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The History of the High Commission PDF Print E-mail

The History of the High Commission

The Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK was officially opened on 22nd October 1948, and was the second overseas Mission to be opened by Sri Lanka. This was the first Embassy to start operating after Sri Lanka then Ceylon gained independence from Britain.


Sir George Claude Stanley Corea



Sir Claude took up the post of Ceylonese Representative in the United Kingdom in 1946, 2 years prior to Independence. It is as a diplomat par excellence that he is remembered. His contribution as a diplomat has given him legendary status among the cogniscenti. He was appointed as the first Ceylonese Ambassador to the United States in 1948. Sir Claude was again appointed as the High Commissioner of Ceylon in United Kingdom in 1954. He was given concurrent accreditation to France and the Netherlands in January 1956. He served as High Commissioner at the Court of St. James until 1958.

Government of Ceylon appointed Sir Oliver Goonetilleke as the first Ceylonese High Commissioner to the United Kingdom after Sir Claude Corea in 1949.

 

Former Sri Lankan High Commissioners in the United Kingdom (From 1948 to 2011)


  • 1946 Sir George Claude Stanley Corea (Representative of the Government of Ceylon - Before the Independence)
  • 1949 Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, GCMG, KCVO, KBE
  • 1952 Sir Edwin A.P.Wijeratne
  • 1954 Sir George Claude Stanley Corea
  • 1957 (December) Mr. Gunasena De soyza CM.G.,O.B.E
  • 1958 (October) Mr. P.R.Gunasekera
  • 1960 (February) Mr. Gunasena De soyza CM.G.,O.B.E
  • 1961 (October) Mr. R.S.S.Gunawardena
  • 1963 (June) Mr. G.P.Malalasekera, O.B.E, Ph.D.,Dilitt
  • 1967 (February) Sir Lalita Rajapaksha Q.C
  • 1969 (October) Mr. M.V.P.Peiris O.B.E.
  • 1970 (December) Mr. Tilak E Goonaratne
  • 1975 Deshamanya DR. Vernon L B Mendis
  • 1977 Mr N.Wimalasena
  • 1981 (January) Mr. A.T.Moorthy
  • 1984 (May) Mr. Chandra Monerawela
  • 1990 (March) General D.S.Attygala, L.V.O.
  • 1993 (August) General Cyril Ranatunge
  • 1995 (February) Mr. S.K.Wickremasinghe
  • 1999 (January) Dr Lal Jayawardena
  • 2000 (July) Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe
  • 2002 (April) Mr. Faiz Mustapha PC
  • 2005 (February) Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne
  • 2008 (May) Justice Nihal Jayasinghe
  • 2011 (September) Dr. Chris Nonis,B.Sc (Hons) MBBS (London) MRCP (UK)

 

 

 

UK - Sri Lanka Relations


The Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK was officially opened on 22nd October 1948, and was the second overseas Mission to be opened by Sri Lanka. This was the first Embassy to start operating after Sri Lanka then Ceylon gained independence from Britain.

Bilateral ties with the UK takes centre stage in the country's post colonial foreign policy making London one of the most important Missions abroad for Sri Lanka. In addition to its bilateral work, the Mission also handles the work related to the Commonwealth Organisation. Sri Lanka also established diplomatic relations with the then Republic of Ireland in February 1996, and concurrent accreditation was formalised when the High Commissioner presented credentials as Ambassador to the President of Ireland in January 1997.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, visited Sri Lanka twice since independence, first in 1953 and then in 1981. The Queen's second visit was to attend the celebrations marking 50 years of universal adult franchise in Sri Lanka. The Victoria Dam under the Mahaweli Diversion Programme was ceremoniously opened by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984. Sri Lanka's ties with Britain are multifaceted and cover a wide range of areas. Over a period of time, Britain's commercial interests in Sri Lanka have shown a gradual shift from plantations to industry.

At present, Sri Lanka's major exports to the UK have changed to industrial products and also include apparel, machinery, sea food, bicycles etc. The UK is Sri Lanka's second largest market and third largest Foreign Direct Investor. There are 207 UK companies operating in Sri Lanka with an estimated investment of US $ 429 million.

UK is the second largest tourism market for Sri Lanka accounting for 20% of the country's tourist arrivals and 30% of tourism related earnings. A recent commercial development has been the large increase in tourists from Britain, with it presently being the largest single source of tourists visiting Sri Lanka from the EU.

The British Council has continued to play a vital role in improving the standards of English through its numerous programmes in Sri Lanka, including the popular library services it offers in Colombo and Kandy. In the field of higher education, a number of students from Sri Lankan universities continue to receive bursaries and other scholarships from British seats of higher learning.

 

Historical Photographs




Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, GCMG, KCVO, KBE , the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain (1949)


Sir Edwin Wijeyeratne, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain (1951)


Mr. Gunasena de Soyza, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain  (1954)

 

Mr. P.R.Gunasekera, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain  (1958)


Dr. G.P.Malalasekera, O.B.E, Ph.D.,Dilitt, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain (1963)


Sir Lalitha Rajapakse, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain (1967) was interviewed in London for the BBC Sinhala service programme by Sunanda Mahendra

 

Mr. M. V. P. Peiris, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain  (1970) with Mr. Jean Rey, President of the European Commission (1967–1970)

 

Mr. Tilak E Goonaratne, the High Commissioner for Ceylon in Britain  (1971) with Franco Maria Malfatti - President of the European Commission (1970–1972)

 

Deshamanya DR. Vernon L B Mendis, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1975)

 

Mr. N. Wimalasena the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1977)

 

Mr. A.T.Moorthy, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1981)

 

Mr. Chandra Monerawela, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1984)

 

General D.S.Attygala, L.V.O. the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1990)

 

General Cyril Ranatunge, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1993)

 

Mr. S.K.Wickremasinghe, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1995)

 

Dr Lal Jayawardena, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (1999)

 

Mr. Mangala Moonasinghe, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (2000)

 

Mr. Faisz Musthapha, PC, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (2002)

 

Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (2005)

 

Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (2008)

 

Dr. Chris Nonis, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain (2011)

 

 

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