Frank W. Brecher

Frank W. Brecher, age 88, died April 19, 2020 in a New York hospital due to complications from the COVID-19 virus. He was a New York City native and a sailor on the USS Tarawa (1951-54).  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from City College and a Masters in International Affairs from the School of International Affairs, Columbia University. Later, Frank served at the State Department’s US Agency for International Development (1961-83), specializing in economic development. His postings included Nigeria, Bolivia, and Morocco. He also served as an Economic Specialist at the U.S. Mission to the UN under Ambassadors Adlai Stevenson, Andrew Young (a tennis partner) and Jeanne Kirkpatrick. Frank was at Princeton University 1967-68 on a State Department mid-career fellowship award. He received the Department of State’s Meritorious Honor Award in 1974. Thereafter, he received Senate confirmation as a Counselor to President Reagan.

After retiring, Frank embarked on a second career as a historian. He had developed a keen respect for historians who combined the practice of diplomacy with the skills of a scholar, and he applied his own diplomatic knowledge and expertise in producing a number of scholarly works. In addition to a trilogy of books analyzing early French – American relations, he also authored “Reluctant Ally: Foreign Policy toward the Jews from Wilson to Roosevelt” (1993).

He also maintained a special interest in John Jay’s contribution to diplomacy and American independence, authoring “Securing American Independence: John Jay and the French Alliance” and lecturing on this seminal figure in American diplomacy.  In addition to his books, he contributed articles to a number of periodicals and scholarly journals, including a 2010 profile of the first American Ambassador to Israel, James G. McDonald, published in the Foreign Service Journal and included in his 2013 book: “American Diplomacy and the Israeli War of Independence.”

In retirement, Frank researched and wrote in the mornings; played tennis at the Central Park courts most afternoons until his late 70’s. Frank’s immediate survivors include his brother, Dan, his two sisters, Kayle and Lila, as well as many other family members and friends. Donations in Frank’s memory may be made at  which provides schools, group homes and job training empowering individuals with autism and development disabilities to lead fulfilling lives.

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