Joseph S. Farland; Ambassador to 4 Nations

As U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Joseph S. Farland greets tribal chiefs from the Suleman and Shandur ranges in the rugged northwest frontier. He also served as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Panama and Iran.
As U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Joseph S. Farland greets tribal chiefs from the Suleman and Shandur ranges in the rugged northwest frontier. He also served as ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Panama and Iran. (The Washington Post)
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Joseph Simpson Farland, 92, a former ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Panama, Pakistan and Iran, died Jan. 28 from complications of a stroke he suffered last year. A former resident of the District, he was at Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury, a retirement community in Winchester, at the time of his death.

Serving as ambassador to Pakistan from 1969 to 1972, he helped orchestrate then-National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger's secret trip to China in 1971 to prepare for President Richard M. Nixon's historic visit the next year.

Mr. Farland was born in Clarksburg, W.Va., and grew up in Clarksburg and Punxsutawney, Pa. He received an undergraduate degree in political science in 1936 and a law degree in 1938, both from West Virginia University. He also did postgraduate work at Princeton University and Stanford University.

He began his federal service in 1942 as a special agent with the FBI, then became a Navy officer in 1944. His wartime duties included training in Near East strategy and politics and learning Japanese. He completed his military duties as naval liaison officer with the Military Government Forces in Korea.

Returning to law practice in 1946, he specialized in banking, corporate industrial development of natural resources and taxation law. He was president of Farland Fuel Co., Farland Coal Corp. and Christopher Fuel Corp., which operated coal properties in northern West Virginia and western Maryland.

In 1952, Mr. Farland was named a consultant and then deputy director of the United States Mutual Security Program with the State Department. He was appointed ambassador to the Dominican Republic in 1957 and to the Republic of Panama in 1960. President John F. Kennedy named him special commissioner for interim discussions concerning U.S.-Panama relations.

Leaving the Foreign Service in 1963, he became a counsel with the Washington law firm of Surrey and Morse and occasionally consulted for Reader's Digest on Latin American affairs.

He returned to government service as ambassador to Pakistan and then served as ambassador to Iran in 1972 and 1973. He was appointed ambassador-designate to New Zealand but declined the posting and returned to private law practice.

He was a member of the research council and the executive committee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University, a director of West Virginia University Foundation and a trustee of Shenandoah University. He also was a founding member of the Council of American Ambassadors and a member of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

His wife, Virginia Christopher Farland, died in 1978.

Survivors include four children, Brooke Randolph Farland of St. Simons Island, Ga., Page Farland Craw of Natchez, Miss., Richard Ashville Farland of Berryville, Va., and Christopher Simpson Farland of Wilmington, N.C.; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.


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