Your article on Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty is wrong on the facts, and it unfairly attacks Mr. McLarty's character ("Skeletons in Mack McLarty's closet?" Finance, Jan. 20). On behalf of President Clinton and the McLarty family, please allow me to set the record straight.
First, your assertion that Mr. McLarty "asked to be named Commerce Secretary or Ambassador to Mexico" is absolutely false. Furthermore, you were wrong to report that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission matter entered into White House consideration regarding Mr. McLarty's future role in the Administration. It was never a topic of discussion. Your headline asked whether there are any "skeletons in Mack McLarty's closet." The answer is an unequivocal no.
Finally, you claim, erroneously, that Mr. McLarty has somehow been "sidelined." On the contrary, Mack McLarty continues to be one of the President's most trusted and valued advisers. Following his reelection, President Clinton asked Mr. McLarty to delay his return to the private sector so he could continue to serve as Counselor and could undertake new responsibilities as Special Envoy for the Americas. Mr. McLarty's new assignment will focus on expanding trade and strengthening U.S. relations with our neighbors in the hemisphere. His mission is a top foreign policy priority of President Clinton, and Mr. McLarty is singularly qualified to serve in this capacity.
Your attack on Mr. McLarty's character is inaccurate and grossly unfair. Mr. McLarty is a man of great personal integrity and character. In the Clinton Administration, he has been a tireless advocate for matters affecting the American business community. Your readers deserved a more responsible portrait of Mack's valuable service.
White House Press Secretary
Your story assails the good name of Mack McLarty. I do not know the facts of the case, but I know Mack McLarty and I can read. The article spins a tale of wrongdoing and intrigue without telling how McLarty was involved or what he supposedly did wrong.
Statements such as the one in which a "Democratic Senate source" claims Mack "couldn't get confirmed if his life depended on it" are irresponsible and, in all likelihood, dead wrong. I was in the Senate long enough never to predict the outcome of confirmations. And Mack McLarty is respected and liked by many members on both sides of the aisle.
Mack is known for his moderation and his bipartisan approach. I am pleased that we still have businesspeople like Mack willing to serve in government, even with the assaults that now seem to be automatic in Washington. I am also pleased that he continues to serve the Clinton Administration and the American people with such responsibilities as Counselor to the President and Special Envoy for the Americas.
Editor's note: Nunn is a former Democratic Senator from Georgia.
I was disturbed to read the article about Mack McLarty that appeared in BUSINESS WEEK. I know Mack McLarty as a friend and colleague and was personally gratified when he agreed to take on his present assignment as Special Envoy for the Americas. He is held in high regard by key leaders throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and I believe that he can make very important contributions in furthering the relationship between the U.S. and our neighbors in the Americas.
Our Latin American neighbors know Mack McLarty, as I do, as a man of integrity, principle, and decency. I am convinced that as Special Envoy for the Americas, Mack McLarty will serve his country and the President with effectiveness and honor in a manner that will advance relationships between the U.S. and the other countries of the hemisphere.
Sol M. Linowitz
Editor's note: Linowitz, a longtime Latin America expert, was U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States from 1966-1969 and co-negotiator of the Panama Canal treaties.