Frank H. Bartholomew, chairman of United Press International's board of directors from 1962 to 1972 and president of the worldwide news-gathering agency from 1955 to 1962, died Tuesday after a long illness.
Bartholomew died of cancer at his home in Sonoma, Calif. He was 86.
Bartholomew's various positions with UPI took him to all parts of the globe, and he interviewed most of the world leaders of his time. He divided his time in recent years between his winery in Sonoma, another home in Glenbrook, Nev., and his office in San Francisco, where he had become UPI's chairman emeritus.
Bartholomew was an overseas correspondent for United Press before its merger with International News Service in 1958. He began with UP in 1921 in Portland.
He was on the battleship Missouri when Japan surrendered to end World War II, and he covered the Bikini atomic bomb tests of 1946 as the lone media observer aboard a B-29 observation plane. He also wrote a graphic description of Shanghai as the last correspondent out of that city when it fell to the Communists, and he was at the side of Hideki Tojo after the Japanese prime minister attempted suicide and heard him gasp out a confession of guilt for World War II.
(Tojo was later hanged as a war criminal.)
Bartholomew was the first correspondent into Naha, Okinawa, while that city was still under siege in 1945. His later reports that Strategic Air Command bombers were armed with H-bombs on flights toward the North Pole caused the Russians to carry a protest to the United Nations in 1958.
After the end of World War II, he went to Japan and interviewed Emperor Hirohito and Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur, writing a study in contrasts of the two men who were to rule the island empire.