This letter was in response to the The Guardian’s obituary of Denis Healey.
David McKie says that Denis Healey was “formidably equipped” for the job of foreign secretary, despite never getting it. I had an experience in the 1980s that made me draw the same conclusion but which also gave an insight as to why he didn’t fit into Foreign Office culture. Healey was speaking at a seminar about the armed conflicts then taking place, with active US involvement, in Central America. Seated next to me were two Foreign Office officials who murmured constant criticisms to each other about the sympathetic attitude Healey was taking towards two guerrilla army leaders who shared the platform with him. Healey not only showed respect for those leading armed struggles, but also considerable knowledge of their causes and of their history. His assured performance was completely lacking in any deference towards the approved Foreign Office “line” at that time.
Original post: The Guardian