David Anderson American – Abmassador, Foreign Service Officer

David Anderson, a U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia in the 1980s, died July 4, 1996, in Berlin from a liver disease. He was 60.

As ambassador in Belgrade from 1981 to 1985, Mr. Anderson’s main task was to help Yugoslavia cope with a deepening economic crisis by refinancing intemational loans.

After earning a bachelor of arts degree from Union College in 1958, and a master’s degree a year later from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, he joined the State Department. His initial overseas posts included embassies in Belgrade, Mali, Brussels and Bonn.

Mr. Anderson was a member of the U.S. delegation that negotiated the four-power Berlin Agreement of 1971 with the Soviets, British and French. The pact reduced Cold War tensions and helped pave the way for the unification of Germany.

After retiring from the Foreign Service in 1985, he was a visiting professor of international relations at Simmons College in Boston and in 1988 was named director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. The institute brings together scholars and politicians from East and West.

He was born January 3, 1937, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and came to the United States in 1952.

Survivors include his wife, the former Doris Helen Heitmann of Berlin; two children from his first marriage, Natalie of Florham Park, New Jersey, and Scott of Silver Spring, Maryland; his mother, Janet, of Pleasant Valley, New York, a brother, Alexander of Burlington, Vermont, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service for Mr. Anderson was held September 29 at Fort Myer Chapel in Arlington, Va., where former Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger delivered the eulogy.

In Tribute to a Friend

Dear Editor:
David Anderson was my friend, my colleague, and – on more than one occasion – my conscience. I loved him, I loved his intelligence, his wit, his Scottish brogue, his courage, his simplicity. He was a man’s man, yet gentle and winning with the ladies. I lived, for example, in mortal fear that my wife would, one day, leave me for David. If it hadn’t been for Helen, who knows what might have happened?

The Foreign Service of the United States is replete with talent, but David was the best of the best. We anguished through language training together, we served together in Belgrade, and he followed me as ambassador to Yugoslavia. In each case, I came out second best. While he talked with fluency, I stumbled; while he was the star of the Belgrade Embassy, I was reporting on Yugoslavia shipbuilding; while I tried my best as ambassador, he made me look like an amateur.

One might ask, then, why I loved and respected him so much. But that’s the point. I have never known a more decent human being. Everything he did was done with grace and style, and without the least evidence of ego. He was the living personification of that greatest of Scottish hymns, “Amazing Grace.”

In short, he came as close to being the ideal Christian gentleman that I shall ever know. David’s passing will leave a void in all our lives. For my part, I have lost a friend and brother whom I shall miss for the rest of my life. But, through God’s grace, I have also I had over 30 years of having known and been touched by a truly unique and wonderful man.

Lawrence S. Eagleburger
Washington, D.C.
(Ambassador Eagleburger is a former Secretary of State.)

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment