- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2006

Armin H. Meyer, a career diplomat in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, died Aug. 13 of Parkinson’s disease at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District. He was 92.

Mr. Meyer was born in 1914 in Fort Wayne, Ind., and attended Lincoln College, Capital University and Ohio State University. He was the recipient of five honorary doctorate degrees.

At 27, Mr. Meyer’s planned career as a university administrator was interrupted by World War II. He accepted a pre-Pearl Harbor assignment as a radio engineer in Eritrea. In 1943, he became news editor for the U.S. Office of War Information in Cairo.

Mr. Meyer was stationed in Baghdad as a U.S. public affairs officer from 1944 to 1948, and during that time joined the U.S. Foreign Service.

During his 30-year career, Mr. Meyer served as ambassador to Lebanon from 1961 to 1965, ambassador to Iran from 1965 to 1969 and ambassador to Japan from 1969 to 1972.

He also served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs, a bureau in which he served two four-year assignments.

While in Japan, Mr. Meyer helped secure the “automatic extension” of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, helping preserve the agreement as a cornerstone for the relationship between the two countries.

He helped ease the shock of Mr. Nixon’s historic breakthrough to China and presided over the negotiations that led to the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese administration.

In recognition of his Okinawa achievement, Mr. Meyer was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, First Class, by Japanese officials.

While in Iran, Mr. Meyer was instrumental in resolving problems involving the international oil industry. He also helped secure a reasonable program of U.S. military assistance to bolster Iran’s self-defense capabilities.

His tour in Lebanon was marked in 1964 by the first peaceful presidential succession since that country’s independence in 1944. During his missions to Iran and Lebanon, both countries were able to stand on their feet, making possible the termination of U.S. foreign aid programs.

Upon his return from Japan, Mr. Meyer was named by Mr. Nixon as chairman of the Working Group of the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism, a committee formed after the 1972 killings of Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich.

Mr. Meyer also served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan from 1955 to 1957 and helped reopen the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which had been closed by an ethnic dispute.

He participated in Eric Johnston’s Jordan Valley development plan in 1954 and the Joseph Johnson Palestinian refugee project in 1961.

After his retirement from the Foreign Service in 1973, he served more than two decades as an international business consultant, specializing in foreign affairs.

From 1975 to 1986, Mr. Meyer was on the faculty of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. From 1988 to 1998, he served as president of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.

He also wrote two memoirs — “Assignment Tokyo: An Ambassador’s Journal” and “Quiet Diplomacy: From Cairo to Tokyo in the Twilight of Imperialism” — and his syllabus “Practicing Diplomacy Abroad” was featured in Georgetown’s publication “Education in Diplomacy.”

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Alice James Meyer of the District, a former reporter at the Washington Times-Herald and a society editor at the Washington Evening Star; a daughter, Kathleen White of Bethesda; a sister, Miriam Teaff of Long Beach, Calif., and one granddaughter.

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