With Edmund Morris already signed on to do President Reagan's official biography for Random House, speculation is inevitable that Nancy Reagan might try to sign up Sylvia Jukes Morris to cowrite the first lady's life story, also to be published by Random House.
The Morrises' books on another first family, the Teddy Roosevelts, were what first brought them to the Reagans' attention. They were so impressed with Edmund's book, "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," and Sylvia's "Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady" that they invited the authors to a state dinner.
Later, at a luncheon given by Archibald B. Roosevelt Jr., and his wife Lucky (Chief of Protocol Selwa Roosevelt), Nancy Reagan told Edmund Morris how she and her husband became so engrossed in the two books that they would sit up in bed at night reading them.
Sources close to Sylvia Morris say it's unlikely that she would ever agree to collaborate with Nancy Reagan, even if the first lady's agent has called her "a no-holds-barred lady" who has "almost total recall." One reason is that Morris currently is at work on Clare Boothe Luce's biography. Another, as one of Washington's literati put it last week, is that Morris is "a serious writer."
Do great communicators great executives make? So thinks the White House, of course, which is why it has set up another of its quarterly boot camps today for newly confirmed or about-to-be-confirmed presidential appointees at the assistant secretary level and up.
Figuring if big business indoctrinates its new executives in how to get things done, why shouldn't big government, presidential aide Robert H. Tuttle has been putting the sessions together for more than a year, drawing upon the bureaucracy, the Hill and private business for his instructors.
Some of the recruits expected at today's session are Lawrence Gibbs (IRS), Peter C. Myers (Agriculture Department), James E. Fox Jr. (State Department), Dorcus Hardy (Social Security Administration) and Margo Carlisle (Defense Department).
Among the instructors: Office of Management and Budget Director James C. Miller III, Interior Department Undersecretary Ann D. McLaughlin, Office of Personnel Management Director Connie Horner and political consultant Lyn Nofziger.
When one recruit, Lynne Cheney, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, told her husband, Rep. Richard Cheney (R-Wyo.), that someone from Capitol Hill was going to tell the group how to get along with Congress, he said he already knew. He's that someone.
Chairman Cheney later told a friend: "We've both been so busy lately, it'll be perfectly pleasant to spend a half hour listening to Dick."
Stargazers at the Reagans' White House dinner for Pakistani Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo tomorrow night will see: Bruce Boxleitner (of "Scarecrow and Mrs. King"), Jane Seymour, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Alan Ladd Jr., George Peppard, Olympic swimming gold medalist Mary Meagher, violinist Eugene Fodor and screen writer Horton Foote, whose credits include "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Tender Mercies" and "The Trip to Bountiful."
If Foote runs out of things to say about Pakistan, he can always talk to the Reagans about China. The two-time Academy Award winner has just completed the screenplay for "Spring Moon," the bestselling novel by Bette Bao Lord, whose husband is U.S. Ambassador to China Winston Lord. Filmmaker Alan Pakula plans to shoot the story in China.
British Ambassador Sir Oliver Wright, who is laid up because of a slipped disc, had to miss his own farewell party Saturday night at the McLean estate of patroness of the arts Lillie Lou Rietzke. He winds up four years here at the end of the month when he and Lady Marjory Wright return to England and retirement.
Lady Wright stood in valiantly, if also silently, for her husband, so extensive were the toasts. U.S. Senate Chaplain Richard C. Halverson preceded those with a prayer, but only after seeing to it that everyone held hands. In the case of Labor Secretary William Brock III, as he later pointed out in his toast, it was the first time anyone ever saw him holding hands with Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
Another among the 100 or so guests was Sen. Strom Thurmond, whose home state of South Carolina is destined to become a home away from home for the Wrights. The ambassador has accepted a visiting professorship at the University of South Carolina.
And from the now-it-can-be told department, Lady Wright finally admitted to one guest that she started the ball rolling in the university's upcoming $2.8 million, five-year cultural and education program at the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger.
Now that she's established herself as an actress, at least in these parts, Lady Wright indicated at a luncheon given for her by Gray and Co.'s Mary Pettus last week that she just may try her hand at writing.
After a four-year succession of royal visitors, topped by Queen Elizabeth II, Lady Wright probably knows more about how the other half lives than anybody else in town. She's the first to admit that she certainly knows "how to raise the flag on a shoestring."
Which, come to think of it, isn't such a bad title for a book.
The Jefferson Hotel held a ribbon-cutting the other night for what's unofficially known as "The William French Smith Suite," even though "home" apparently was never like that when the former attorney general and his wife Jean lived there for four years.
At a nightcap suite-warming tossed by the Jefferson's indefatigable Rose Narva, the Smiths saw a completely revamped layout and the luxurious trappings that $650 a day buys ($400 if you only need one bedroom.)
Looking it over with the Smiths were Ed and Ursula Meese, FBI Director William Webster, Susan Baker, Midge Baldrige, former agriculture secretary John Block and his wife Sue, Italian Ambassador Rinaldo Petrignani and his wife Anne Merete, and Canadian Ambassador Allan Gotlieb and his wife Sondra.
Jean Smith said she was impressed by the black marble bath with Jacuzzi, the working fireplace, the upholstered fabric walls and the grand piano that Peter Duchin played for Candice Bergen's 40th birthday party there not long ago. But she was also a little worried.
"I hope nobody thinks that's the way it looked when we lived there," she said.
*Narva confirms that it didn't. No more so than the room next door resembles the one in which Robert Redford used to stay, and which hotel staffers to this day call "The Robert Redford Room."