Francis Joseph Meehan

Biography of Francis Joseph Meehan

Francis Joseph Meehan graduated from the University MA 1945, was awarded an honorary degree in 1986. He was born on the 14 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, he was soon drafted into the US military due to his American citizenship. Upon completing two years of service, 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. Upon his retirement, Meehan and his wife returned to Scotland to live in Helensburgh.


Francis Joseph Meehan
Born 14 February 1924.
University Link: GU Degrees: MA, 1945; LLD, 1986;
Occupation categories: diplomats
Record last updated: 27th Apr 2017

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