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Walter M. Kotschnig; Career U.N. Official

June 29, 1985|From Times Wire Services

NEWTON, Pa. — Walter Maria Kotschnig, who credited international relief forces with restoring him to health after World War I and who later embarked on a lengthy career as a U.S. foreign service officer with the United Nations, died Sunday at a nursing home near here.

Kotschnig, who retired in 1971 as a deputy assistant secretary of state, was 84 and was a victim of Alzheimer's disease.

He was a university student in his native Austria when he contracted tuberculosis. Friends in the Netherlands working through American relief agencies provided food and shelter while he battled the disease and he said "this taught me the importance of international cooperation and set the pattern for my life work."

Joined State Department

He obtained a degree in political science in 1924 and spent the next 10 years working for refugee commissions and economic councils in Europe. In 1936 he moved to the United States and joined the State Department in 1944, two years after becoming an American citizen.

Kotschnig took part in both the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in Washington in 1944 and the San Francisco Conference in 1945 that led to the formation of the United Nations.

He continued until his retirement to serve the United States as adviser or head of several American delegations to various world organizations.

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