John Rennie

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Person.png John Rennie  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, diplomat)
Born13 January 1914
Died30 September 1981 (Age 67)

Employment.png Chief of the SIS

In office
1968 - 1973
His brief, supposedly, was to reform the organisation.


Sir John Ogilvy Rennie KCMG , the 6th Director of the MI6 was educated at Wellington College and Balliol College, Oxford. Rennie started working for the Foreign Office in 1946 and remained there in various capacities until his appointment to MI6 in 1968. His postings included First Secretary, UK Embassy in Washington DC 1949 to 1951, Director of the Information Research Department 1953-58[1], Minister, UK Embassy in Buenos Aires Argentina from 1958 to 1960, Minister in Washington 1960 to 1963 and he served on the Civil Service Commission in 1966.

As Head of the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, John Rennie ran one of the most controversial functions of the department. It is alleged that the IRD used the UK media to disseminate false information to foreign governments and funded anti-communist activities within the UK labour unions.

He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1967.

As a career diplomat, some considered him an unusual choice to head the Secret Intelligence Service. When appointed by then UK Foreign Secretary George Brown, his brief was to reform the organisation. One critic wrote "It is not very encouraging that the newly appointed Chief of the SIS is a lifelong diplomat of the usual education, stamp and age. Someone rougher is needed." While the intelligence services initially were suspicious of Rennie, his tough but fair approach won him admirers.

On January 15, 1973, Sir John's son was arrested for an alleged involvement in the importation of large quantities of heroin from Hong Kong. Sir John retired not long after.


Countryside Movement (Board circa 1996)[2]