Washington David F. Lambertson, a native Kansan and career diplomat, appears headed for confirmation by the Senate on his nomination to become ambassador to Thailand.
Lambertson won nothing but praise from both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which considered his nomination Tuesday.
Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., the panel chairman, predicted Lambertson's nomination would have smooth sailing in the Senate. He said the nomination by President Bush was a well-deserved honor for Lambertson.
Lambertson, 50, is teaching at Kansas University and will assume the ambassadorship in July or August if confirmed by the Senate. He is a native of Sabetha, in northeast Kansas, and his parents live in nearby Fairview.
LAMBERTSON has served in the Foreign Service for 28 years, including stints in the U.S. embassies in Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Before taking the one-year diplomat-in-residence post at KU, Lambertson was deputy assistant secretary in the State Department for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
The subcommittee did not vote on Lambertson's nomination and Cranston said no date had been set for committee action.
Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., introduced Lambertson at the confirmation hearing, saying the nominee ``has all the tools to be an outstanding ambassador.''
Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., similarly praised Lambertson, saying his extensive knowledge of southeast Asia ``serves us well'' and ``we're very proud as Kansans.''
LAMBERTSON said his goal was ``maintaining and strengthening the ties of respect and friendship that have long characterized our relations with the people and the government of Thailand.''
Despite friendly relations, the United States suspended most of its aid to Thailand in February in protest of a military overthrow of the country's democratically elected government. U.S. aid continues for programs to combat drug trafficking and cultivation.
Lambertson said it was hoped that democratic politics would return to Thailand after an interim period, in which the military influence on the government would lessen.
In response to questioning by subcommittee members, Lambertson said one of his priorities would be to address longstanding complaints that Thailand has failed to stop the piracy of U.S. copyrights, trademarks and patents.
Lambertson also said he expected Thailand, despite the military coup, to continue to support efforts by the United Nations and the United States for a comprehensive political settlement to end a civil war in Cambodia.