J. Bruce Amstutz

J. Bruce Amstutz (born 1928) is an American Career Foreign Service Officer who served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim to Afghanistan from February 1979 until February 1980.[1]

Amstutz was Deputy Chief of Mission when Ambassador Adolph "Spike" Dubs was kidnapped and murdered.[2][3] Amstutz became Chargé and sought out by the head of the Afghan Communist regime, Hafizullah Amin. They had met four times for a total of under 20 minutes, mostly for ceremonial events. In October 1979, Amstutz was going on a six weeks leave and had various concerns including telling Washington that “the Afghan Communists as ‘a bunch of scorpions biting each other to death’” and that Amin had “a semi-psychopathic desire to humiliate and revenge himself against the United States.” So Amstutz recommended a delay by himself and the new Deputy Chief of Mission Archer Blood.[4] Amstutz was married to Nan Louise Grindle, whom he met while they both attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. They became the first couple to simultaneously receive Ph.D. degrees from the institution.[5]


  • Afghanistan: The First Five Years of Soviet Occupation Washington, DC: NDU Press, 1986[6]


  1. ^ "J. Bruce Amstutz". Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute. United States Department of State. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  2. ^ Grunewild, Will (June 4, 2017). "The Mysterious Kidnapping of an American Ambassador Still Haunts the State Department". Washingtonian. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  3. ^ Mohr, Charles (February 22, 1979). "U.S. to Slash Aid to Afghanistan, Partly Because of Death of Envoy". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  4. ^ Blanton, Tom; Savranskaya, Svetlana. "The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, 1979: Not Trump's Terrorists, Nor Zbig's Warm Water Ports". National Security Archive. George Washington University. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Nan Louise Grindle Amstutz". Portland Press Herald. June 3, 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Catalog Record: Afghanistan : the first five years of Soviet". HathiTrust Digital Library. Retrieved 19 January 2020.

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