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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > Publications > Miscellaneous Publications > U.S. Postage Stamps Commemorate Distinguished American Diplomats

Robert D. Murphy

U.S. Postage Stamps Commemorate Distinguished American Diplomats

Robert D. MurphyRobert D. Murphy (1894-1978) held a series of prestigious and sensitive posts during a career that spanned nearly four decades. Regarded by colleagues as the consummate diplomat and a skilled troubleshooter, Murphy is especially remembered for his role in planning the Allied ground invasion of North Africa during World War II.

Murphy joined the Foreign Service in 1921 and served in various positions throughout western Europe prior to World War II. Beginning in 1941, as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s personal representative, he worked with the French to negotiate the terms of the Allied takeover of North Africa. During 1943 and 1944 he was political advisor to General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He attended the Potsdam Conference after the defeat of Germany in 1945, and he served as a political adviser in postwar Germany until 1949.

After World War II, Murphy served as ambassador to Belgium and became the first postwar American ambassador to Japan. During the 1950s, he played a vital role as a negotiator. He served as advisor to the general in charge of cease-fire talks in Korea, and in 1954 he helped defuse tensions between Yugoslavia and Italy. In 1959, Murphy served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

After his retirement from the Foreign Service in 1959, Murphy served on a number of intelligence and advisory committees. He was honored by the U.S. government with the Distinguished Service Medal and received honors from numerous foreign governments. He was also one of the first four diplomats to be named Career Ambassador.


Want to know more? Read about the other diplomats in this special commemorative series.


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