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Reagan to Name Ex-NSC Official Envoy to Moscow

January 13, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — President Reagan soon will name veteran Foreign Service officer Jack F. Matlock Jr. to be the next U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, officials said Monday.

The officials said the Soviet government has notified Washington that it accepts the ambassadorial nomination of Matlock, who is fluent in Russian and formerly was deputy director of the National Security Council staff.

Under diplomatic practice, the host government has the right to reject a nominee, and there was some apprehension that Matlock might not be acceptable to the Soviets because of his outspoken criticism of the Soviet record on human rights during a televised "town meeting" conference in Riga, Latvia, in September.

Matlock would replace Arthur A. Hartman, who was informed in December he is being recalled after five years in the post.

One reason for the timing of Hartman's recall was to give Matlock two full years on the job before a new President replaced him with his own choice for the embassy in Moscow.

Matlock, 57, is a former ambassador to Czechoslovakia and has served as head of the Soviet desk in the State Department. He was a key participant in summit meetings dating back to 1972, including the meetings between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev in Geneva and Reykjavik, Iceland.

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