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William John Jorden Edit Profile

diplomat , journalist

William John Jorden, American Writer, retired diplomat. Shared Pulitzer prize for international correspondent, 1958; Recipient Distinguished Honor award Department State, 1978; Pulitzer traveling fellow, 1948-1949; Council Foreign Relations fellow, 1955-1956; Decorated order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa (Republic of Panama). Served with Army of the United States, 1943-1945. Member Council Foreign Rels., Academy Political Science, Author's Guild.


Jorden, William John was born on May 3, 1923 in Bridger, Montana, United States. Son of Hugh G. and Jane Ann (Temple) Jorden.


Jorden studied at Yale University, receiving a bachelor's degree in international relations in 1947.


His university studies were punctuated by service in the Army during World War II, during which he learned Japanese at Yale and the University of Michigan. He received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1948. On completion of his studies, he worked for the New York Herald Tribune, the Associated Press and, from 1952, The New York Times.

He covered the Far East for the early part of his journalism career, including assignments in Japan and Korea. Later, he was Moscow bureau chief for The Times. In 1961, two years after returning to Washington, he left The Times to join the State Department.

By the mid-1960s, he was involved in the State Department's Vietnam policy. After a series of diplomatic and national security positions (as well as taking time from government to assist president Lyndon B Johnson with his memoirs), he was appointed by president Richard M Nixon to the position of ambassador to Panama in 1974, where he played an instrumental role in negotiating the Torrijos-Carter Treaties that returned ownership of the Panama Canal to Panama. As outgoing ambassador in 1978, he was sent to garner regional support for mediation regarding the Nicaraguan political crisis of the Somoza regime, successfully convincing Somoza to accept mediation.

After government service, Jorden served as scholar in residence at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library. In 1984, he published "Panama Odyssey", a comprehensive study of the Panama Canal Treaty negotiations, to wide critical acclaim. He was consulted as an expert commentator by several news organizations prior to and following the United States invasion of Panama.


  • He was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1958.


Served with Army of the United States, 1943-1945. Member Council Foreign Relations, Academy Political Science, Author's Guild. Clubs: Yale of Washington, Foreign Corrs.

Japan (president 1952-1953).


Married Eleanor Harz, 1944 (divorced). Children: William Temple, Eleanor Harz, Marion Telva. Married V. Mildred Xiarhos, 1972.

Hugh G. Jorden

Jane Ann (Temple) Jorden

Eleanor Harz

V. Mildred Xiarhos

William Temple Jorden

Eleanor Harz Jorden

Marion Telva Jorden