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(Niels Carl) Gustav (Magnus) Rasmussen
(August 10, 1895 - September 13, 1953) Denmark

Gustav Rasmussen

Diplomat

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After graduating in law, Rasmussen in 1921 entered the Danish foreign service. His career was brilliant. As an advocate for Denmark at the International Tribunal in The Hague, Rasmussen played a decisive role in the Danish-Norwegian dispute over Greenland. During WWII he was deputy to the Danish minister in London. When the Danish legation in London, in 1941, declared itself independent of the government of Denmark (under German occupation), Rasmussen was dismissed from the foreign service.

After the war he was reinstated and although he had no experience or background in party politics, he was appointed foreign minister. The prime minister, Knud Kristensen, is said to have been surprised and disgusted when told that Rasmussen was a practicing homosexual and that he lived with his chauffeur.

Gustav RasmussenWhen the Permanent Under-Secretary of State had to resign in 1948 because of a scandal, Rasmussen appointed his close friend, Jens Rudolph Dahl, at his place. Dahl was a homosexual and two years later he too had to resign after having made homosocial advances to a young diplomat.

After the fall of the Social Semocratic fovernment in 1950, Rasmussen was appointed ambassador in Rome. Dahl also settled in Rome and took up a career as a newspaper commentator. Although it was widely known that Rasmussen was a homosexual, the general public was not aware of it. However in December 1950 Rasmussen was attacked in a provincial newspaper for having appointed Dahl.

That the Foreign Ministry during the post-war years was led by homosexual civil servants may in the longer perspective have contributed to the relaxed attitude towards homosexual personnel which has since characterised the Danish foreign service.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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