Undiplomatic Support

Though it is not forbidden by law, Secretary of State George Shultz had twice urged them not to do it. "As a matter of longstanding tradition, ambassadors have been discouraged from extensive participation in partisan political campaigns," he wired.

Yet last week, 23 Reagan-appointed ambassadors—among them the envoys to France, Mexico, Canada and NATO—endorsed Senator Jesse Helms in his race for re-election against Governor James Hunt.

The idea for the unprecedented joint endorsement had come from the Helms campaign. Ambassador to the Organization of American States J. William Middendorf II, who helped organize the effort, noted that Helms' views are "as respected...

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