OBITUARY:Don Cook

Don Cook was an outstanding American journalist who covered all the main events of post-war Europe and knew personally most of the statesmen that shaped them. He recorded faithfully not only what happened, but explained perceptively how it happened. He arrived in London as a young war correspondent for the now defunct New York Herald Tribune in 1945 and left Paris as the European Diplomatic correspondent of the Los Angeles Times in 1988.

A friendly and amusing man with a host of friends in London and Paris, Cook began his newspaper career as a copy boy in Florida, then joined the Trans-radio Press Service in Philadelphia. The New York Herald Tribune engaged him in Washington in 1943 and transferred him to Britain in 1945 as a war correspondent. He covered the entry of the Allies into Paris and the end of the war in Europe.

Cook stayed in London into the post-war period which saw the origins of the Cold War and the creation of the Marshall Plan. His book Ten Men and History (1981) gives a full and accurate account of how the Marshall Plan came about, and of the role played by Ernest Bevin, the British Foreign Secretary.

In 1949 he was transferred to West Germany, where his assignment began as the Berlin blockade was coming to an end and the Bonn Republic was formed. Three years later he moved on to Paris, covering the newly formed Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), under General Eisenhower and the creation of the Schumann Plan and the European Coal and Steel Community. These transfers meant that he chronicled much of the decision- making and the formative events that shaped Europe's economic recovery, its security and its unity today.

Cook returned to London at the end of 1955 and was involved in the complications following Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal and the developments of Macmillan's administration after Eden's downfall. He returned to Paris in 1960 as chief European correspondent of the New York Herald Tribune when General de Gaulle was at the peak of his power. But the paper was declining and in 1965 Cook transferred to the Los Angeles Times. Cook remained with the Times for the next 23 years, first as the chief of the Paris bureau and then as European Diplomatic correspondent. He frequently returned to London, always calling in at the Garrick Club, where he was a popular member.

Cook was the author of five books. Shortly before his death he approved the page proofs of his last, The Long Fuse. It deals with how the British reacted to the revolution in their American colonies, and will be published, appropriately, on 4 July.

Leonard Miall

Don Cook, journalist: born Bridgeport, Connecticut 8 August 1920; married 1943 Cherry Mitchell (died 1983; one son, six daughters); died Philadelphia 7 March 1995.

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