Heyward Isham, 82, a career Foreign Service officer and a Russian scholar who held key posts during the Cold War and the war in Vietnam, died Thursday on Long Island. He had complications from an infection and pulmonary fibrosis.
During the Vietnam War, Mr. Isham served in the early 1970s as a leader of the U.S. delegation to the Paris peace talks and was directly involved in negotiations with the Vietnamese. The talks led to the accords that ended direct U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.
Over his career, he spent years on Vietnam, was ambassador to Haiti, and held vital posts in Moscow, Hong Kong, and Washington, where he was assistant secretary of state and director of the office for combating terrorism.
As chief of the consular section at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in the mid-1950s, he worked out the release of people who were detained by the Soviets despite claims to U.S. citizenship. In 1962, he was sent to Hong Kong to monitor developments in China, which had no diplomatic relations with the United States. As a political officer in the U.S. Consulate, Mr. Isham was among the first to recognize an emerging Sino-Soviet split.
After he retired in 1987, he became a senior editor for Doubleday and published the memoirs of former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Later, he became an official of the Institute for EastWest Studies in New York.
- Washington Post