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Walter John Stoessel Jr.


In office
February 11, 1982 – September 22, 1982
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by William P. Clark, Jr.
Succeeded by Kenneth W. Dam

Born January 24, 1920(1920-01-24)
Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.
Died December 9, 1986
Profession Diplomat

In office
1968–1972

In office
1974–1976
President Gerald Ford
Preceded by Jacob D. Beam
Succeeded by Malcolm Toon

In office
1976–1980

Born January 24, 1920
Manhattan, Kansas
Died December 9, 1986
Alma mater Stanford University
Columbia University

Walter John Stoessel Jr. (January 24, 1920 – December 9, 1986) was a U.S. diplomat.

Stoessel was born in Manhattan, Kansas, but attended high school in California. He graduated from Stanford University in 1941 and later undertook graduate studies at Columbia University.

Stoessel served as the U.S. ambassador to Poland from 1968 to 1972, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Geographic Areas for European and Canadian Affairs from 1972 to 1974, the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union between 1974 and 1976, and the ambassador to West Germany from 1976 through 1980. During his term as ambassador to Poland, Stoessel initiated contact with China and hosted talks on behalf of the United States, directly opening the door for President Richard Nixon's famous visit to China. While ambassador to West Germany, Stoessel headed the delegation greeting the U.S. hostages released by Iran in 1980 when they deplaned.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Stoessel as the United States Deputy Secretary of State. During his term he served briefly as acting Secretary of State between the tenures of Alexander M. Haig and George P. Schultz.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The U.S. Department of State awards a Walter J. Stoessel Award for Distinguished Diplomatic Service in his honor.

Political offices
Preceded by
William P. Clark, Jr.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
1982
Succeeded by
Kenneth W. Dam
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