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Envoy to Austria to Step Down

June 12, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Helene A. von Damm announced Tuesday in a letter to President Reagan her intention to step down as U.S. ambassador to Austria, citing her marriage earlier this year to an Austrian businessman, according to a published report.

In her letter to Reagan, the Austrian native said she has been aware of the ″potential consequences″ of her decision to marry Peter Guertler, owner and manager of the aristocratic Hotel Sacher, The Washington Post reported in Wednesday’s editions.

″For my own part I have always been cognizant of the priority my official duties deserved and I sought to scupulously adhere to the high standards of public service which you have set for your administration,″ she said in the letter.

″Being at all times aware that public perceptions are as important as reality in the world in which we live and work, however, I must recognize there are voices that continue to assert a conflict of interest between my professional responsibilities and my personal situation.

″These circumstances have led me to the conclusion that the interests of our country and your own are best served by your appointment of a new ambassador to Austria,″ she said.

Von Damm, 45, a friend and former secretary of Reagan’s, indicated that she would like to leave her post at the end of the year. The Post quoted an unidentified administration official as saying he expects the resignation and its timing to be accepted by the president.

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