Challenging the White House, 59 former American diplomats are urging the Senate to reject John R. Bolton's nomination to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"He is the wrong man for this position," they said in a letter to Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar has scheduled hearings on Bolton's nomination for April 7.
"We urge you to reject that nomination," the former diplomats said in a letter obtained by the Associated Press.
The ex-diplomats have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, some for long terms and others briefly. They include Arthur A. Hartman, ambassador to France and the Soviet Union under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and assistant secretary of state for European affairs under President Richard M. Nixon.
Others who signed the letter include Princeton N. Lyman, ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria under presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Monteagle Stearns, ambassador to Greece and Ivory Coast in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations; and Spurgeon M. Keeny Jr., deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Carter administration.
Their criticism dwelled primarily on Bolton's stand on issues as the State Department's senior arms control official. They said he had an "exceptional record" of opposing U.S. efforts to improve national security through arms control.
The former diplomats also chided Bolton for his "insistence that the U.N. is valuable only when it directly serves the United States." That view, they said, would not help him negotiate with other diplomats at the United Nations.
Adam Ereli, the State Department's deputy spokesman, responded: "He is a great nominee. We hope he will be confirmed. And we look forward to his getting to New York to do the nation's business."