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We are saddened to announce the death of John Vernon, one of the founding directors of Africa Confidential. A liberal-minded hereditary peer, the 10th Baron Vernon died, aged 77, on 19 August 2000. Along with his friends, James Lemkin, Charles Janson, and Charles March, Vernon founded Africa Confidential in 1960 to provide analysis about political and economic developments in Africa to inform the growing debate in Britain about decolonisation strategy.
Vernon was able to contribute from a position of special knowledge. Trained as a barrister, he was an officer from 1950-55 in Britain's internal security service MI5. He was at the Cabinet Office before moving to the Colonial Office for a posting in Kenya. His principal concern at the time was that British decolonisation in Africa should be unambiguous, responsible and non-racial. A strong opponent of apartheid and the rebel Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith, Vernon became a voice for liberal reform for Africa in the House of Lords and in several international organisations.
He enlivened Africa Confidential's board meetings with his irreverence and exuberance. After Miramoor Publications, of which he was a director, sold Africa Confidential to Blackwell Publishers in 1994, Vernon ended his active involvement with the paper but remained well-informed about Africa until the end. Sadly Vernon was unable to attend Africa Confidential's 40th anniversary conference in London in April but his political and diplomatic knowledge was referred to with affection by several speakers from East Africa. We offer our sympathy to his family.
Lord Vernon – Obituary in The Telegraph, 24 Aug 2000
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