NICARAGUA: The Chummy Ambassador

Thomas Edward Whelan, 65, is a well-to-do, homespun North Dakota potato farmer and a power in his home state's politics. He has also been U.S. Ambassador to dictatorial Nicaragua for nine years—longer in one post than any other current U.S. ambassador and so long that he hardly seems the man for Washington's new policy of (as Richard Nixon put it) "a warm embrace for democratic leaders and a formal handshake for dictators."

Ever since Republican Whelan was appointed by Democrat Harry Truman in 1951,* Nicaragua has suited him.

With Whelan and the late Dictator Anastasio Somoza it was "Tommy" and "Tacho" from...

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