Christopher Meyer, a suave diplomat who served as the British ambassador to Washington from 1997 to 2003, but later argued that his government had allowed itself He died at his holiday home in Megève, in the French Alps. . He is 78 years old.
The apparent cause of his death, a stroke, was confirmed by several officials, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
As Britain’s special envoy from 1997 to 2003, during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Mr. Meyer quietly banned the use of the term “special relationship” to describe the relationship between Britain and the United States alliance, arguing that Washington clearly considers its relationship to be much more important to other countries, such as Israel.
Following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in 2001, Britain broke with many other European countries, becoming the Bush administration’s main partner in the invasion of Afghanistan and backing Washington’s claim that Iraq was developing and deploying weapons of mass destruction.
However, Mr. Meyer insisted at the time and later in an unabashedly flippant book titled “DC Confidential” (2005) that there was insufficient evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed these weapons, nor lacked Further UN support and planning To govern Iraq after the overthrow of Hussein, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mr Bush prematurely agreed to invade Iraq, which he later said was at the President’s Texas ranch in April 2002 “Bloody Sign”.
“The verdict of history,” Mr. Meyer wrote, “looks probable that it was deeply flawed in its conception and execution.”
However, he later admitted that without British support, Washington would likely go to war.
He kept only a few from reproach, dismissing Mr Blair’s ministers. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott responded by calling the former envoy a “red sock idiot” – referring to his penchant for fancy socks. (Mr. Meyer paid no heed, adopting the Twitter account @sirsocks, where he had campaigned for Conservative leadership just a few weeks earlier.)
Christopher John Rome Meyer was born on 22 February 1944 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Thirteen days before his birth, his father Reginald, an RAF flight lieutenant, died when his plane was shot down during a bombing mission in Greece. He was raised in Brighton by his mother Eve and grandmother.
He attended boarding school at Lansing College in West Sussex, studied in Paris and graduated from Cambridge with a degree in history. He then studied at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy.
In 1997 he married Catherine Laylle Volkmann. Beginning with his marriage to Françoise Hedges, she survived the eventual divorce with two sons James and William. three stepsons; and a grandson.
Mr. Meyer joined the Foreign Office in 1966. He has worked in Moscow, Madrid, Brussels and Washington, and spent a year as a visiting scholar at Harvard. In 1994, he became the press spokesman for Conservative Prime Minister John Major.
In 1997, he briefly served as ambassador to Germany, before being appointed special envoy to Washington later that year. As Britain’s longest-serving post-World War II ambassador in Washington, his term will include the impeachment of Clinton, Bush’s 2000 victory, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the invasion of Afghanistan and the prelude to the war in Iraq.
In 1998, he was knighted.
Meyer wrote in his memoir that Blair’s chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, ordered him to stay as close to the White House as possible. He was as close as possible in the Bush administration: he played tennis with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice; whitewater rafting with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld; and met his next-door neighbor, Vice President Dick Cheney.
After retiring in 2003, Mr. Meyer served for six years as chairman of the country’s Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory body he helped strengthen.
He later wrote books and articles, and posted regularly on Twitter, wondering why the 2020 New York Times, as he put it, was so persistently hostile to Britain. “Is it Brexit, in which newspaper is more royalist than a Remain king?” he asks. “Is this its distaste for Boris? Is it absurd to think he’s a mini-Trump?”
He has also hosted TV documentaries, including the BBC’s series The Power Network (2012), in which he sought to identify attributes shared by powerful global cities and their influential inhabitants.
“I thought, it’s really interesting – what makes these cities work? Who makes them tick?” he said protector 2012. “I started with an assumption, which I thought was more or less plausible during filming, and that was: maybe they had more in common with each other than they had with their own country. Seen Mumbai, Moscow and After Rome, the common denominator I would say is the level of nepotism is shocking.”
The real problem, he added, is, “It’s your nature to surround yourself with people you think will advance your interests, have some basic compatibility with them, and get along with them.”