William James Porter

William James Porter

Birth
Stalybridge, Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, Greater Manchester, England
Death 15 Mar 1988 (aged 73)
Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Section: Veterans Lot; Lot: 229
Memorial ID 98049541 · View Source
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William J. Porter was born in Stalybridge, England on September 1, 1914, the son of a Royal Navy officer who died during World War I.
After his father's death, his mother moved to Fall River, Massachusetts to join relatives. He took a secretarial course at the Thibodeau College of Business Administration in Fall River 1930-32. Porter became a naturalized American citizen in 1936.

After a chance meeting with United States Minister to Hungary John Flournoy Montgomery, Montgomery invited Porter to come with him to Budapest as his private secretary in 1936. The next year, 1937, Porter joined the United States Foreign Service. As a Foreign Service Officer, Porter served in Baghdad 1937-41; Beirut 1941-43; and Damascus 1943-46.

While serving in Syria, he met and married Eleanore Henry, an United States Army nurse from Philadelphia, who was posted in Cairo. He spent 1946-47 at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C. as Palestine Desk Officer. He returned to the field in Nicosia 1947-50. In 1951, he was special assistant to the Chief of Voice of America, and then spent 1951-53 as Officer-in-Charge of Greek Affairs at the State Department. Porter spent 1953-57 at the American Embassy in Rabat; there, he was a first-hand witness to Moroccan independence in 1956. He was then the Director of the State Department's Office of North African Affairs from 1957 to 1961, and then Director of Voice of America 1961-62. In 1962, President of the United States John F. Kennedy appointed Porter as the first-ever United States Ambassador to Algeria in the wake of Algerian independence. He showed such skill in handling both French and Algerian officials that United States Ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. asked that Porter be assigned to Saigon. He served as Deputy Ambassador to South Vietnam from 1965 to 1967.

In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Porter United States Ambassador to South Korea and Porter held this post until 1971. In 1971, President Richard Nixon selected Porter to replace David K. E. Bruce as head of the U.S. delegation at the Paris Peace Talks. Before those talks were ended, in 1973, Nixon named Porter Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, with Porter holding this office from February 2, 1973 until February 18, 1974. Nixon then named Porter United States Ambassador to Canada, with Porter filling this post from March 13, 1974 until December 16, 1975. President Gerald Ford then selected Porter as United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Porter presented his credentials on February 21, 1976 and left this post on May 27, 1977.

Porter retired to Westport Point, Massachusetts in 1977. He died of cancer at the Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Home in Fall River, Massachusetts on March 15, 1988.


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  • Created by: Scout
  • Added: 1 Oct 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 98049541
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William James Porter (1 Sep 1914–15 Mar 1988), Find A Grave Memorial no. 98049541, citing Beech Grove Cemetery, Westport, Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Scout (contributor 47319613) .