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John R. Davis, Jr. '45

John R. Davis, Jr. '45, was Ambassador to Poland from 1988-90 and Ambassador to Romania from 1992-94. A career Foreign Service Officer, Davis served in the US Navy from 1945-46. He attended UCLA for his BA and did graduate work at UC Berkley and Harvard for his MPA. He entered the Foreign Service in 1955 and specialized in Eastern Europe. Davis had two 3-year tours in Warsaw as well as assignments in Djakarta, Rome, Milan, and Sydney, Australia.

Following the declaration of martial law in Poland in 1981, bilateral relations deteriorated to the point that the Poles refused to accept a new US Ambassador. Davis went to Warsaw for the third time to run the Embassy as Charge d'Affaires in 1983 and stayed for seven years, being elevated to the rank of Ambassador in 1988 as relations gradually improved. He strongly supported Solidarity and, together with Church leaders, gradually persuaded the Communist regime to open negotiations with the Solidarity dissidents. The Polish roundtable led to free elections in June 1989 and in August, to the installation of the first non-communist government in Eastern Europe for 40 years.

Davis left Poland in 1990 and received the Department of State's Distinguished Honor Award. In 1991-92 he was Diplomat in Residence at Yale University and, in 1992, was appointed Ambassador to Romania by President George H.W. Bush.

Davis came to Webb in 1943. He was a member of the Honor Committee, Editor of the Blue and Gold, and an active member of the Drama and Debating Clubs. He lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. Now retired, John and his wife Helen live in Charlottesville, Virginia and spend most summers in Norfolk, Connecticut. They have three children and nine grandchildren.
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