President-elect Ronald Reagan announced yesterday that his longtime chief of staff, Edwin Meese III, and James A. Baker III, who ran George Bush's presidential campaign and then switched to the Reagan team this fall, will both hold top staff jobs in the Reagan White House.
Officials close to Reagan said another veteran Reagan aide, Michael Deaver, also will be given a senior position in the White House after Reagan takes office in January.
Judging from Reagan's announcement yesterday, the division of responsibilities between Baker and Meese will be something of a "Mr. Outside, Mr. Inside" arrangement, with Baker in charge of external matters like press and congressional relations and patronage, while Meese oversees the cabinet, the domestic policy staff, and the National Security Council.
Baker, a tall, amiable 50-year-old Houston lawyer who made contacts with Republicans coast-to-coast in 1976 when he managed Gerald R. Ford's presidential campaign, will be given the title White House chief of staff. He will be a member of the National Security Council.
Meese, 49, a soft-spoken criminal law professor from San Diego who was chief of staff under Gov. Reagan in Sacramento and top man in the 1980 Reagan campaign, will be "counselor to the president" and hold cabinet rank. He, too, will be a National Security Council member.
There was never any question that Meese would land a ranking position in Reagan's White House. When the president-elect was asked once to name the first person he would want to see when a problem developed, Reagan replied without hesitation: "Ed Meese." Baker is a newcomer to Reagan's high command, and campaign aides said one reason he was given the chief of staff job was to prevent the suggestion that Reagan would rely on a tight circle of old California friends to run the government.
In Republican rumor circles, meanwhile, a consensus was emerging that former treasury secretary William Simon had a good chance to go back to that cabinet job. Justin Dart, a member of Reagan's "kitchen cabinet" of confidants, said, "I am not aware of any contesting force opposed to Simon." It was reported that another former treasury secretary, George Shultz, had decided not to accept a position in Reagan's cabinet, and Dart confirmed that Shultz' future role in the Reagan administration is unclear.
[Shultz, asked in Los Angeles if he was interested in the treasury secretary position in a Reagan administration, replied that the question was premature, because he hadn't been asked to take a position in the administration. "My answer is the same. I like what I'm doing very much and I haven't been asked," he said.]
The rumor circuit was also full of indications that Richard Shubert, the Bethlehem Steel executive named Thursday to oversee transition at the Labor Department, has emerged as the prognosticators' early choice for labor secretary.
In Washington yesterday, Reagan's transition office, the fastest-growing agency in town, set up 19 more advance teams yesterday and "team leaders" began to fan out into government agencies to prepare guidebooks that will direct Reagan's appointees when they take control of the government next Jan. 20.
The transition managers, in picking a slate of "team leaders" for the 19 new groups, once again came up with a roster that is strongly weighted with former officials of the Nixon and Ford administrations. But the list also includes some hard-line conservatives, including Barbara Keating-Edh, a one-time New York Conservative Party activist who will direct transition at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Richard T. Kennedy, a champion of nuclear energy, who is team leader for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The transition office, a buzzing, swarming beehive of volunteers, paid staffers, and eager job-seekers which is expanding so quickly that new telephone directories are now being published daily, also set up an Inaugural Committee.
Robert Keith Gray, head of the Washington office of the Hill and Knowlton public relations firm, and Charles Z. Wick, a lawyer and financier in Los Angeles, will chair the committee, which will plan parades, balls, and other festivities to mark Reagan's swearing-in. Frederick K. Biebel, a Republican activist from Connecticut, will be the committee's executive director, and J. William Middendorf, president of the Washington bank holding company Financial General, will be its finance chairman.
Substantive developments, if any, on the transition front this weekend will probably occur in Los Angeles, where Reagan is to meet with his Economic Policy Coordinating Committee, a group of 13 fiscal policy planners headed by former treasury secretary Shultz. The goal of the group's three-day meeting is to come up with a single volume setting forth the president-elect's economic plans and goals for the first months of the new administration.
Reagan will come to Washington Monday morning for five days of business meetings and social events. He will meet with the congressional leadership, receive CIA briefings on situations all around the world, and pay a call on President Carter at the White House Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday, the transition office set up individual transition teams for each of the 13 cabinet departments. Yesterday, team leaders were named to oversee the change of government at 19 independent agencies. The newly named leaders are:
Council on Wage and Price Stability: David Wilmer, managing partner of Hay Associates, a Washington-based consulting firm. He served in the Labor-Department and the White House in the Nixon administration.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Richart T. Kennedy, a Washington consultant. A retired Army man who uses the title "colonel," Kennedy was a commission member during the Three Mile Island accident. Transcripts of commission sessions then show he argued that information that might spread concern about nuclear power should be not made public. Afterwards, he said the proper course for nuclear utilities should be "business as usual," because he felt safety regulations were basically adequate in most of the industry.
Consumer Product Safety Commission: Barbara Keating-Edh, now of Modesto, Calif., head of a national organization, Consumer Alert, which seeks free enterprise solutions to consumer problems. She worked for former Conservative Party senator James Buckley, of New York, and was the Conservative Party nominee for the Senate in 1974.
CIA: Laurence Silberman, a San Francisco banker who held jobs in the Labor and Justice departments under presidents Nixon and Ford and was U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia.
Veterans Administration: William H. Ayres, head of veterans organizing at the Republican National Committee here. He was a 10-term congressman from Akron, Ohio.
Small Business Administration: Max Hugel, a computer corporation executive from Nashua, N.H.
International Agencies (International Communications Agency, Agency for Internatgional Development, etc.): Frank Shakespeare, president of RKO General, Inc. in New York. He was the mastermind of Richard Nixon's campaign commercials in 1968, and Nixon then made him head of the U.S. Iinformation Agency.
Action: John Burgess, a Washington lawyer who has worked at the Republican National Committee and was once Peace Corps director in Micronesia.
Community Services Administration: Constance B. Newman, a Washington consultant. She held several jobs in the last two Republican administrations.
Federl Energy Regulatory Commission: Danny J. Boggs, a Washington lawyer who was on the minority staff of the Senate Energy committee.
Environmental Protection Agency: Norman (Ike) Livermore: a retiree in San Rafael, Calif., he was director of the state Department of Resources under Gov. Reagan.
Synfuels Corp.: Ed Noble, a wealthy oilman, developer, and motel operator in Tulsa. He has been an "angel" to various right-wing think tanks.
Federal Communications Commission: Michael R. Gardner, a Washington lawyer who worked in the Federal Energy Administration during the Republican administrations.
Federal Trade Commission: James C. Miller III, a scholar who directs research on government regulation at the American Enterprise Institute here. He was an economist in a variety of federal offices under Nixon and Ford.
Postal Service: John Lathrop Ryan, a strongly conservative executive at a pump company in Indianapolis.
Federal Election Commission: Robert P. Viser, a Washington lawyer who worked with FEC regulations for the Ford-for-President campaign in 1976.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: James A. Parker, president of the Washington-based Lincoln Institute, a research center focusing on issues that touch the black middle class.
Legal Services Corp.: William J. Olson, Fairfax County Republican chairman and a Washington lawyer.
Securities and Exchange Commission: Roger W. Spencer, Dean of Business and Administrative Studies at Trinity University in San Antonio.