- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

Mapping America

The German ambassador praised the Library of Congress for the $10 million purchase of the work of a 16th-century German cartographer who literally put America on the map.

The U.S. acquisition of the Martin Waldseemuller map will help put the document on display for the whole world to see, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger said.

In 1507, Waldseemuller was the first to put the name “America” on a map of the New World. He chose the name to recognize Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who, after several voyages, argued that the New World was a continent between two oceans.

“The Waldseemuller map is not only a national treasure but an invaluable example of world heritage that should be shared,” Mr. Ischinger said on the German Embassy’s Web site (www.germany-info.org).

“So it is appropriate and welcome that the Library of Congress will display this glorious document for all to see and that it will also remain available for exhibition in Germany.”

The library bought the map from Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg, whose family acquired the only known surviving copy of the document more than 350 years ago. It was stored in the family’s 16th-century castle in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, thanked the German federal and state governments for approving the sale of a national treasure.

“The map, giving our hemisphere its name for the first time, will be the keystone of the Library’s unparalleled collection of maps and atlases,” he said in a statement.

“The purchase marks the culmination of an effort that has extended over many decades to bring this unique historical document to America where it can be on display in the nation’s library for all to see.”

The map is on temporary display as part of the library’s exhibition of the journeys of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. A permanent gallery to house the map is to be completed next year.

Bush taps friend

President Bush this week chose a family friend and political supporter to serve as ambassador to Switzerland, replacing a former business partner of the president.

Pamela P. Willeford, chairman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, also will be accredited to the principality of Liechtenstein.

In Switzerland, she will replace Mercer Reynolds III, who was the president’s partner in the Texas Rangers baseball team. Mr. Reynolds resigned in April to become the national finance chairman for Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign.

Mrs. Willeford is president of the Pico Drilling Co. Ltd. in Texas. She is a founding member of the Texas Center for Battered Women Advisory Council and of the Texas Book Festival. She also served as vice president for development at the Helping Hand Home for Children.

Italy third in Iraq

The Italian Embassy says troops from its country will make up the third-largest contingent of soldiers in Iraq.

With nearly 3,000 troops being deployed, the Italian force will rank behind those of the United States and Britain, the two main coalition partners.

They will “take part in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and protection mission in Iraq,” said Roberto Natali, a first counselor at the embassy.

Italy will deploy 1,850 soldiers, 200 airmen, 500 sailors and 400 carabiniere, who specialize in military as well as police functions. The United States has about 150,000 troops in Iraq, and Britain has about 8,300 there.

‘Road map’ worries

A key member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is worried that President Bush’s “road map” to Middle East peace could become hostage to an “arbitrary” deadline for the creation of a Palestinian state by 2005.

“I am concerned that for the road map for peace … to be successful, it must be based on performance and not arbitrary dates,” Kansas Republican Sam Brownback said yesterday, after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“The Palestinian people must show that they want peace, and that they will coexist with Israel. … If terrorism continues, there cannot be rewards in 2005 for the Palestinians.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected].

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