National Catholic Reporter Jan. 27, 1989 has picture of Ronald Reagan receiving the "Grand Cross of Merit, Second Class" from the Knights of Malta.

From............... National Catholic Reporter

31 March, 1989

WASHINGTON White House sources confirmed March 22 that Thomas P. Melady, former U.S. ambassador to Uganda and Burundi, will be the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Melady, a regular NCR contributor in the 1970s, was ambassador to Uganda from June 1972 to September 1973.

On returning to the United States in the 1970s, Melady taught and wrote before being named president of Bridgeport, Conn.'s, Sacred Heart University in 1976.

The 62-year-old Melady, a native of Norwich, Conn., left Sacred Heart in 1986 to become president of the Connecticut Public Expenditures Council, Inc., a nonprofit research and "tax watchdog" organization.

Melady's name surfaced as possible Vatican ambassador in early March. Efforts to contact him at his office were referred to the State Department's Vatican desk.

March 20, Melady and his wife were guests of President Bush along with Cardinals Agostino Casaroli [see accompanying story], Joseph Bernardin, Bernard Law, Edmund Szoka, John O'Connor, James Hickey, John Krol at a White House reception. Melady was introduced to the guests as the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, a White House source said.

Melady was described by the White House source as "one of Bush's pen pals." Melady, the White House official said, "is a prolific memo writer, and over the years he has influenced the president's views and thoughts about the church."

Melady was knighted by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and by Pope John Paul II in 1983. He is a member of the Knights of Malta, a centuries-old international fraternal and social Catholic organization, which also commands diplomatic representation as an independent state to some countries. -JF