Skip to main content

University Chancellor to reveal perils of diplomatic dining – University of Reading

Show access keys

University Chancellor to reveal perils of diplomatic dining

Release Date 02 October 2006

The Right Honourable Lord Carrington, Chancellor of the University of Reading, will join a high profile cast of diplomatic veterans tomorrow to talk about their gastronomic adventures abroad in a new series for BBC Radio 4 which charts what happens when food, wine and British foreign policy collide. In Diplomatic Dinners, Lord Carrington – who was Secretary of State for Defence 1970-74 - will join former Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, Press Complaints Commission Chairman and former British Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer, and Sir Nicholas Henderson, former British Ambassador to Spain, Germany, Poland and France, over five episodes to reveal memories of their times at the diplomatic dinner table. Listeners learn that Stalin was greatly perplexed by the huge array of cutlery at one particular British dinner, while an ice cream concoction nearly wrecked the entire conference. In China, diplomats tell of struggles with bears paws, sheep's eyes, dog and, worst of all, warm cockerel's testicles. And there is some plain speaking about the culinary tensions between Britain and France. Diplomatic Dinners reveals the secrets of the Government's wine cellar and the perils of "dipso-diplomacy". It discovers that more than one British diplomat has fallen during the vodka wars with Russia and that a Soviet plot was once undermined by a British sandwich. The programme also features a priceless exchange of Foreign Office memos over the correct way to eat a Mongolian meat ball. Lord Carrington, KG, GCMG, CH, MC, PC was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. As a Major in the Grenadier Guards he earned the Military Cross in 1945. An active member of the House of Lords, he served as Parliamentary Secretary 1951-54 in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and 1954-56 in the Ministry of Defence. After periods as High Commissioner in Australia and First Lord of the Admiralty he entered the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio and Leader of the House of Lords 1963-64. In Mr Heath's government he was Secretary of State for Defence 1970-74 and briefly for Energy (1974). He returned to the Cabinet in 1979 as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs but resigned in 1982 in the Falklands crisis. Posts he has since occupied include those of Chairman of GEC; Secretary-General of NATO; Secretary for Foreign Correspondence, Royal Academy of Arts; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Victoria and Albert Museum; President of the Pilgrims; Chairman of Christie's International plc; Chancellor of the order of St Michael and St George; and President of VSO. Lord Carrington was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by Reading University in December 1989 and was installed as its sixth Chancellor in March 1992. • Diplomatic Dinners, Tuesday 3 October, 9.30-9.45am BBC RADIO 4 For further information contact Lucy Ferguson, Senior Press Officer, on 0118 378 7388, or email

We use Javascript to improve your experience on, but it looks like yours is turned off. Everything will still work, but it is even more beautiful with Javascript in action. Find out more about why and how to turn it back on here.
We also use cookies to improve your time on the site, for more information please see our cookie policy.