Leon B. Poullada

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Leon B. Poullada
2nd United States Ambassador to Togo
In office
April 18, 1961 – February 24, 1964
President John F. Kennedy
Preceded by Leland Barrows
Succeeded by William Witman II
Personal details
Born April 13, 1913
Died July 17, 1987 (aged 74)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Spouse(s) Leila Jackson Poullada
Children Peter, Philip, Sofia
Profession Diplomat

Leon B. Poullada (13 April 1913 – 17 July 1987) was an American diplomat, the son of a Mexican immigrant doctor, and served as an Ambassador to Togo under the Kennedy Administration. He died of prostate cancer in 1987.

Poullada was a career Foreign Service officer who served as the United States Ambassador to Togo during the Kennedy Administration and specialized in Afghan history. He died of cancer at his home in St. Paul, Minnesota at age 74. In his 17-year diplomatic career, Poullada served in Ceylon, Pakistan and Afghanistan before President Kennedy nominated him as Ambassador to the nation of Togo in 1961. In 1963, during Poullada's posting, Togo's President, Sylvanus Olympio, was assassinated at the United States Embassy gates.

After retiring in 1965 from the Foreign Service, Poullada began studies at Princeton University for a doctorate in political science. His dissertation, titled "Reform and Rebellion in Afghanistan, 1919-1929", a study of Afghan history between 1919 and 1929, was published in 1972 by Cornell University Press. The book is a case history analysis of King Amanullah of Afghanistan's failure to modernize a Tribal Society.

At the end of World War Two, Major Poullada participated as Legal Counsel at the Nuremberg Trials.

Poullada taught political science at the Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff and lectured around the country on Afghanistan and United States diplomacy. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, he helped organize efforts to aid the Afghan guerrillas.[1]

He married his wife, Leila Jackson Poullada, and had two sons, Peter Poullada of Istanbul, Turkey, and Philip Poullada of Port Washington, New York, as well as a daughter, Sofia Poullada of Saratoga, California, a granddaughter, Roxana Safipour, and a grandson, Noveed Safipour.


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Leland Barrows
United States Ambassador to Togo
Succeeded by
William Witman II