A. B. Roosevelt, a C.I.A. Veteran And Banking Official, Dies at 72
by Eric Pace, New York Times, June 1, 1990
Archibald B. Roosevelt, a former high-level official of the Central Intelligence Agency, died in his sleep Wednesday night in his house in the Georgetown section of Washington. He was 72 years old.
A friend said the cause of death was not immediately known, but that Mr. Roosevelt had a history of heart trouble. A grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, Mr. Roosevelt had been serving as the Washington-based director of international relations of the Chase Manhattan Bank, which he joined in 1975 after retiring from the C.I.A. in 1974.
Richard M. Helms, a career official with the C.I.A. who served as its director from 1965 to 1973, said in Washington yesterday, ”In his life Archie made a significant contribution to the national security of his beloved country.”
He declined to be more specific, but friends of Mr. Roosevelt said that throughout his career he worked on the operations side of the agency. During his last years with the C.I.A., in Washington, his areas of responsibility included Middle East and European affairs, they said.
Spoke 16 Languages
Edmund Morris, a biographer of Theodore Roosevelt and a friend of the Roosevelt family, said in Washington: ”Archie was the only one of all the manifold descendants of Theodore Roosevelt who had the encyclopedic intelligence of his grandfather. He spoke 16 languages and was so fluent that he could actually joke in different versions of Arabic.” Among his other languages were French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish and Russian.
Mr. Roosevelt’s memoirs, ”For Lust of Knowing,” published in 1988, offered no secret tales of intrigue or dirty tricks by the C.I.A. ”I took an oath to protect the secrecy of the agency,” he wrote.
In the book he also observed that a C.I.A. official serving in foreign lands ”must be able to emphathize with true believers of every stripe in order to understand and analyze them. He must, like Chairman Mao’s guerrillas, be able to swim in foreign seas. But then he must be able to pull himself to shore and look back calmly, objectively, on the waters that immersed him.”
From Groton to Army Intelligence
Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt Jr. was born on Feb. 18, 1918, in Boston, the son of Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt and the former Grace Stackpole Lockwood. He graduated from Groton and in 1939 from Harvard College. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1947, entering military intelligence, rising to captain and serving as a military attache in the Middle East.
It was in 1947 that he joined the Central Intelligence Group, a precursor of the C.I.A. His foreign postings included London, Beirut and Istanbul, interspersed with stints in Washington.
Mr. Roosevelt was a first cousin of Kermit Roosevelt, another longtime C.I.A. official who is now retired.
Archibald Roosevelt married Katharine Winthrop Tweed in 1940. They divorced in 1950.
He is survived by his second wife, the former Selwa Showker, whom he married in 1950 and who was Chief of Protocol in the Reagan Administration; three sisters, Nancy Roosevelt Jackson of Manhattan, Edith Roosevelt of Washington and Theodora Roosevelt Rauchfuss of Patterson, N.C.; a son by his first marriage, Tweed Roosevelt of Boston; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service is to be held next month in Washington.