Frank Meehan

Biography of Frank Meehan

Frank Meehan
Frank Meehan

Francis Joseph Meehan graduated from the University MA 1945, was awarded an honorary degree in 1986. He was born on the 14th February 1924 in East Orange, New Jersey. The son of British parents, he returned to the UK with his mother in his early childhood and grew up in the Scottish ship-building town of Clydebank.

After completing his MA at the University of Glasgow in 1945, he was soon drafted into the US military due to his American citizenship. Upon completing two years of service in Allied-occupied Germany, Meehan began his career within the United States Foreign Service. Perhaps the most well-known incident of his diplomatic career took place in Berlin in 1962, in a well-publicized spy swap at the Glienicke Bridge in Berlin. During the swap, Meehan walked Frederic Pryor, an American student, from East to West Berlin. This historic moment was later dramatized by Steven Spielberg in the 2015 film Bridge of Spies.

In 1979 he was appointed as the United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, and later served as the United States Ambassador to Poland. His final posting was United States Ambassador to East Germany, serving from 16 September 1985 to 30 November 1988. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Glagsow in 1986.

Upon his retirement, Meehan and his wife Margaret returned to Scotland to live in Helensburgh. He died on the 7th May 2022.


Frank Meehan
Born 14 February 1924.
University Link: GU Degrees: MA, 1945; LLD, 1986;
Occupation categories: diplomats
Record last updated: 30th May 2022

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