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Joseph Simpson Farland


Joseph Simpson Farland (‘36 BA, ‘38 JD)

Ambassador Joseph Simpson Farland received a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1936 and a doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1938 at West Virginia University. He completed postgraduate studies at Princeton and Stanford universities. Ambassador Farland launched his distinguished career in 1942 as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1944, he served as a Naval Liaison Officer with the Military Government Forces in Korea.

In 1957, Farland was appointed Ambassador to the Dominican Republic by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1960, he was designated the Ambassador to the Republic of Panama. Then in 1961, this designation was reaffirmed by President John F. Kennedy, who later appointed Ambassador Farland as his Special Commissioner for Interim Discussions concerning United States-Panama relations arising from the US-Panama Treaty of 1903. On the same day that the public became aware that there existed a deep schism between the Embassy and the Latin American section of the State Department on a major policy position affecting US-Panama relations, he was offered Foreign Service tenure.

He then became Of Counsel with the Washington law firm of Surrey and Morse and served as a consultant for Reader’s Digest. His talks with the people of Panama in the mid-1960s aided to diffuse the building anti-American sentiment over the Panama Canal Treaty’s inequities. Within three years he brought about rural transformation that inspired a new sense of hope and dignity to Panamanians. Ambassador Farland received high decorations from the government of the Dominican Republic, the Order of Duarte, Sanchez y Mella, and Panama, the Order of Vascos nunez de Balboa.

He returned to government service as Ambassador to Pakistan from 1969-1972, and Ambassador to Iran from 1972 to 1973. Farland then returned to the practice of private law.

Farland, a native of Clarksburg, W.Va., passed away in 2007 in Winchester, Va.