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Joseph Palmer II, Former U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Dies

August 16, 1994

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) _ Joseph Palmer II, a former U.S. ambassador to Libya and assistant secretary of state for African affairs, died of complications of a stroke, his family said Tuesday. He was 80.

Palmer died at his Bethesda home on Monday. During his 33-year foreign service career, Palmer focused on the newly independent countries of Africa and the democratic trends sweeping the continent in the 1960s.

Palmer became ambassador to Libya five weeks after the military coup that brought Col. Moammar Gadhafi to power. He oversaw an orderly six-month withdrawal of personnel and dependents at Wheelus Air Force Base, his family said.

While serving as assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 1966 to 1969, Palmer became involved in the formulation and implementation of U.S. policies in Africa involving the Nigerian civil war, the rebellion in the Congo, and the independence of Rhodesia, which now is Zimbabwe.

He was honored with the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award and was editorial board chairman of the American Foreign Service Journal.

Palmer, a native of Detroit, was raised in Boston. He graduated from Harvard University in 1937 and attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service from 1937 to 1938.

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