Michael Stewart; British Foreign Secretary in Vietnam Era

From Times Wire Services

Former British Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart, a focal point of criticism over Britain's position on America's Vietnam policy, died Saturday at Charing Cross Hospital after a brief illness, a hospital spokesman said. He was 83.

The nature of Stewart's illness was not disclosed.

From 1964 to 1970, Stewart served as foreign secretary twice in the Labor government of former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. He also held the position of secretary of state for economic affairs and would have taken over the government had anything untoward befallen Wilson.

Stewart was a Labor member of Parliament for 34 years before receiving a life peerage in 1979. He became Lord Stewart of Fulham and moved into the House of Lords, where he remained active until his illness.

As foreign secretary during the Vietnam War, Stewart came under pressure from the opposition Conservative Party for the government's policy, which refused to commit troops to aid the United States. He also faced criticism from left-wing Labor Party members who believed that the government was too sympathetic to the United States.

The London-born former schoolteacher graduated from Oxford University and served in the Army Intelligence Corps during World War II.

Lady Stewart, the former Mary Birkinshaw, died in 1985. They had no children.

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