David Atamian, 86, a former interpreter for the State Department, died Thursday at Arlington Hospital following a stroke.

He was the author of numerous articles on Armenia that appeared in a number of newspapers and also of "Mountains of the Moon," a volume of poetry celebrating his Armenian homeland.

Over the years he kept what became a 12-volume diary that he donated to the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress Quarterly Journal of February 1947 stated: "Perhaps the most significant, certainly the most unusual, of the year's acquisitions is a diary kept for the years 1904 to 1920 in the Armenian language by Mr. David Atamian, a native of Behesni, Turkey."

It was hailed as a "valuable source" for modern history of a region where records were scarce and an important source of information about the life and social position of Armenisans in Turkey and Syria.

Mr. Atamian's parents died during a deportation of the American people by Ottoman authorities during World War I.

He escaped and went to Paris. There he studied at the Sorbonne and then worked from 1918 to 1924 as a relief administrator for the Armenian General Benevolent Union. He traveled widely during this time in the Near East, Europe and Africa to raise funds for refugees.

He came to this country in the 1920s, and became a citizen in 1927. He worked as an interpreter with the State Department and the Agency for International Development and had only recently retired as a contract escort interpreter for foreign visitors In addition to English; Turkish, and Armenian, he spoke Arabic, Parsi, and French.

Mr. Atamian was a member of St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington. He belonged to the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party of Washington and was an honorary life member of the Washington chapter of the Tekeyan Cultural Association.

He belonged to Columbia Lodge No. 285 of the Masons in Arlington, where he lived.

There was no immediate survivors.

It is suggested that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Tekeyan Cultural Associations' David Atamian Publication Fund, 11613 Gail Street, Wheaton.