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Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, 64, specialist on China diplomacy

NANCY TUCKER

Georgetown University

NANCY TUCKER

WASHINGTON — Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, an authority on US diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China and a professor of history at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, died of cancer Dec. 1 at her home in Potomac.

Her husband, Warren ­Cohen, confirmed her death.

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Dr. Tucker, 64, was the ­nation’s first assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analytic integrity and standards, a post she held in 2006 and 2007 while on leave from Georgetown.

She simultaneously served as the intelligence community’s analytic ombudsman. In an interview with United Press International, she said her role was to provide ‘‘a release mechanism’’ for intelligence officers feeling pressured to reach certain conclusions in their work.

As a scholar, Dr. Tucker wrote hundreds of articles and was the author or editor of eight books, one of which, ­‘‘Uncertain Friendships: ­Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States, 1945 to 1992’’ (1994), received an award from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

‘‘Uncertain Friendships’’ is believed to have been the first book to report publicly that as early as 1965 Richard M. ­Nixon, for decades defined by his outspoken anticommunism, accepted the reality of the Communist takeover of China in 1949 and realized it was the nation with which the United States would have to deal. As president, Nixon made a landmark trip to China in 1972 that paved the way for official diplomatic recognition in 1979.

Dr. Tucker was ‘‘an outstanding scholar on China and Taiwan,’’ said Winston Lord, a former US ambassador in Beijing and president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He described her approach as meticulous and objective.

Dr. Tucker’s other books included ‘‘China Confidential: American Diplomats and Sino-American Relations, 1945-1996’’ (2001), which consisted of oral interviews with dozens of former diplomats who specialized in US relations with East Asia.

Nancy Bernkopf was born in New York City. She graduated in 1970 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., and received a doctorate in history from Columbia University in 1978.

On a fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Tucker served on the China desk at the State Department and in the US Embassy in Beijing before joining the Georgetown faculty in 1987. Early in her career, she taught at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., and New York University.

Like his wife of 24 years, ­Cohen is a China scholar. He and Dr. Tucker’s stepsister are her only survivors. Her first marriage, to Bruce Tucker, ended in divorce.

Dr. Tucker was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, and in the years since she had undergone six lines of chemotherapy. Nonetheless, she continued working and writing. Her most recent book, ‘‘The China Threat: Memories, Myths, and Realities in the 1950s,’’ was published in May.

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