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Former Chief U.S. Delegate To Vietnam Peace Talks Dies

March 17, 1988

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) _ William J. Porter, the chief U.S. delegate to the Paris peace talks that ended the Vietnam War, has died of cancer. He was 73.

Porter, who had served in many diplomatic posts, died Tuesday at a nursing home.

A native of Staleybridge, England, he became a U.S. citizen in 1936 when he was 22. He began his foreign service that year as private secretary to the U.S. ambassador in Budapest.

From 1962 to 1965, Porter served as the first U.S. ambassador to Algeria. He later served as deputy ambassador to South Vietnam, ambassador to South Korea, undersecretary of state for political affairs and ambassador to Canada. He retired in 1977 as ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

In July 1971, President Nixon named Porter chief delegate to the Paris talks to succeed David K.E. Bruce, who was retiring because of illness.

Porter and his mother immigrated to Fall River from England after his father, a Royal Navy officer, was killed in World War I.

Before becoming ambassador to Algeria, he had served as a diplomatic aide in Iraq, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Cyprus and Morocco, and as political adviser to the chief of Voice of America and director of the State Department’s office of North African affairs.

In 1941, he was credited with rescuing three American missionary couples who were trapped in their homes in Baghdad during two days of rioting in which Iraqis killed more than 500 Jews.

He married Eleanore Henry, an Army nurse from Philadelphia, while in Syria in 1944.

Survivors include his wife, a son and a daughter.

A funeral Mass is to be said Friday at St. John the Baptist Church in Westport.

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