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Passings | Lucius D. Battle

Diplomat assisted Acheson, Rusk

May 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lucius D. Battle, 89, a career diplomat who held influential posts in the State Department under Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Johnson and also served as ambassador to Egypt, died May 13 of Parkinson's disease at his home in Washington, D.C.

From 1949 until 1953 Battle served as special assistant to Secretary of State Dean Acheson during Truman's presidency. He returned to government service in 1961 as special assistant to Secretary of State Dean Rusk with an assignment to create a culture that would respond more rapidly to crises. Among his innovations was an around-the-clock operation center to alert senior department officials to important developments around the world.

Battle was later appointed assistant secretary of State for educational and cultural affairs. In 1964, he was named ambassador to what was then the United Arab Republic, the temporary union of Egypt and Syria. While in Cairo, he had to deal with the crisis resulting from the burning of much of the embassy by anti-American protesters.

He later served as assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.

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