Donald Hawley

Sir Donald Hawley KCMG MBE (22 May 1921 – 31 January 2008) was a British colonial lawyer, diplomat and writer.


Donald Frederick Hawley was educated at Radley College. At the outbreak of World War II, about to go to university, he volunteered for the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry but was told to continue to university: he went to New College, Oxford where he took a four-term wartime degree in law.

In 1941 he joined the Royal Artillery "without Army pay and allowances whilst specially employed"[1] because he was with Sudanese troops in North Africa. In 1944 he joined the Sudan Political Service, then the Sudan Judiciary in 1947.

In 1951 he was formally called to the bar in England. He continued as Chief Registrar of the Sudan Judiciary and Registrar-General of Marriages until 1955 when he resigned from the Sudan service and joined the British Diplomatic Service. After two years in the Foreign Office he was posted as Political Agent to the Trucial States, based in Dubai, 1958–62, then to Cairo 1962–65 and Lagos 1965–67.

He then took a sabbatical break as a fellow of Durham University, which was cut short due to the resumption of relations with Iraq after a break following the Six-Day War. Hawley was Counsellor (Commercial) at Baghdad (second to the ambassador) 1968–71, then the first British ambassador to Oman 1971–75,[2] assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1975–77, and High Commissioner to Malaysia 1977–81. He then retired from the Diplomatic Service and continued as a consultant and other activities including founder membership of the Anglo-Omani Society and the British Malaysian Society, President of the Council of Reading University 1987–94 and chairman of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs 1994–2002.


Hawley was appointed MBE in 1955,[3] CMG in 1970, and knighted KCMG in 1978.[4] He was awarded an honorary DLitt degree by Reading University and an honorary DCL by Durham University.


In 1964 Donald Hawley married Ruth Howes; they had a son and three daughters, one of whom is the journalist Caroline Hawley. In retirement Sir Donald and Lady Hawley lived at Little Cheverell, Wiltshire, and he wrote a history of the village.



External links

Diplomatic posts
New title Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Muscat
Succeeded by
Charles Treadwell
Preceded by
Sir Eric Norris
High Commissioner to Malaysia
Succeeded by
Sir William Bentley
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