- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Arthur J. Dommen, a former correspondent for United Press International and the Los Angeles Times, died of cancer Dec. 15 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District. He was 71.

Born in Mexico City to a Swiss father and English mother, Mr. Dommen graduated from Cornell University in 1955.

After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he became a correspondent for UPI and worked in India, Japan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1958.

After a year on an Edward R. Murrow fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Mr. Dommen joined the Los Angeles Times in 1965 as a correspondent based in Tokyo.

He covered the Paris peace talks on ending the Vietnam War and covered the war as the Times’ Saigon bureau chief.

Mr. Dommen broke off his coverage of the Vietnam War in 1971 and returned to the United States to obtain his doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Maryland.

He received his degree in 1975 and joined the Department of Agriculture as an economist, focusing on underdeveloped regions.

As the department’s editor for the World Agriculture Situation and Outlook Report, Mr. Dommen wrote many major agricultural and economic studies on areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

During his time in Vietnam and Laos, Mr. Dommen wrote his first book, “Conflict in Laos: The Politics of Neutralization,” which was first published in 1964. His other works included the book “Laos: Keystone of Indochina” and numerous articles for journals.

After retiring from the Department of Agriculture in 1996, Mr. Dommen dedicated his energy to writing his final work, “The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.”

The 1,168-page book, published in 2001 by Indiana University Press, relies heavily on Mr. Dommen’s reporting as a correspondent, as well as his collection of material while he resided in Bethesda and worked at the Department of Agriculture.

He also obtained a great deal of original material while sifting through government archives in the District.

Mr. Dommen is survived by his wife, Loan, of Bethesda; two stepsons, Dzung Nguyen and his family of Goshen, Ind., and Minh Nguyen and his family of Austin, Texas; and a brother, Edward Dommen of Geneva.

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