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About Walter John Stoessel, Jr.
Walter John Stoessel, Jr. (January 24, 1920 – December 9, 1986) was a U.S. diplomat.
Life and career
Stoessel was born in Manhattan, Kansas, the son of Katherine (Haston) and Walter John Stoessel, Sr., and attended high school in California. Paternal side of his family had migrated to US from Western Germany in the middle of 19th century. He graduated from Stanford University in 1941 and later undertook graduate studies at Columbia University.
A career officer of the United States Foreign Service, Stoessel served as the U.S. ambassador to Poland from 1968 to 1972, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State 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. In 1981, while ambassador to West Germany, he joined the delegation, with Walter Mondale, greeting the U.S. hostages released by Iran 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 died in Washington, D.C. and 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.