David H. Popper, 95, a career foreign service officer who became U.S. ambassador to Chile months after Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrew socialist President Salvador Allende, died July 24 at Georgetown University Hospital of complications from a fall.
Popper arrived in Santiago in 1974 and spent the next three years balancing U.S. policy to support anti-Communist military regimes against public demands from Congress and humanitarian groups that the Chilean junta stop killing, jailing and torturing its political foes.
Born in New York City on Oct. 3, 1912, Popper was raised in White Plains, N.Y., and graduated from Harvard, where he later earned a master's degree in government.
After working in Army intelligence during World War II, he joined the State Department in 1945 and, in the early 1960s, served as an assistant to Adlai Stevenson, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Elevated to the rank of ambassador in 1969, Popper spent four years as U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, replacing Roger Davies, who was shot to death by unknown assailants.
Popper retired from the foreign service in 1980 and several years later was the ghostwriter for Kurt Waldheim's memoirs, "In the Eye of the Storm." But the book was shelved by the publisher in 1986 after the former U.N. secretary-general was confronted with allegations of involvement in Nazi war crimes.
Popper, who was Jewish, was shocked by the revelations and said Waldheim had been cordial to him throughout their working experience.