Ronald Reagan headed toward a triumphant inauguration today as the 40th president of the United States inthe shadow of a drama being played out in Tehran and Algiers.
In a mood which a close aide described as "Bouyant," Reagan prepared to take the reins of power from the man he defeated in November and then send Jimmy Carter to Germany to welcome the returning American hostages.
Reagan said it would not be appropriate for him to go because he had not arranged the tradeoff of Iranian assetsfor freedom of the captive Americans.
Though in part it overshadowed his inauguration, Reagan and his top aides viewed the release of the hostages in Iran as a blessing for their new administration as well as for the nation. These aides said liberation of the hostages would make it much easier for Reagan to focus attention on the nation's economic problems in his first days in office.
"as long as Americans were held in captivity overseas, they would have to be high preority for any president." said one Reagan adviser.
Reagan and Carter talked by phone at9:30 a.m. yesterday, and the president-elect was given a copy of the proposed agreement with Iran. Leaving Blair House for a meetings with his advisers and Cabinet members, Reagan told reporters he thought he could go along with terms of the agreement.
Throughout the long transition, the outgoing and incoming administrations have tried to work together on the hostage issue.
"we've consulted with the Carter administration and carefully coordinated our own responses with them," said White House counselor Edwin Meese III.
That coordination continued REAGAN, From A1> yesterday as transition spokesman JamesBrady, who today will become the White House press secretary, announced formation of "an interagency task force " to work on the hostage situation should loose ends remain after the change of administrations.
On the eve of his inauguration, Regan was in a happy mood.
"i think he's buoyant and moved by this week's activities . . . ," said longtime aide Michael Deaver. "He's as relazed as I've ever seen him."
And while the attention of the nation was focused on the hostages, committees in the Republican-controlled Senate unanimously approved six more members of the president-elect's Cabinet.
Two Cabinet members have yet to receive committee clearance. Approval of one, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development-designate Samuel Pierce, was considered certain. But the prospects of Labor Secretary-designate Raymond Donovan, who is under investigation by the Senate Labor Committee, reman uncertain.
While the Senate was nearing completion confirmation for other high Reagan appointees, the Reagan transition team was struggling to complete appointment of second-level executives.
Delay in naming these key players is one obstacle to a fast start by the new administration. A week ago transition officials said 60 to 100 sub-Cabinet and other senior officials would be named by yesterday, but a logiam apparently developed in the transition personnel office.
It now appears likely Reagan will take office with a number of sub Cabinet positions still unfilled.
"if we've learned one thing, we've learned never to set deadlines." said Larry Speakes, a veteran of the Ford White House who was named a deputy press secretary yesterday.
Nevertheless, the mood in the Reagan camp was one of optimism as the moment neared for the former California governor's extravagant and glamorous inaugural.
This mood will be echoed in Reagan's carefully prepared inaugural address, which will appeal for renewal of American greatness rather than a call to think small and learn to live with shrinking resources.
Meese said Reagan will call for "a renewal of spirit, a renewal of the economy, a renewal of America's place in the world."
"it's not a hairshirt speech; it doesn't tell people to do without," another senior Reagan adviser said.
Reagan has promised to hit the ground running with a series of executive orders intended to demonstrate he is serious about cutting cost of federal government. One of the first, which Reagan pledged during the campaign to issue on his first day of office, is a freeze on federal hiring more stringent than the existing freeze, Reagan's goal is to reduce the federal workforce 5 percent.
Other executive orders are expected to abolish the Council on Wage and Price Stability, eliminating 200 jobs in the executive office of the president, and impose a moratorium on new federal regulations.
The hope of the new administration is that Reagan's demonstrated skills in swaying public opinion can be used to build a political fire under Congress, particularly the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
"the appeal for public support will start on Tuesday and never let up," Meese said.
The six Reagan Cabinet choices who won unanimous approval from Senate committees yesterday are Donald Regan, treasury; Richard Schweiker, health and human services; John Block, agriculture; Caspar Weinberger, defense; Malcolm Balridge, commerce, and Andrew Lewis, transportation.
Committees also approved William Brock to be special trade representative, William Casey to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Frand Carluci to drputy defense secretary and Darrel Trent to be deputy transportation secretary.
Reagan spent his last day as president-elect in morning meetings with advisers emphasizing the policies he plans to make good on his promises to turn the economy around. He spent a quiet afternoon and then helicoptered to the Capital Centre for the pre-inauguration gala.