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"P" is for Peurifoy, John Emil [1907-1955]

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"P" is for Peurifoy, John Emil [1907-1955]. Diplomat. During World War II Peurifoy was a staff assistant in the Board of Economic Warfare and later was assigned to the staff supporting the  United Nations Conference in San Francisco. In July 1950 President Truman named him Ambassador to Greece where he promoted American interests and gained a reputation for being a dedicated "Cold Warrior." In 1953 President Eisenhower appointed him Ambassador to Guatemala where, with the assistance of the CIA, he organized the overthrow of a government deemed hostile to American interests. A year later he became Ambassador to Thailand. His arrival in Bangkok coincided with America’s growing interests in Southeast Asia. John Emil Peurifoy's death in an automobile wreck was ruled an accident but rumors persisted that he was the victim of a Cold War assassination.

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Wade Goodwyn is an NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.