Alabama Academy of Honor


Armistead Inge Selden, Jr.

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1978.



Armistead Inge Selden, Jr., former United States Ambassador to New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa, was born in Greensboro, Alabama, February 20, 1921, son of banker and planter Armistead Inge Selden, Sr., and Edith Manson Cobbs. Selden attended the University of the South, Sewanee, and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree, 1942. While a student at Sewanee he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Blue Key, leadership fraternities.

Selden was a combat Navy veteran of World War II. He served from 1942 to 1946, and was discharged with the rank of lieutenant. At the time of his induction into the Academy he was a Captain, United States Naval Reserve, Retired.

After the war, he practiced law in Greensboro, Alabama, and served as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives from 1951 to 1952 when he was elected to the 83rd Congress. He was elected to the seven succeeding Congresses, serving from 1953 to 1969. While serving as one of Alabama's representatives in Congress, he was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,1955-1969, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs,1959-1969.

From 1969 to 1970, Selden practiced law in Washington, D. C., and in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was named principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in 1970, and served until 1972, when once again he entered private law practice in Washington and Tuscaloosa. On March 8,1974, Armistead Selden was appointed United States Ambassador to New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, and Western Samoa.

He represented the United States Congress on numerous occasions, among those being the inaugurations of Presidents of El Salvador in 1956, Mexico in 1964, and Nicaragua in 1967; NATO Parliamentarian Conferences at Paris, 1957-1958-1959; Conference of Foreign Ministers at Punta del Este, 1962; heads of state meeting at San Jose, Costa Rico,1963; the Inter-American Ecomonic and Social Council in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1963, in Lima, Peru, 1964, and in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1965. He attended with the Secretary of Defense the annual Republic of Korea-United States Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul, Korea, July 1971. Selden was a member of the United States delegation to the 24th Anzus Council Meeting at Washington, D. C., May 1975, and to the 25th Anzus Council Meeting at Canberra, Australia, August 1976.

Honors and awards bestowed upon him for his distinguished career in public service include membership and the Special Order of Law and Culture for Inter-American service for the Mexican Academy of International Law,1963; member, Corregidor-Bataan Memorial Commission; special commendation by President of the Philippines, June 1968; Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Award, December 1972; and honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alabama, 1975.

Selden was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rotary, and the Episcopal Church.

He is married to the former Mary Jane Wright and they have five children: Martee Graham Selden (Mrs. James Hewitt), Armistead Inge Selden, III, Jack Wright Selden, Edith Cobbs Selden, and Thomas Lawson Selden. Selden is now deceased.