To the late, great, Bob Bee

Robert Bee, 1925-2017

We were sad to hear of the death of Bob Bee, 92, former Chairman of the Adam
Smith Institute. He was a US citizen, but moved to London in 1978 to become
chairman of the London Interstate Bank. As a fervent supporter of liberty and free
markets, he joined the board of the Adam Smith Institute and soon became its
Chairman. He used his extensive City contacts to bring the ASI to the attention of
big names in business and industry, and encouraged them to participate in our

It was under his chairmanship that the ASI rose to prominence as a leading
exponent of the market oriented policies that ultimately unpicked the Keynesian
postwar consensus and lifted Britain out of the nightmare of rent controls and
nationalized industries.

Like others in the ASI, he had a mischievous sense of humour and was an
unfailing optimist and enthusiast, seeing problems as opportunities. It was only
gradually that we came to know that he had fought as a teenage GI in the Battle
of the Bulge, winning a bronze star.

His previous career had included a stint in the foreign service of the US Treasury,
and in Wells Fargo’s International Division. Bob’s work in international finance
included posts in Ankara, Turkey, Bonn, Germany, and Karachi, Pakistan, where
he was Acting Director of the US Agency for International Development's

He took part enthusiastically in ASI activities, befriending its young staff. One of
their annual highlights was the dinner at his house, at which many different ice-
creams and sauces were served from a giant silver Indian dispenser originally
used for serving different spices. He accompanied ASI personnel to Downing
Street on several occasions as guests of the Prime Minister.

After he retired with wife, Dolores, to San Francisco, he continued his
association, and looked forward on regular visits to London to meeting the ASI’s
youngsters over lunch. He told us many times how privileged he felt that he had
been able to play a role in events that shaped history. We in turn were privileged
to have known him and to have benefitted from the massive help and support he

Authored and published by the contributors of the Adam Smith Institute which I support (and you should too) Charles Hugh Smith: