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After a year of wrangling, Reagan names ambassador to Indonesia

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The appointment of a career diplomat to be America's ambassador in Jakarta ends a controversy that for some months now has disturbed US-Indonesian relations as well as morale at the US State Department.

Because of the political wrangling over one ambassador-designate and controversy surrounding another candidate, the sensitive and important posting of ambassador to the world's fifth largest nation had been vacant for nearly a year. President Reagan finally ended the dispute by naming Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs John H. Holdridge, a veteran, Chinese-speaking diplomat.

Mr. Holdridge's appointment drew almost universal praise from State Department officials, a good number of whom were angered by earlier reports that the post might go to Kent B. Crane. Mr. Crane, president of an international investment and consulting firm and ex-aide to former Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew, was reported to have ties with a leading Indonesian businessman. Crane has denied press reports that he once served with the US Central Ingelligence Agency in Indonesia, stating instead that he was a junior diplomat with the Foreign Service. Whatever Crane's background, many Foreign Service officers were convinced that he did not have the stature needed for the Indonesia job.

Prior to Crane and others, the White House had decided to name Morton Abramowitz, a former ambassador to Thailand, to head the Jakarta embassy. But in part because of a confidential memorandum circulated by some of Mr. Abramowitz's opponents, Indonesian officials decided that they did not want him as ambassador to their country.


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