Spruille Braden, 83, a former assistant secretary of State and ambassador to three countries in Latin America, died of a heart ailment Tuesday at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.
Mr. Braden was noted for his efforts while ambassador to Columbia from 1939 to 1942, to root out Nazi influence in Latin America, and for his equally fervent opposition to communism in the years following World War 11.
He considered his most important work in Colombia to be the removal of 134 German filitary pilots and mechanics from a German-operated airline that flew within 200 miles of the Panama Canal.
In 1962, after leaving government service, he made a speech urging an invasion of Cuba to destroy the Castro regime. "If we wipe out the Communists in CUba, they will fail everwhere else in the Americas," he said. This was a year after the disastrous U.S. sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion.
Mr. Braden testified before Congress last fall against the proposed treaties that would give control of the Panama Canal to Panama by the year 2000.
He was listed as a member of the right-wing national council of the John Birch Society during the mid 1960s, although he was critical of the society's founder, Robert H. Welch Jr.
Mr. Braden was born in Elkhorn. Mont., and earned a bachelor's degree at Yale University.
He worked for a number of mining concerns, including Anaconda Cooper, in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America before joining the State Department in 1935. He attended a number of hemisphere conferences before taking his pois as ambassador to Colombia in 1949.
From 1942 to 1945, he served as ambassador to Cuba.
Named ambassador to Argentina in 1945, he soon earned the wrath of dictator Juan Peron by suggesting that Peron was a Fascist. Mr. Braden held the post in Buenos Aires for only four months.
President Harry S. Truman then named him assistant secretary of State for Latin America, a post he held until 1947.
He then became a business consultant to many U.S. corporations investing in Latin America. He retired in 1974.
Mr. Braden is survived by three daughters, Maruja de Meirelles, Laurita Young and Patricia Clark; two sons, William 11 and Spruille Jr.; 15 grandchildren, and 12 great-granchildren.