December 1, 2023

Kennett Love, Times Correspondent in 1950s, Dies at 88

The cause was respiratory failure, his partner, Blair Seagram, said.

Mr. Love was in Tehran in August 1953 when the C.I.A. executed a successful plot to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh, Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, and replace him with Gen. Fazlollah Zahedi, a loyalist to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who had close ties to the United States.

Mr. Love’s reporting may have played a small part in the coup. He and a reporter for The Associated Press wrote about decrees signed by the Shah that called for General Zahedi to replace Mr. Mossadegh. The release of the decrees, which helped legitimize the coup, was engineered by the C.I.A., though Mr. Love insisted later that he had been unaware of the agency’s involvement.

While he was based in Cairo in 1954, he wrote front-page articles about the discovery, near the Great Pyramid at Giza, of a 50-foot boat that had been intended to convey the spirit of the pharaoh Cheops to the underworld.

He also covered the Suez Canal crisis in 1956 and wrote a book about it, “Suez: The Twice-Fought War,” published in 1969.

Kennett Farrar Potter Love was born in St. Louis on Aug. 17, 1924. He attended Princeton University and was a pilot in the Navy Air Corps during World War II. After the war, he married Felicite Pratt, in 1946 (she died in 2002), and continued his studies at Columbia University. His newspaper career began at The Hudson-Dispatch in Union City, N.J. He joined The Times in 1948, working in the morgue before becoming a reporter in 1950.

Mr. Love is survived by two daughters, Mary Christy Love Sadron and Suzanna Potter Love; two sons, John and Nicholas; two sisters, Mary Lehmann and Nathalie Love; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Love left The Times in 1962 to cover culture and foreign affairs for the magazine USA1, which went out of business after five issues. He later taught journalism at the American University in Cairo and worked for the Peace Corps.

Mr. Love regarded his book on the Suez crisis in part as a return to unfinished business, and as an example that other journalists might follow.

“If they are unable to penetrate the secrecy with which officialdom seeks to cloak its enterprises,” he wrote in the preface, “they should go back as historians to make the record whole and clear.”

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