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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
October 2, 2012
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Publication Date: 
May 21, 1986
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ST Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/10/02 : CIA-RDP90-00965R000302300011-5 V rPICALEGEPEMP NEW YORK TIMES 21 May 1986 U.S. Envoy to the Vatican Quits; Reprimanded on Libyan Dealings By JEF Special to The WASHINGTON, May 20 ? The United States Ambassador to the Vati- can, whose unauthorized dealings with Libya had caused concern within the Administration, has resigned, the State Department announced today. The department gave no explanation and few details about the resignation of the envoy,. William A. Wilson, other than that the California businessman, one of Mr. Reagan's closest and most trusted friends, wanted to return to pri- vate life. . The department spokesman, Charles E. Redman, also said Mr. Reagan had expressed his "deep appreciation to Ambassador Wilson for his productive work during the course of which full diplomatic relations were established between the United States and the Holy See." Mr. Redman did not say if a suc- cessor had been chosen. But Administration officials who de- dined to be identified said that for some time senior White House and F GERTH New York Times State Department officials had voiced concerns to the President and others about Mr. Wilson's conduct and had sought his resignation. In Rome, a spokesman for the Am- bassador said that Mr. Wilson would have no comment this evening and that he would hold a news conference became Ambassador in 1984, after the United States established full diploi matic relations with the Holy See. From 1981 to 1984 Mr. Wilson was ths President's personal envoy to the Vati- can, an unofficial post that gave him access to crassified intelligence infor- mation but also allowed him to con- tinue his . rivate business dealin . As envoy, Mr. Wilson exchanged ews with Pope John Paul II and other offi- cials on international and hintanitar- ian issues. Dealings With Libya The chief concern among Unitet1 States intelligence and State Depart- ment officials involved Mr. Wilson' dealings with Libya, a country that President Reagan hes gecused of hav- ing a central role in terrorism. The con- cern began as early as 1982 when American officials discovered Mr. Wil- son was meeting with a top Libyan offi- cial at a Rome hotel, one of several dealings between Mr. Wilson , and Libyan officials, accordi4 to Adminis- tration officials. ? In addition sometime Wilson became Am , United States intelligence ? intercepted a telex between Mr. 's envoy of- ace in Rome and Li ? , oil dealings. a one offi - who SSW a CODY of the It was not cleas from the telex were the principals in the oil deal, official said. Mr. Wil- son, a wealthy and business- man, has long involved in oft deal- hip, according to public records. Around the first of this year Mr. Wil- son made an unauthorized trip to Libya to see Col. Muammar el-Qaddaft, the ' Libyan leader. Shortly afterward Mr, Qaddaft told reporters the meeting con- cerned economic or commercial mat- ters. Administration officials in Wash- ington were unaware of the trip at the time. On Jan. 13, after President Reagan prohibited travel to Libya, the Prime Minister of Malta, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, relayed information from Mr. Wilson to Libyan officials to try to de- fuse the situation in the Mediterra- nean, according to a recent article in The Malta Times newspaper. Another area of concern about Mr. Wilson among Administration officials involved his dealings with Chile. Ac- cording to former business associates and public records, Mr: Wilson and his family have been involved in business , dealings with the Chilean Government since 1981. At the same time, according to these sources and Administration of- ficials, Mr. Wilson has advocated in private discussions with President Reagan his support for President Au- gusto Pinochet of Chile. One Administration official said that Mr. Wilson's efforts to gain more Ad- ministration support for General Pin?. chet had produced no discernible effect on American policy. But the same offi- cial added that Mr. Wilson's dealings with the Libyans had undercut Admin.- istration efforts to isolate Colonel Qad- dafi. Secretary of State George . P. Shultz rebuked. Mr. Wilson for the trip to Libya, but also praised his work at the Vatican: ? . A White House spokesmen did not re- turn a phone call seeking, comment about Mr. Wilson. While Ur. Wilson's conduct upset some Administration officials, Mr. Reagan has -always supported him. Their association dates back at least to the IOM's, although 'Mr. Reagan has ..rarely spoken publicly of their friend- ship. ? In 1972, when Mr. Reagan as Geyer'- . nor of California appointed Mr. Winton to the Board of Regrets of the Univer- sitit of California, he said he was "a manait outstanding integrity and abil- ity who throughout his career has demonstrated that he is vitally con- cerned with the problems of our soci- ety." In 1988, when a group of businessmen and advisers took control over Mr. Reitgall'S finances, Mr. Wilson was made one of the .three trustees. In 1984, The Los Angeles Times dis- closed that Mr. Wilson had intentioned in two criminal matters, drawing an admonition from the State Depart- ment. According to State Department officials Mr. Wilson has received simil- tar warnings from the 'department on other matters, including his private business dealings. In addition, some White House aides, including the former White House Counsel, Fred F. Fielding, have ex- pressed their concern to President Reagan over Mr. Wilson's conduct, ac- cording to current and former Admin- istration officials. Mr. Fielding, who left his job in March, declined to comment today on any discussions he might have had with Mr. Reagan. The Vatican's role in international and humanitarian issues offers diplo- mats unusual opportunities, since the post entails dealings with a "country" that is really a Church. But the Vati- can's power and influence, and that of 800 million Roman Catholics around the world, makes the job at once sensi- tive and potentially important. The post was created in January of 1984, when President Reagan decided to es- tablish diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/10/02 : CIA-RDP90-00965R000302300011-5 .1