Washington — Reagan vows confidence in envoy to El Salvador
President Reagan has ''full confidence'' in US Ambassador to El Salvador Thomas Pickering, White House press secretary Larry Speakes said Thursday. The announcement was in response to a charge by Sen. Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina that the envoy interfered with Sunday's elections in El Salvador.
Senate majority leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R) of Tennessee said he does not believe that Mr. Pickering should be removed.
''I have known Tom Pickering a long time,'' Mr. Baker said. ''He is a first-rate professional career Foreign Service officer.'' Ambassador Pickering is a 25-year Foreign Service veteran.
Mr. Helms, in a letter to President Reagan, accused Pickering of helping the candidate of the Christian Democrats, Jose Napoleon Duarte, by encouraging Salvadorean election officials to retain questionable voter registration lists for this Sunday's runoff presidential election, a congressional source said.
(See related story on Page 1.)