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Davies (Richard T.) papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Richard T. Davies papers
    Date (inclusive): 1952-2004
    Collection Number: 2006C16
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 17 manuscript boxes (6.8 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Speeches and writings, interview transcripts, correspondence, printed matter, and photographs, relating to American foreign policy and especially to relations between the United States and Poland.
    Creator: Davies, Richard T. (Richard Townsend), 1920-2005
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 2005.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Richard T. Davies Papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Richard T. Davies was U.S. ambassador to Poland from 1973 to 1978. Davies, who joined the Foreign Service in 1947, spent his first two years in Poland as a consular and political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. His later assignments included counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, director of the U.S. Information Agency for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs from 1970 to 1972.
    During his five years as ambassador to Poland, Davies worked on trade issues and helped arrange state visits by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. He also met frequently with members of the nascent democratic opposition movement against the communist-led Polish government, as well as with Catholic cardinals Stefan Wyszynski and Karol Wojtyla. The special relationship with Cardinal Wojtyla of Cracow, the future pope John Paul II, that Ambassador Davies helped establish turned out to be particularly valuable for the United States in the waning years of the cold war, during President Reagan's showdown with the Soviets. Ambassador Davies's tenure in Warsaw also coincided with a successful penetration of Soviet defenses by U.S. intelligence, the result of the services rendered the United States, the West, and NATO by Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski, who during 1972-81 turned over to the Central Intelligence Agency some 30,000 Soviet documents containing the plans of the Warsaw Pact for the invasion of Western Europe and, in 1980-1981, its plans for the invasion of Poland to suppress Solidarity. Richard Davies retired as director of the State Department's human intelligence office in Washington in 1980.
    After retirement, Ambassador Davies chaired the Solidarity Endowment, a U.S. group supporting the Polish workers' movement. From 1990 to 1998, he participated in Partners for Democratic Change, an international organization founded to foster civil societies and institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. He also contributed frequently to op-ed pages. Davies died in Washington in 2005.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Richard T. Davies Papers contain speeches and writings, interview transcripts, correspondence, printed matter, and photographs, relating to American foreign policy and especially to relations between the United States and Poland.
    Included among the papers is an extensive transcript of an oral history interview that covers Davies' entire Foreign Service career. The papers also document Colonel Ryszard Kuklinski's achievements and Davies' efforts to assist him after his escape to the United States. Kuklinski turned thousands of critical Soviet documents over to the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    United States -- Foreign relations -- Poland
    Poland -- Foreign relations -- United States
    United States -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1989
    Diplomats -- United States
    United States -- Foreign relations -- 1989-
    United States. Department of State