One of America’s most respected newspapers has had to apologise after it published a letter they claimed was written by the Mayor of Paris.

The New York Times has admitted the letter is a fake and admitted it had failed to verify its authenticity with the office of Bertrard Delanoe.

“In this case, our staff sent an edited version of the letter to the sender of the e-mail and did not hear back,” the paper said in a statement on its website.

“At that point, we should have contacted Mr. Delanoe’s office to verify that he had, in fact, written to us. We did not do that.

“Without that verification, the letter should never have been printed.”

In the fake letter, Mr Delanoe, who is openly gay and a possible candidate for the French Presidency in 2012, raised questions about the suitability of Caroline Kennedy as a replacement for Hillary Clinton as US Senator from New York.

“We French can only see a dynastic move of the vanishing Kennedy clan in the very country of the Bill of Rights. It is both surprising and appalling.” the fake letter read.

If as expected Senator Clinton is approved by Congress as the next US Secretary of State, the Governor of New York will have to appoint someone to fill her Senate seat.

Ms Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F Kennedy, is in the running for the appointment.

The Mayor of Paris’ office told the AP the letter was a fake.

“We have asked The New York Times for a denial and an apology.

“Clearly, this was never sent by Bertrand Delanoe.”

Ms Kennedy answered questions for Politico.com last week. She is a supporter of gay marriage.

Another contender for the vacant Senate seat is Caroline Quinn, another Irish-American.

She is the current Speaker of the New York City Assembly, an out lesbian and campaigner for LGBT rights.

Mr Delanoe has proved to be a popular Mayor of Paris since taking office in 2001, with innovative ideas such as Paris Plage and a bike-hiring scheme proving popular with the city’s residents.

He famously announced his sexuality in a television interview in 1998.

He was re-elected earlier this year.