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Alastair George Maitland


1916 - 2011 Obituary Condolences
Alastair George Maitland Obituary
Alastair Maitland, 95, a long-time resident of Heath, Massachusetts, and husband of Hazel Margaret Porter, also of Heath, died Wednesday, December 21, at his home. He was a former member of the British Foreign Service, having served most recently as Consul-General in Boston and Director-General of Trade Development in New York City.
Mr. Maitland was born on January 30, 1916, of Scottish parents, Wilhelmina Sarah Dundas and Thomas Douglas Maitland, in Kampala, Uganda, where his father, a professional botanist and agronomist, was serving as an adviser to a number of East African Colonial governments.
He was raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he attended George Watson's Boys College and Edinburgh University, graduating from the latter in 1937 with an M.A. (First Class Honors) in French language and Literature and in Spanish, Economics, Jurisprudence and Public International Law. He also attended the University of Grenoble, the University of Paris (Faculties of Law and Letters) and the École des Sciences Politiques in Paris before joining the British Foreign Service in 1938.
During a 37-year Foreign Service career, Mr. Maitland served at British Consular posts in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. After the onset of World War II, he served on the staff of the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Ottawa, Canada. He was later assigned on three separate occasions to the Foreign Office in London. In 1948 he was appointed to serve in the British Middle East Office in Cairo; and in 1954 he was transferred to the United Kingdom Permanent Delegation to the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) in Paris. From 1958 until his retirement in 1975 he served as Her Majesty's Consul-General at New Orleans, Jerusalem, Cleveland and Boston and as Director-General of Trade Development in New York.
Of all these various assignments Mr. Maitland used to say that one that gave him the greatest professional and personal satisfaction was his 4-year tour of duty (1954-58) in Paris with the OEEC (now known as the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development or OECD). The OEEC had come into being as a response to the Marshall Plan and the European Recovery Program. Mr. Maitland was a strong believer in multilateral diplomacy and in the movement towards European integration in particular; and he would quote the words of Robert Marjolin, the first Director-General of the OEEC, on the Marshall Plan's place in history: "On no other question did the post-war American policy manifest itself with greater brilliance. Not only did the United States grant at the time massive financial aid to its allies and former enemies, making thus possible the economic recovery of the most developed region outside the United States, which would one day foreseeably become a formidable competitor; but it pushed and jostled the Europeans to unite and to increase in this way their economic and political strength."
In 1953, when in charge of the United States desk at the Foreign Office, Mr. Maitland played a part in the drafting of the Marshall Scholarship program. Conceived as an expression of the British people's thanks for Marshall Aid this Program provides scholarships tenable at any one of the British Universities, for American men and women, up to the age of 26. Starting in 1954, with twelve scholarship awards, the Program now offers forty scholarships each year. There are now well over one thousand former Marshall Scholars, many of whom have come to occupy prominent places in American public life and the professions, teaching and research, the law, government, finance, the arts, medicine and science. Prominent recipients include current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and former Congressional Budget Office Director Peter Orszag.
In 1964, Mr. Maitland was named a Commander of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. In 1966 he was appointed by the Queen to be a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Mr. Maitland was a passionate golfer. In his youth, he reached the quarterfinals of the 1933 U.K. schoolboys' championship.
On his retirement in 1975, Mr. Maitland and his first wife, Betty Hamilton Maitland, formerly of Ottawa, Canada, settled in Heath, Massachusetts. They became United States citizens by naturalization in 1980. From 1975 to 1978 they divided their time between Heath and Paris from where Mr. Maitland contributed a regular Op-Ed page column on French politics and society to The Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Betty Maitland died in 1981.
Mr. Maitland was active in the affairs of the Heath community. He was committed to the preservation of open land and forest, and served as one of the first board members of the Franklin Land Trust, to which he donated land in Heath that is now the Betty Maitland Memorial Forest.
In addition to his widow, Hazel Porter, Mr. Maitland leaves three children, Ian Maitland of St. Paul, MN, Angus Maitland and his wife, Lucy, of New York City and Anne Maitland and her husband, Paul Baiocchi, of Washington Depot, CT; three step-children, Jennella Porter and her husband, David Ouellette, of Freetown, MA, Laura Porter of North Attleboro, MA and John Porter and his wife, Donna, of Delmar, NY; three grand-children Nicholas Baiocchi, Alexander Ito Maitland, and Aliona Maitland; five step-grand-children Nathan Blood, Heather and Alexander Porter and Jacquelyn and Michael D'Adamo. He was predeceased by his brothers, Douglas, Ian and Sir Donald Maitland, all of the United Kingdom.
A celebration of the life of Alastair George Maitland will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2012, at the Charlemont Federated Church, Route 2 / Mohawk Trail, Charlemont, MA.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Franklin Land Trust, Inc., 36 State Street, P.O. Box 450, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.

Published in Litchfield County Times on Dec. 30, 2011
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