John A. Scali

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John A. Scali
John Scali.jpg
11th United States Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
February 1973 – June 1975
President Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded by George H. W. Bush
Succeeded by Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Personal details
Born John Alfred Scali
April 27, 1918
Canton, Ohio
Died October 9, 1995(1995-10-09) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Republican
Profession Journalist

John Alfred Scali (April 27, 1918 – October 9, 1995) was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 1973 to 1975. From 1961 he was also a long time correspondent for ABC News.

As a correspondent for ABC, Scali became an intermediary during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later a part of the Nixon Administration. Scali gained fame after it became known in 1964 that in October 1962, a year after he joined ABC News, he had carried a critical message from KGB Colonel Aleksandr Fomin (the cover name for Alexander Feklisov) to U.S. officials. He left ABC in 1971 to serve as a foreign affairs adviser to President Nixon, becoming U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1973. Scali re-joined ABC in 1975 where he worked until retiring in 1993.

Scali was contacted by Soviet embassy official (and KGB Station Chief) Fomin about a proposed settlement to the crisis, and subsequently he acted as a contact between Fomin and the Executive Committee. However, it was without government direction that Scali responded to new Soviet conditions with a warning that a U.S. invasion was only hours away, prompting the Soviets to settle the crisis quickly.

This account is discounted, however, in the 2008 book by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs, "One Minute to Midnight." The review of this book (see the link below) by Richard Holbrooke states: "The Kennedy administration attached great importance to this connection, and spent much time drafting a message for Scali to give to Feklisov. But on the basis of extensive analysis and interviews, Dobbs believes that the so-called back channel was a self-generated effort by an ambitious spy to send some information to his bosses in Moscow, as well as self-promotion by an ambitious journalist, who parlayed his meetings with the K.G.B. agent into a public legend that eventually led to his becoming the American ambassador to the United Nations."


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
George H. W. Bush
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
1973 – 1975
Succeeded by
Daniel Patrick Moynihan