Ritchie also dealt with President Lyndon Johnson and was a witness to the infamous dressing down of mild mannered Prime Minister Mike Pearson by Johnson but Ritchie disputes the story that Johnson lifted Pearson off the ground by his shirt collar. He does confirm Johnson was very angry with a speech Pearson had made about the US bombing of North Vietnam.

Ritchie was later the Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain and was there for the first visit by Pierre Trudeau as the Prime Minister of Canada. In England, he continued his relationship with the British poet Elizabeth Bowen. He also describes his loving relationship with his wife Sylvia and when she was away, how empty the house seemed.

The diary is funny, full of cryptic observations of the famous and not so famous. ( )
  lamour | Mar 11, 2015 |
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