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U. Alexis Johnson
Born 1908
Falun, Kansas
Died 1997
Raleigh, North Carolina

Ural Alexis Johnson (October 17, 1908 – March 24, 1997) was a United States diplomat, born in Falun, Kansas.

He graduated Occidental College in 1931 and entered the Foreign Service in 1935. After serving in Tokyo, Seoul, Mukden (now Shenyang, where he was interned at the start of World War II), and Rio de Janeiro, he was assigned as Consul and later Consul General at Yokohama, Japan from 1945 to 1949. From 1949 to 1953 he served in various positions in the Department of State's Far East Bureau, mainly concerned with Japan and Korea, rising to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State with responsibilities for the entire bureau."[1] He played a role in the ceasefire in the Korean War. He was ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1953 to 1958, Thailand from 1958 to 1961, and to Japan from 1966 to 1969. While Ambassador to Czechoslovakia he represented the United States in a long series of meetings in Geneva with the Chinese Communists, in the absence of diplomatic relations these were the principal point of contact between the two governments.

He was Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs and in the Excomm from 1961 to 1964. From 1964 to 1965 he was Deputy Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam. In 1965 he returned to the position of Deputy Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 1965 to 1966. He also served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 1969 to 1973. He was chief United States delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks from 1973 until retirement in 1977. His memoir The Right Hand of Power was published in 1984.

As Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the U.S. State Department, Johnson was involved in the Apollo 11 lunar landing ceremonial activities. He suggested that a plaque be placed on the surface of the Moon. After several changes in a high level committee it stated, "we came in peace for all mankind." Johnson was also sensitive to the idea of raising a U.S. flag on the surface of the Moon, as it might symbolize territorial acquisition. Later, the Congress decided that a U.S. flag would be placed on the Moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

He died in 1997 from pneumonia.


  1. ^ National Archives Record Group 59 General Records of the Department of State; ARC Identifer 2092768


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