President Bush’s nominee for the No. 2 post at the State Department was asked Wednesday to give the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a confidential list of the clients of his former consulting firm, headed by former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
The request by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N. C.) may delay the committee’s vote on the nominee, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, a former undersecretary of state and ambassador to Yugoslavia.
“I’d rather be safe than sorry . . . and right now, I don’t know what the facts are,” Helms argued in asking for the list. The senator promised the list would be held in confidence, saying: “I don’t think anybody on this committee would leak one word of this.”
Eagleburger, a 30-year veteran of government service, told the committee he would consult with his attorneys on Helms’ request, made during the first day of Eagleburger’s confirmation hearing before the committee.
If the Senate does not act this week, the nomination could be delayed for several weeks, since members begin a two-week Easter recess on Friday.
Eagleburger, who was queried by several members of the panel about his ties with Kissinger’s firm, told the committee he had provided the committee with a list of the clients he had personally dealt with at the firm and a description of his work for them in a “generic sense.” But he said he was prevented from disclosing additional information under the firm’s confidentiality contract with its clients.