Ambassador 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.
Ambassador 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, where an estimated 300–600 Greek Cypriots were "demonstrating against the U.S.’s failure" to stop the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, which they perceived as the United States siding with Turkey.
Davies and Antoinette Varnavas, an embassy secretary and a Greek Cypriot national, were killed by sniper fire from a nearby building, believed to be gunmen from EOKA-B, a Greek Cypriot paramilitary terrorist organization whose goal was to unite Cyprus with Greece. 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".
Davies was born in Berkeley, California, on May 7, 1921 to John Leslie Davies and Catherine Paul Davies. 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 US Army in World War II. He undertook intensive language training in Arabic at Princeton University and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and then was deployed to the Middle East. He joined the State Department after World War II. 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.
- Cleo A. Noel, Jr., the previous U.S. ambassador to die in the line of duty
- Francis E. Meloy, Jr., the next U.S. ambassador to die in the line of duty
- US ambassadors killed in the line of duty
- August 22, 1974, "Ford and Kissinger in Tribute to Slain Cyprus Envoy", New York Times
- "U.S. ambassador killed on Cyprus". Boca Raton News (Nicosia). 19 August 1974.
- Nick Carbone (September 12, 2012). "Before Libya: U.S. Ambassadors Who Have Died in the Line of Duty". Time.
- "Arrest Warrants Are Issued in Slaying of U.S. Diplomat". The Free Lance-Star. August 20, 1974.
- August 20, 1974, "Woman Aide Dies; Bullets From Outside Penetrate Besieged Nicosia Embassy", New York Times
- August 21, 1974, Cyprus Arrest Warrants Issued for Three in Slaying of U.S. Envoy, The New York Times
- "Cyprus: Looking for Paradise Lost". Time. September 2, 1974.