Donald Maitland was born 16 August 1922, the son of Thomas Douglas Maitland and Wilhelmina Sarah Dundas; he was educated at George Watson's College and Edinburgh University (MA). In 1950 he married Jean Marie Young, daughter of Gordon Young.
During and after the war, Maitland served in India, the Middle East, and Burma, 1941-47, with the Royal Scots and Rajputana Rifles. He joined the Foreign Service in 1947, and his diplomatic career consisted of: Consul, Amara, 1950; British Embassy, Baghdad [Iraq], 1950-53; Private Secretary to Minister of State, Foreign Office, 1954-56; Director, Middle East Centre for Arab Studies, Lebanon, 1956-60; Foreign Office, 1960-63; Counsellor, British Embassy, Cairo [Egypt], 1963-65; Head of News Department, Foreign Office, 1965-67; Principal Private Secretary to Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, 1967-69; Ambassador to Libya, 1969-70; Chief Press Secretary, 10 Downing Street, 1970-73; UK Permanent Representative to United Nations, 1973-74; Deputy Under-Secretary of State, FCO, 1974-75; UK Member, Commonwealth Group on Trade, Aid and Development, 1975; Ambassador and UK Permanent Representative to EEC, 1975-79; Deputy to Permanent Under-Secretary of State, FCO, December 1979-June 1980; Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy, 1980-82.
He was awarded the GCMG in 1977 (CMG 1967); was knighted in 1973; was awarded the OBE in 1960. Sir Donald Maitland died on 22 August 2010.