Robert Warren Barnett, a U.S. diplomat accused of being a Communist sympathizer during the Red Scare of the 1950s and subsequently cleared, died Friday of cancer and pneumonia. He was 85.
Barnett began his diplomatic career in 1945 after serving as chief combat intelligence officer with the Army Air Forces during World War II. He became an expert on Asian affairs and was a member of a State Department panel that dealt with the postwar occupation of Japan.
In 1951, Barnett became involved in U.S.-China policies and found himself on a list -- compiled by Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis. -- of 26 State Department officials suspected of being Communist sympathizers.
Barnett eventually was cleared of any wrongdoing.
He returned to Asian affairs in the early 1960s and went on to become deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, a post he held under Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.
After retiring from the State Department in 1970, Barnett joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a resident associate and wrote several books on Asian affairs.
Born in Shanghai to U.S. missionary parents, Barnett graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he also received a master's degree in economics. He studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar and at Yale and Harvard.