Fonds UBCA-ARC-1410 - J. Alan Beesley fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

J. Alan Beesley fonds

General material designation

  • Multiple media

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the provenance of the fonds

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


Physical description area

Physical description

2.35 m of textual records and other material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

John Alan Beesley (1927-2009) was born in Smithers, B.C. From 1949 to 1950, he obtained his B.A. and LL.B from the University of British Columbia. The following year, Beesley was called to the Bar of British Columbia, where he practiced law with Crease & Co. in Victoria until 1956. In September of 1956, he joined the Department of External Affairs, and in 1967 he became the Director of the Legal Division and held this position until 1971.
Beesley's assignments have included: the Canadian Embassy in Israel; the Canadian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (1964-1967); Assistant Under-Secretary and Legal Advisor (1972-1973); Ambassador of Canada to Austria, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) from 1973-1976; Canadian High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu (1978-1980); Ambassador for Disarmament, New York (1980-1982); Ambassador to United Nations at Geneva to the Disarmament Conference and GATT (1983-1987); Visiting professor at the University of British Columbia Law School (1987-1988); and Ambassador for Marine Conservation and Special Environmental Advisor to Canadian Foreign Minister (1989-1991). In addition, Beesley is remembered for his leading role and contributions as Ambassador to Law of the Sea Conference and Chairman of the Conference Drafting Committee from 1967 to 1983. In 2003, Beesley was invited to participate in Canada's Ratification of the Convention under Jean Chrétien.
Beesley's significant honours have included earning honorary doctorates in Environmental Studies (University of Waterloo, 1983) and Law (Dalhousie University, 1994). He received the Order of Canada in 1984 and the Prime Minister's Outstanding Public Service Award in 1983. In addition, medals have included the Admiral's Medal for Contributions to Canadian Maritime Affairs (1993), Medal of Honour from the United Nation Association of Canada (1995), the Human Rights Medal of Honour, and the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2002). John Alan Beesley died on 22 January 2009.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of personal and professional materials of Beesley’s related to his career. The fonds is divided into seven series: Biographical/Personal Information series (1946, 1972-2009); Correspondence series (1973, 1979, 1980-1984); Articles, Statements, and Speeches series( 1967-2004); Newspaper Clippings series (1972-1982); International Law Commission (UN General Assembly Reports) series (1986-1992), Photographs series (1962-1963, 1972-1984, 1989, 2003), and Audiovisual series (1972-1982).

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Materials were acquired in two separate accruals from John Alan Beesley and his wife Ruth Lechner Beesley.


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Boxes 11 and 12 contain materials labelled as personal or confidential and restricted until 24 May 2022.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Online Finding Aid
Please see the finding aid for an inventory of files.

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

Related materials


General note

Photographs have been digitized and included in UBC Library Open Collections series (UBC 126.1).

Physical description

Includes: 95 photographs, 8 audiocassette tapes, 7 digital images, 3 reel-to-reel tapes, 3 CD-R discs,1 floppy diskette.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

Script of description


Accession area