If the next president of the United States is a Republican, the secretary of state is likely to be either former labor secretary William E. Brock or Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III.
Both are moderates who would rankle the ultra right. And neither would allow renegade cowboys to run away with our foreign policy.
While the country concentrates on predicting who the next president will be, we asked our sources in the Republican Party and in the campaign camps of Sen. Robert J. Dole (Kan.) and Vice President Bush whom their secretary of state would likely be.
The position is generally considered the high-profile plum in the Cabinet.
The state post carries with it the pomp and circumstance of dealing with foreign leaders, the management of embassies abroad and a large bureaucracy at home, and the power and prestige of being the dean of America's foreign policy.
According to our sources, if Dole becomes president, he will probably pick Brock as his secretary of state. If Bush wins, Baker is likely to become his foreign policy czar.
The Brock and Baker are surprisingly similar. Both have served as Cabinet officers in the Reagan administration. Both let it be known to President Reagan that they would rather have been secretary of state if George P. Shultz had ever resigned.
Neither is widely versed in foreign affairs, except in international economics. Both would be swimming upstream against conservatives led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee heavyweight Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).
Both men are American bluebloods, though neither flaunts it.
William Emerson Brock III is from a wealthy Tennessee candy-manufacturing family. James Addison Baker III comes from a long line of prestigious Texas lawyers.
Brock has paid his dues. He served as Reagan's labor secretary from 1985 to late last year, when he resigned to become Dole's campaign manager. Before that, he was the president's Cabinet-ranked special trade representative for four years. In that capacity, he developed a reputation for hard-nosed deliberations with the Japanese, tirelessly trying to open their markets to U.S. exports.
Brock is also a former senator and Republican Party chairman.
Baker is as able as Brock. Insiders agree the Iranian arms-for-hostages deal and diversion of profits to the Nicaraguan contras never would have occurred if Baker had been chief of staff at the time.
Baker is an old Texas friend of Bush's and was his campaign manager during the 1980 presidential race. From 1981 to 1985, he was White House chief of staff, one of a triumvirate (with Edwin Meese III and Michael K. Deaver) running the administration under the president.
If either Brock or Baker becomes the next secretary of state, he will be the undisputed foreign policy boss. Both men have tight relationships with their candidates and would not abide a national security adviser stepping over them to the president.