Richard W. Murphy

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Richard W. Murphy at Clark Air Base in 1979.

Richard William Murphy (born July 29, 1929) is an American diplomat and career member of the foreign service.


Early life

Richard William Murphy was born on July 29, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1947, he received BAs from Harvard University in 1951 and from Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge in 1953. From 1953 to 1955, he served in the U.S. Army.


He started his career in the United States Foreign Service as Vice Consul in Salisbury, Rhodesia (1955–58). From 1959 to 1971, he worked for the Middle Eastern Bureau. He was the United States ambassador to Mauritania from 1971 to 1974, to Syria from 1974 to 78, to the Philippines from 1978 to 1981, and to Saudi Arabia from 1981 to 1983. He served as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs from 1983 to 1989.

From October 1, 1993 to June 30, 2004 he served as director of the Middle East Roundtable at the Council on Foreign Relations. He currently serves on the board of directors of UNRWA USA, a Washington-DC based 501c3 nonprofit which aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA's work.

He is a two-time recipient of the State Department's Superior Honor Award, and a three-time recipient of the President's Distinguished Service Award.[1]

Personal life

He is married to Anne Cook and has three children, and seven grandchildren.


  1. ^ "Richard W. Murphy | Middle East Institute". Retrieved 2019-02-28.

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Hugh H. Smythe
U.S. Ambassador to Syria
Succeeded by
Talcott W. Seelye
Preceded by
David D. Newsom
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
Succeeded by
Michael Armacost
Preceded by
Robert G. Neumann
United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Succeeded by
Walter Leon Cutler
Government offices
Preceded by
Nicholas A. Veliotes
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
October 28, 1983 – May 15, 1989
Succeeded by
John Hubert Kelly
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