Nearly 200 former diplomats warn of 'urgent need' to restore American diplomacy
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Nearly 200 former diplomats penned a letter expressing concern over the state of American diplomacy.

The group of former U.S. ambassadors and veteran diplomats wrote a letter to the Republican chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to The Washington Post.

The letter says that Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report Pentagon to present White House with plans to deploy up to 10K troops to Middle East: report Senate panel rejects requiring Congress sign off before Iran strike MORE's nomination to lead the State Department is a chance to focus on "the urgent need to restore the power and influence of American diplomacy."

The letter was organized by nonpartisan advocacy group Foreign Policy for America.

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In the letter, the group says Congress should not accept the White House proposal to cut the State Department's budget by $20 billion.

It also raises alarms regarding the number of senior leadership positions at the State Department that are not filled.

The group said senators should question Pompeo — who Trump nominated to be secretary of State after the abrupt ousting of Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson meets with House Foreign Affairs Committee Overnight Defense: Trump rails against media coverage | Calls reporting on Iran tensions 'highly inaccurate' | GOP senator blocking Trump pick for Turkey ambassador | Defense bill markup next week Trump frustrated with advisers over Iran, wants to speak to leaders in Tehran: report MORE — on his opinions on the "critical mission" of diplomacy to advance the interests of America.

The letter was signed by people who have served in both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Nicholas Burns, a former undersecretary of State for political affairs and ambassador to NATO, said the letter was a “cry from the heart."

“There’s a hope maybe a strong secretary like Mike Pompeo, with a good record at the CIA supporting career people, will decide it’s time to rebuild the State Department,” Burns told the Post. “What Tillerson tried to do was a disaster for the foreign service.”

Trump earlier this month formally sent Pompeo's nomination for secretary of State to the Senate. Pompeo, who previously ran the CIA, would replace Tillerson.