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Former President Reagan on Friday requested a search of his 1980 campaign files for documents that might shed light on charges that campaign officials conspired to delay American hostages' release from Iran.

In a letter mailed Friday, Reagan asked Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Director Ralph Bledsoe to conduct the search with the help of an unnamed senior archivist from the National Archives."Although I firmly believe these charges are groundless, I feel we should do all we can to clear the air of this unsubstantiated allegation," Reagan said in the letter, a copy of which The Associated Press obtained.

Reagan requested that any pertinent documents be made public when the search is complete.

Reagan asked Bledsoe to look for documents indicating that "anyone associated with my campaign had contacts with Iranians or other foreign representatives in which a delay in the release of the hostages was discussed."

Reagan asked specifically for a search for documents relating to the schedule and overseas travel by his campaign manager, William Casey.

Congress is considering a formal investigation of allegations that campaign officials, and Casey in particular, might have dealt with Iranians to delay the release of 52 American hostages until after the election in exchange for the promise of arms.

In his letter, Reagan repeated earlier denials of the allegations.

"To think that anyone acting on my behalf would delay the release of the American hostages for one minute is outrageous, offensive and would not have been tolerated," Reagan wrote.