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April 2013
the foreign Service journal
to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box
95, Wilkesboro NC 28697.
Christopher Van Hollen,
a retired Foreign Service ofcer and
former ambassador, died on Jan. 30
at the Washington Home hospice in
Washington, D.C., of complications from
Alzheimer’s disease.
Mr. Van Hollen was born in Baltimore,
Md., on Sept 23, 1922. Following service
in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he
graduated from Haverford College in
1947. He went to graduate school on the
G.I. Bill, receiving a doctorate in political
science from Johns Hopkins University in
1951, and joined the State Department as
a foreign afairs analyst that same year. In
1953 he married Edith Eliza Farnsworth,
who became an analyst on Afghanistan
and south Asia in the State Department’s
Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
In 1954, Mr. Van Hollen was posted to
New Delhi as a political ofcer. He spent
the next six years in South Asia, frst in
New Delhi, with additional accredita-
tion to Kathmandu; then in Karachi and
Murree-Rawalpindi. In 1961, he returned
to the department where, in 1963, he was
made ofcer-in-charge of NATO politi-
cal afairs before being detailed to the
National War College a year later.
Mr. Van Hollen was assigned to
Ankara as counselor for political afairs
in 1965, returning to the department as
country director for India, Ceylon and
Nepal-Maldives in 1968. He became
deputy assistant secretary for Near East-
ern and South Asian afairs in 1969, serv-
ing until 1972. During this period, East
Pakistan’s 1971 secession from Pakistan
to form Bangladesh in 1971 presented
a dilemma for Washington, which had
strong Cold War ties with Pakistan’s mili-
tary government, through which it was
maneuvering secretly to reopen relations
with China.
In the
Washington Post
obituary, Adam
Bernstein cites Mr. Van Hollen’s account
of this dilemma from his 1990 oral his-
tory: “Because Pakistan was seen as a key
intermediary in this process, Nixon and
Kissinger were very reluctant to take any
action that might upset the evolution of
the U.S.-Chinese relationship through the
good ofces of Pakistan, which had at that
time a good relationship with China.”