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Name: Westmacott, Peter
Current Position: Ambassador

President Barack Obama recently welcomed the new ambassador from the United Kingdom, a forty-year veteran of the British Diplomatic Service who served in Washington, DC, during most of the Clinton era.

Peter Westmacott has a personal connection to the U.S. that goes much further back than his diplomatic posting. In 1942, his father was a sailor on the HMS Illustrious when it was repaired in Norfolk, Virginia, to fix damage suffered during fighting at Malta. Westmacott has the bad luck to have a brother-in-law, Hassan Nemazee, who in 2010 was sentenced to 12½ years in federal prison for multiple counts of bank fraud and wire fraud. He had been a major contributor to the Democratic Party and prominent Democratic politicians, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, although it has never been suggested that either had knowledge of Nemazee’s criminal activities.
Westmacott was born in the village of Edington, Somerset, England, on December 23, 1950. He received his secondary education at Taunton School in Taunton, Somerset. At the age of eighteen, he worked in a bank in Lyon, France, for six months, and then attended University at New College, Oxford, where he studied History and French.
Upon graduation, Westmacott joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972. After a year in the Middle East Department and Persian language training, Westmacott had his first overseas posting, as second secretary at the British embassy in Tehran, Iran, from 1974 to 1978, which were the turbulent years leading up to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. After serving two years at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, Westmacott served at the UK embassy in Paris as first secretary from 1980 to 1984, where he worked on trade, industry and energy issues. After three years as Chief of Staff to successive Ministers of State in London, he was sent to the embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in 1987, to serve as head of chancery until 1990. He then served three years, from 1990 to January1993, as deputy private secretary to Prince Charles. In November 1992 it was Westmacott who made the first official comment that the marriage between Charles and Princess Diana was not “a happy one.”
Returning to diplomacy, in 1993 Westmacott was posted for the first time to Washington as a counselor for political and public affairs, serving until 1997. Back in London, he served as director for the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1997 to 2000, and as deputy under secretary from 2000 to 2002.
From 2002 to 2006, Westmacott served his second posting in Ankara, as ambassador to Turkey, where he had to deal with a 2003 suicide bomb attack on the British Consulate in Istanbul, which killed 15 people. He was closely involved in the decision to begin negotiations between Turkey and the EU in 2005 regarding Turkey’s possible inclusion in the European Union. In March 2007, he became ambassador to France, where he served until December 2011.
Westmacott married Susie Nemazee, his second wife, in 2001; between them they have four children: Oliver, Laura, Rupert and Safieh.
Our Man in Paris, Peter Westmacott (by Oliver Rowland, The Connexion)
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