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Lawrence Never A Merchant Marine


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 12) -- Larry Lawrence, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland whose body was exhumed from Arlington National Cemetery, never served in the Merchant Marine, the State Department said today.

The department's bureau of diplomatic security "has concluded that Ambassador Lawrence was a full-time student at Wilbur Wright College in Chicago from September 1944 to June 1945 and was not a Merchant Marine volunteer as he had previously claimed," said James Foley, deputy spokesman.

Lawrence's body was disinterred from Arlington National Cemetery Thursday just a week after his military service was called into question.

John Gibbons, a spokesman for the family, said it is the family's wish that all details of the exhumation and reburial remain private. But the San Diego Union-Tribune, citing anonymous sources, reports that the body was reburied at the El Camino Memorial Park and Mortuary in San Diego.

Lawrence, who served as ambassador to Switzerland until his death in 1996, received a waiver for burial at Arlington in part because of his claim to have been wounded during service in the Merchant Marine in 1945. Congressional investigators reported last week that they could find no evidence of such service.

Amid the controversy, Lawrence's widow, Sheila Davis Lawrence, wrote to President Bill Clinton requesting that Lawrence's body be removed from the famous cemetery and moved to San Diego, where Lawrence owned the Hotel del Coronado. In her letter, she said the dispute over his burial "precludes his resting there in peace."

The Lawrence family assumed all costs associated with the disinterment and shipment, an Arlington spokeswoman said.

House Republicans have said they will continue to investigate the burial waiver granted to Lawrence, a big Democratic donor.

In Other News:

Friday Dec. 12, 1997

Clinton Plans Recess Appointment Of Lee
Lawrence Never A Merchant Marine
Susan McDougal Trial Set For February
DNC To Resist House Subpoenas

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