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Arthur J. Dommen, 71; Correspondent, Author Covered Vietnam for The Times

December 23, 2005|From a Times Staff Writer

Arthur J. Dommen, a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in the 1960s and early '70s, died Dec. 15 of cancer at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., according to his wife, Loan. He was 71.

He joined The Times in 1965 as Tokyo bureau chief and was bureau chief in New Delhi before covering the war in Vietnam from 1968 to 1971. After leaving the paper, he returned to the United States to earn a doctorate in agricultural economics at the University of Maryland and joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an economist focusing on underdeveloped regions.

As the department's editor for the World Agriculture Situation and Outlook Report, Dommen wrote major studies of land tenure and agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa and rural poverty in Central America.

After his retirement from the department in 1996, he spent several years writing an exhaustive, 1,168-page political history of Indochina in the French and American eras. "The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam" was published in 2001 by Indiana University Press.

He wrote two other books on Southeast Asia, "Conflict in Laos: The Politics of Neutralization" (1964) and "Laos: Keystone of Indochina" (1985).

Born in Mexico City in 1934, Dommen came to the United States in 1940 and was naturalized in 1958. After graduating from Cornell, he served in the U.S. Army for two years. Following his discharge, he joined United Press International and served as the wire service's bureau chief in Saigon and Hong Kong before joining The Times.

In addition to his wife of 28 years, Dommen is survived by two stepsons, four step-grandchildren and a brother.

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