OBITUARY

Martha Constance Mautner

March 11, 1923December 21, 2010

Martha Halleran Mautner, recipient of the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal for her analytical work on the USSR throughout the entire Cold War era, died on December 20, 2010, of complications of multiple myeloma. She was 87.

A Pennsylvania native and graduate of Seton Hill College (now University) in Greensberg, Pa., Martha Halleran joined the State Department immediately after receiving a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, MA. Her four decade-long career in the Soviet field began with an assignment to the US Embassy in Moscow in 1945. While there she began a collection of pertinent quotations from Soviet and communist sources which was subsequently published by the Department as “The Soviet World Outlook”. Returning to Washington in 1948, she served with the Bureau for Intelligence and Research (INR), on the European Bureau’s Soviet Desk, and as research assistant to the Department’s Counselor, George Kennan, with whom she had worked in Moscow. Following Kennan’s departure from government in 1950, she was posted as political officer to the US Mission in Berlin, where she married Karl F. Mautner, then the US Liaison Officer with the Berlin City Government. Both Mautners remained closely involved with Berlin-related issues until the reunification of Germany, both served on the Berlin Task Force during the 1961 Berlin Wall Crisis.

Mrs. Mautner returned to INR in 1959, where she remained for the rest of her career, taking leave only in the mid-60s to accompany her husband on his assignment to the Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. As head of INR’s Soviet Foreign Policy Division, and later Deputy and Acting Director of the Soviet and East European Office, she concentrated on Soviet relations with Europe, especially where Germany and Berlin were concerned, and on Soviet Middle East and Third World involvement. A member of the Senior Executive Service, she was also active in the State Department’s Public Outreach program, speaking to civic groups throughout the country on US-Soviet relations; she was named the Department’s “Speaker of the Year” in 1986. Other professional tributes included three Superior Honor awards, the John Jacob Rogers Award, and on retirement in 1993, the Intelligence Community’s Distinguished Service Medal.

In retirement, Mrs. Mautner remained an active participant in the Soviet and Cold War-related programs of local professional organizations, serving occasionally (as she put it) as a footnote in various research projects. She was also an avid gardener. Karl Mautner, her husband of 50 years, died in 2002. She is survived by three children: Kathie P. Mautner of Atlanta, Georgia, Marguerite Ballard of Portland, Oregon, and Karl P. Mautner, of Shanghai, China; a sister, and four grandchildren. Interment is with her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.

A Memorial Mass will be held on February 4, 2011 at 11:00 am at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Western Avenue at Quesada Street, NW.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the DACOR scholarship fund, or a favorite charity.

Arrangements entrusted to Joseph Gawler's Sons Inc., Washington, DC.

Services

  • Memorial Mass Friday, February 4, 2011
  • Graveside Service Friday, February 4, 2011

Memories

Martha Constance Mautner

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David Hertzberg

May 2, 2019

Martha was my mentor and first supervisor when I started my career at the Department of State -- in the Soviet office of the Intelligence Bureau (INR) -- in summer of 1980. She taught me how to write, how to analyze and interpret articles in Soviet media... she was a remarkable woman, full of life, with a razor sharp sense of humor. One of my clearest memories is her was sitting at her desk every day at noon, eating her lunch, and reading the New York Times cover to cover. It was not a good time to bother her. I met her husband Karl on a few occasions, and remember him as a witty and charming man. For me Martha embodied a time in the history of the State Department where diplomacy and analysis were taken seriously, before the internet, when intellect was at a premium. Now that I am retired, I think of her often. RIP.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY