Sir Eric Drummond


Sir Eric Drummond (1876–1951) was the first secretary-general of the League of Nations. Educated at Eton College, Drummond entered the British Foreign Office in 1900. He rose to become private secretary to Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey in 1915–16 and continued in that position under Grey’s successor, Arthur Balfour, in 1916–18. As a member of the British delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 he was involved in the drafting of the Covenant of the League of Nations. With strong backing from British and American leaders, he was appointed League secretary-general in May 1919. Drummond’s accomplishments included creating the international body’s multinational Permanent Secretariat and establishing patterns of relationships between the secretariat and the League’s other bodies, the Council and the Assembly, and with the permanent missions of the member states. Drummond sought to use his office to help resolve disputes brought before the League, such as Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931. He left his position on June 30, 1933, returned to the Foreign Office, and became the British ambassador to Italy in October of that year. This photograph of Drummond is from the archives of the League of Nations, held at the United Nations office in Geneva. The archives were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.

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1 photograph ; 11.3 x 14.5 centimeters


  1. Lorna Lloyd, “Drummond, (James) Eric, seventh earl of Perth (1876–1951),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Last updated: November 14, 2017