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Rodger Davies

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Rodger Paul Davies
United States Ambassador to Cyprus
In office
July 10, 1974 – August 19, 1974
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byRobert J. McCloskey
Succeeded byWilliam R. Crawford Jr.
Personal details
Born(1921-05-07)May 7, 1921
Berkeley, California
DiedAugust 19, 1974(1974-08-19) (aged 53)
Nicosia, Cyprus
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Princeton University
ProfessionDiplomat, soldier

Rodger Paul Davies (May 7, 1921 – August 19, 1974) was an American diplomat born in Berkeley, California, who was killed in the line of duty on August 19, 1974, in Nicosia, Cyprus, allegedly by Greek Cypriot gunmen during an anti-American demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, sparked by the U.S's failure to stop the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

He studied Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the U.S. Army in World War II. He undertook intensive language training in Arabic under Philip Khuri Hitti at Princeton University as part of the Army Specialized Training Program, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and then was deployed to the Middle East. He joined the state department after WWII.


Davies was an American diplomat whose roles included director of the United States Department of State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs until October 1965. Then until 1970 he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. After Davies's death, President Ford appointed William R. Crawford Jr., as his successor.[1]

Davies had been serving as the United States Ambassador to Cyprus since May 1973. It is alleged he was killed by Greek Cypriot gunmen during an anti-American demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia,[2] where an estimated 300–600 Greek Cypriots were "demonstrating against the U.S.’s failure" to stop the Turkish invasion of Cyprus,[3] which they perceived as the United States siding with Turkey.[4]


Davies and Antoinette Varnavas, an embassy secretary and a Greek Cypriot national,[5] were killed by sniper fire from a nearby building, believed to be gunmen from EOKA-B, a Greek Cypriot nationalist paramilitary organization although this was never proven.[4][6] Afterwards, the U.S. government "immediately" sent his replacement, Ambassador to Yemen William R. Crawford Jr., in order to demonstrate that "it was not blaming Greek-Cypriot authorities for the murder".[7]

Personal life[edit]

Davies was born in Berkeley, California, on May 7, 1921 to John Leslie Davies and Catherine Paul Davies.[8][9] He had an older brother, John Arthur Davies, and a younger sister, Catherine Davies Frakes. He studied Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, before joining the U.S. Army in World War II. He was married to Sarah Burgess. She died in 1973, the year before he was killed. They had a daughter, Dana, and a son, John, who were 20 and 15 years old, respectively at the time of Davies's death.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b August 22, 1974, "Ford and Kissinger in Tribute to Slain Cyprus Envoy", New York Times
  2. ^ "U.S. ambassador killed on Cyprus". Boca Raton News. Nicosia. 19 August 1974.
  3. ^ Nick Carbone (September 12, 2012). "Before Libya: U.S. Ambassadors Who Have Died in the Line of Duty". Time.
  4. ^ a b The Associated Press (20 August 1974). "Arrest warrants are issued in slaying of U.S. diplomat". The Free Lance-Star. Vol. 90, no. 196. Fredericksburg, Virginia. Page 1, columns 1-3; page 12, columns 3-4. Retrieved 1 November 2023 – via Google News.
  5. ^ Giniger, Henry (20 August 1974). "U.S. AMBASSADOR IS SLAIN AS GREEK CYPRIOTES RIOT; ATHENS RECASTS MILITARY WOMAN AIDE DIES; Bullets From Outside Penetrate Besieged Nicosia Embassy". The New York Times. Page 1, columns 5-8. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  6. ^ Giniger, Henry (21 August 1974). "Cyprus Arrest Warrants Issued for Three in Slaying of U.S. Envoy". The New York Times. Page 3, columns 1-8. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  7. ^ "Cyprus: Looking for Paradise Lost". Time. September 2, 1974.
  8. ^ http://us-census.mooseroots.com/d/b/Rodger-Davies [dead link]
  9. ^ "Davies Viewed as 'Real Professional'". nytimes.com. 20 August 1974.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Ambassador to Cyprus
Succeeded by