President Carter will meet with Secretary of State-designate Edmund S. Muskie and other national security advisers at Camp David this weekend for a wide-ranging review of foreign policy in the wake of the aborted hostage rescue operation in Iran.
In announcing the meeting, White House press secretary Jody Powell said yesterday that Carter, Muskie and acting Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher will go the Maryland presidential retreat today. They will be joined Saturday by Defense Secretary Harold Brown, national security affairs adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and other officials.
"It will be the first opportunity for Muskie to meet with that whole national security operation," Powell said of the Democratic senator from Maine, who was named by Carter Tuesday to be secretary of state after Cyrus R. Vance resigned in protest against the rescue mission.
Although Powell said the Camp Davis session will provide an "opportunity for them to review the global picture," administration sources said much of the time probably will be devoted to discussion of possible new steps for resolving the Iran crisis.
"I have not heard of any new initiatives at this point," Powell said, noting that Carter is awaiting the May 17 date by which America's West European allies have promised to impose sanctions against Iran.
Iran continues to be a pressing problem," Powell said, and administration sources added that there is a need to begin plotting a new strategy to pursue after the May 17 deadline.
In the meantime, efforts got under way yesterday to accelerate the administration's original timetable of two weeks or more installing Muskie in the secretary's post and in active control of the State Department.
Acting in response to a request from Muskie, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last night scheduled its hearing on his confirmation for Wednesday morning. Committee sources said Chairman Frank Church (D-Idaho) and the ranking minority member, Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.), had agreed to waive the rule requiring a six-day waiting period between nomination and hearing.
However, the sources said, for the hearing to go ahead Wednesday the White House will have to formally nominate Muskie and forward the necessary paperwork, including Muskie's financial disclosure statement and security clearance, to the committee in advance of Wednesday.
Originally Muskie, who leads the Senate Budget Committee, had said he wanted to see a pending-budget resolution through to completion -- a process expected to take at least two weeks.
However, it since has become apparent that the number of urgent foreign policy issues facing the administration requires faster movement. As a result, the sources said, Muskie now plans to surrender active managing of the budget resolution to someone else and has taken the initiative in pressing for quick confirmation.
One hurdle was cleared yesterday when the House and Senate both approved a bill reducing the salary of the secretary of state from $69,000 to 63,000, so Muskie can qualify for the job.
The Constitution forbids a member of Congress from holding an executive branch office whose salary was raised during his current term in office, and Cabinet salaries have been increased since Muskie's present term began in 1977.
The Justice Department has ruled that in such a case the salary must be reduced to the Jan. 1, 1977, level. Muskie still will be paid more than the $60,662.50 he now receives as a senator.