WASHINGTON (Dec. 6)
Thomas Pickering, the U.S. ambassador to Israel for the last three years, was named by President-elect George Bush Tuesday as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Bush also reappointed William Webster as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Unlike the practice in previous administrations, neither will be members of the Cabinet.
The 57-year-old Pickering, the country’s most senior career diplomat, had recently been replaced as ambassador to Israel, where he had served since July 1985. Before Bush’s announcement, he was slated to become undersecretary of state for management.
President Reagan recently named William Brown as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel. Brown formerly served as ambassador to Thailand and was once second-in-command at the embassy in Israel.
The tall, balding Pickering went to Israel after a wide-ranging career in the State Department, including four years as ambassador to Jordan.
Pickering, who is known for his outgoing and friendly manner, went to Israel as a successor to Samuel Lewis, who had served there eight years and was very popular with Israelis.
While his tenure in Israel was a time of continued growing close relations between the United States and Israel, Pickering also served during a period of major public disagreements between the two countries.
Tensions centered on the proposed international peace conference and Israel’s handling of the Palestinian uprising in the territories.
In New York, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomed Pickering’s appointment Tuesday afternoon.
It issued a statement calling Pickering “a sensitive and knowledgeable observer of the Middle East scene, with an understanding of the people of Israel.”