Louis Le Bailly

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Louis Edward Stewart Holland Le Bailly (18 July 1915) was Director-General of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence from 1972 to 1975, and was a member of the right-wing propaganda outfit the Institute for the Study of Conflict from 1976 until 1985.

Early life and education

Le Bailly was born on 18 July 1915, the son of Robert Francis Le Bailly and Ida Gaskell Le Bailly (née Holland). [1] He attended the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth (the navy’s equivalent of Sandhurst), which at that time was essentially specialised boarding school.


In the Navy

During and in the period up to the Second World War Le Bailly served on several ships and spent periods studying that the Royal Naval Engineering College (RNEC) in Keyham and Manadon. In 1946 he joined the Admiralty, working initially as a Schools Liaison Officer at Birmingham University. In 1947 he was appointed Secretary to Lord Geddes’ Admiralty Oil Committee. A year later he was appointed chairman of the NATO Fuels and Lubricants Standardisation Committee, which he chaired until 1952. In 1963 whilst students at the Imperial Defence College, Le Bailly, future Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Cameron and Brigadier Kenneth Hunt wrote a letter to The Times, arguing that the country lacked an independent think tank for the academic study of national defence, and that the need could be met by developing and widening the activities of the RUSI. This caught the attention of Lord Mountbatten, who gave it his support.[2] Le Bailly subsequently held several posts in the British Navy before being appointed Naval Attaché to Washington, DC, and Commander of the British Navy Staff from 1967 to 1969.


In 1970 Le Bailly moved to the Ministry of Defence where he became deputy to the Director-General of Intelligence Harold Maguire. [3] In October 1972 Le Bailly took over from Maguire as Director-General. [4] Commenting on Le Bailly’s upcoming appointment, ‘‘The Times’’ said Le Bailly, ‘has a reputation of being “the scourge of the Russians” and there is little he does not know about the Soviet Navy’.[5] Le Bailly was Director-General until 6 October 1975, when he was replaced by David Willison, the former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. [6] That ended Le Bailly’s official role within the intelligence community, although he sometimes commented publicly on policy and funding, and in his memoirs Brian Crozier states that Le Bailly sat on “the shadowy board that which interviewed candidates for the Security Services.” [7]

Institute for the Study of Conflict

Le Bailly who became Vice-Chairman of the Institute for the Study of Conflict in 1976. [8] He joined the Council of Management in October 1975, immediately after leaving his post as Director-General of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence [9] and was a member until 1985.[10] Le Bailly was probably the figure responsible for ousting Brian Crozier from the Institute. He complained that Crozier’s ‘personal crusade against the forces of evil emanating largely from Russia’ was harming the Institute's reputation. [11]


Le Bailly is a prolific letters writer, particularly to The Times; so much so that his letters “helped to give the county [of Cornwall] a higher than average score for contributions to The Times letters”. Le Bailly told The Times: “One is old, hasn't got much to do, might as well inflict one's views on the public. I read The Times from top to bottom. Sometimes it's something Simon Jenkins writes that sets me off, sometimes one of the leaders.” [12] Le Bailly’s views are generally extremely conservative. Below is an edited extract of a letter he wrote to The Times on the BBC’s coverage of the Falklands War:

It is those who design and edit the news bulletins who seem to me to lack much sense of decency, all sense of patriotism and any sensitivity. Let me quote a few instances. The lies which the BBC so naively put out in the early days of the crisis culled directly from Argentine TV. The continuing amount of TV time devoted to exerpts from Argentine TV in particular emphasising the well orchestrated anti-British sentiments and those aspects attacking the British (elected) Government. The failure to recall that the Argentine was the aggressor and that it is our own people who are under the jackboot…The soppy crocodile tears shed over the sinking of the Belgrado…On balance I believe the BBC has been much worse than ITN. And I am sure that the great solid sea of our nation either wholly rejects or laughs at much of what is put our. Yet the young and less sophisticated drink in some of what is served up; and the real issues are consistently obscured.[13]

More recently Le Bailly has expressed to his local paper the Western Morning News, his concern over the erosion of the British constitution by “European tribes who seek to engulf us” and their allies in the three main political parties:

It was a wise Cambridge don, next to whom I once sat at dinner in his college, who warned me in 1973 of what was happening to our education system and how the French professors were combining to confront the danger, but it was not until I became Vice-Chairman of the Institute for the Study of Conflict in 1976 that I realised Professor Schapiro, the chairman, and his brave director Brian Crozier had issued the same warning some years before, with less success in our already penetrated State educational establishment. No one of stature listened and the deceitful politicians of all three main parties (but primarily Heath and the Conservatives) joined the "Long March" and betrayed Britain... The New Left - or, as they now call themselves, New Labour, happily treading the path set by treasonable Conservatives - are in the van of the Long March: iconoclasts to a man and woman, pullers-down, inter alia, of our parliamentary institutions now that our State education has been successfully infiltrated. They are part of the second hiccup our democracy has suffered since Magna Carta in 1215, and a far more dangerous and devastating hiccup this one is proving to be. Great Britain has been brought to the very edge of the precipice and the final shove is gathering strength and almost ready...

Yet with the Conservative legacy of betrayal well sustained, with a steady flow of immigrants of different (and differing) cultures and 70 per cent of our laws now emanating from a source we can neither elect nor dismiss, at a cost to each of us (at present) of £100,000 per minute or £873 per person per year, this is what is happening.[14]



  1. ‘LE BAILLY, Vice-Adm. Sir Louis (Edward Stewart Holland)’, Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  2. RUSI, A History of RUSI, (accessed 3 October 2008)
  3. The Times, Saturday, Jun 10, 1972; pg. 12; Issue 58501; col D
  4. The Times, Thursday, Aug 24, 1972; pg. 14; Issue 58561; col D
  5. The Times, Saturday, Jun 10, 1972; pg. 12; Issue 58501; col D
  6. The Times, Saturday, Aug 02, 1975; pg. 14; Issue 59464; col B
  7. Brian Crozier, Free Agent, (Harper Collins, 1993) p.167.
  8. Louis Le Bailly, ‘Socialists subvert traditional safeguards’, Western Morning News (Plymouth), 27 June 2007
  9. Notification of Change in Director or Secretary or in their Particulars, filed at Companies House in February 1977; The Times, Saturday, Aug 02, 1975; pg. 14; Issue 59464; col B
  10. ‘LE BAILLY, Vice-Adm. Sir Louis (Edward Stewart Holland)’, Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007
  11. Robin Lustig, ‘Books: How I Won the Cold War for the West’, The Observer, 25 July 1993
  12. Rose Wild, ‘From Our Own Correspondents’, The Times, 12 August 1995
  13. Louis Le Bailly, ‘Letters to the Editor: TV Reporting of Falklands News’, The Times, 10 May 1982; pg. 9; Issue 61229; col D
  14. Louis Le Bailly, ‘Socialists subvert traditional safeguards’, Western Morning News, 27 June 2007
  15. An officer and gentleman Cornish Guardian, September 1, 2005, Pg. 41