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Subject: Joseph E. Slater, 80, U.S. Aide in Postwar Germany

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Date Posted: November 27, 2002 9:56:19 EDT

Joseph E. Slater, who worked on the "de-Nazification" of Germany after World War II and was instrumental in making the Aspen Institute an important East-West conduit in the cold war, died on Tuesday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 80.

The cause was Parkinson's disease, his daughter, Sandra Marian Slater, said.

From 1944 to 1954, Mr. Slater had a number of crucial posts in Europe and Washington as postwar European alliances emerged and as Germany became a modern democracy. As hostilities drew to a close, he helped work on the Four Power Allied Control Council, which controlled Germany after its defeat.

Mr. Slater was deputy United States secretary to the council until 1948, when he moved to the policy planning staff at the State Department to help form the United Nations.

When John J. McCloy was named United States high commissioner for Germany in 1949, Mr. Slater returned with him as secretary general of the Allied High Commission. In 1952, Mr. Slater moved to Paris, where he was executive secretary in the office of the United States representatives to NATO and the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, set up under the Marshall Plan.

Mr. Slater's work on postwar German reconstruction and at Aspen was the subject of two academic studies, "America and the Intellectual Cold War in Europe" by a Columbia University historian, Volker R. Berghahn, which appeared last year, and "The Aspen Idea" by Sidney Hyman, published in 1976.

Mr. Slater became president and chief executive of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in 1969, after working as chief economist for an oil company, running the international affairs program of the Ford Foundation, working as deputy assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs under President John F. Kennedy and heading the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Under his direction, the Aspen Institute, which had been a comparatively small organization that specialized in educational seminars for executives, increased its range and scale, becoming a well-known meeting place for world leaders, scholars and scientists on international issues.

The institute worked closely with the United Nations and played an important role in mobilizing world opinion on environmental questions.

In 1973, Mr. Slater won German backing to open a branch in Berlin. It quickly became a center for informal contacts between officials and others from both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Mr. Slater also established branches in France, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

Surviving are his wife, the former Annelore Kremser, and his daughter, Sandra, of Palo Alto, Calif.

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