Rodger Davies

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Rodger Paul Davies
United States Ambassador to Cyprus
In office
1973 – August 19, 1974
PresidentRichard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded byRobert J. McCloskey
Succeeded byWilliam R. Crawford Jr.
Personal details
BornMay 7, 1921
Berkeley, California
DiedAugust 19, 1974(1974-08-19) (aged 53)
Nicosia, Cyprus
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Princeton University

Rodger Paul Davies (May 7, 1921 – August 19, 1974) was an American diplomat who was killed in the line of duty on August 19, 1974, in Nicosia, Cyprus.


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 whose goal was to unite Cyprus with Greece.[4][6] Afterwards, the U.S. government "immediately" sent his replacement, Ambassador to Yemen William R. Crawford, 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[8] to John Leslie Davies and Catherine Paul Davies.[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 undertook intensive language training in Arabic under Philip Khuri Hitti at Princeton University as part of the Army Specialized Training Program, promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and then was deployed to the Middle East.[10][11] He joined the State Department after World War II.[12] He then married Sarah Burgess, but she died 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][1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 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 "Arrest Warrants Are Issued in Slaying of U.S. Diplomat". The Free Lance-Star. August 20, 1974.
  5. ^ August 20, 1974, "Woman Aide Dies; Bullets From Outside Penetrate Besieged Nicosia Embassy", New York Times
  6. ^ August 21, 1974, Cyprus Arrest Warrants Issued for Three in Slaying of U.S. Envoy, The New York Times
  7. ^ "Cyprus: Looking for Paradise Lost". Time. September 2, 1974.
  8. ^ "Rodger P. Davies".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Saudi Aramco World: A Talk With Philip Hitti".
  11. ^ "Jones - ASTP: Foreign Service Gateway".
  12. ^ "The Dispatch - Google News Archive Search".

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Robert J. McCloskey
United States Ambassador to Cyprus
Succeeded by
William R. Crawford Jr.