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Oliver Franks Baron Franks

  • Oliver Franks

    Oliver Franks

    Source: The Provost and Fellows of The Queen's College, Oxford

  • Oliver Franks

    Oliver Franks

    Source: Frank Thistlethwaite Archive, University of East Anglia

Moral Philosopher and Public Servant
Born 6 February 1905, Birmingham, England.
Died 15 October 1992.

The remarkable philosopher and diplomat who was instrumental in brokering the Marshall Plan after the Second World War and who, as British Ambassador to Washington 1948-1952 negotiated on Britain's behalf in the formation of NATO.

Connection to the University of Glasgow: Professor

Discover more moral philosophers; public servants on the University of Glasgow Story website


The following achievement is associated with Oliver Franks Baron Franks:

Lasting significance in political philosophy and strategy
Oliver Franks, described as 'one of the founders of the post-war world', was deeply involved in Britain's recovery after the Second World War and was a co-founder of NATO and chair of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation.


The following honours are associated with this person:


Oliver Shewell Franks, Baron Franks (1905-1992) was Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University from 1937 until 1946.

Born in Selly Oak, Franks studied Classics at Queen's College, Oxford where he was recognised as an outstanding student and graduated with a first in 1927. He became a Fellow at Queen's, travelled in Europe and returned to Oxford to work as a tutor from 1935 until his appointment to the Chair in Glasgow.

The new Professor had little time to make his mark at the University, as he worked in the Ministry of Supply throughout the Second World War and became Permanent Secretary in 1945. In 1946 he was appointed KCB and left Glasgow to become Provost of Queen's College, Oxford.

Franks went on to have a glittering career as a public servant (including spells as British Ambassador to the USA and service on committees such as those on the Official Secrets Act and Political Honours Scrutiny) and is best known for leading the inquiry in 1982-1983 into the British Government's conduct of the Falklands War. He also joined the boards of many leading British companies. He was created a life peer in 1962 and was Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, from 1962 to 1976; Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, 1965 to 1984, and Lord Warden of the Stannaries and Keeper of the Privy Seal of the Duke of Cornwall, 1983 to 1985.