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Constantine Menges, 64; National Security Aide for Latin America

July 20, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Constantine Menges, 64, a national security aide for Latin America during the Reagan administration who had a key role in planning the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983, died of cancer July 11 in Washington, D.C.

From 1981 to 1983, he was a national intelligence officer for Latin American affairs at the CIA. From 1983 to 1986, he worked for the National Security Council as special assistant to the president, specializing in Latin America.

Writing in "President Reagan: the Role of a Lifetime," Lou Cannon described Menges as one of a cadre of National Security Council aides who believed "that the West should be mobilized to fight communists with their own methods."

Menges contended that the invasion of Grenada helped avert a possible Grenada nuclear deployment crisis and strengthened Reagan's hand in deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe in late 1983.

A native of Turkey, Menges arrived in the United States with his family in 1943. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics and a doctorate in political science, both at Columbia University in New York City. Menges also taught at the University of Wisconsin and worked for the Rand Corp.

At the time of his death, he was a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based public policy think tank.

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