Item: When the Taiwan shoe industry was trying last summer to overcome a decision by the International Trade Commission to keep import restrictions on its shoes for two more years, lobbyist Peter D. Hannaford, a newcomer to Washington, was called upon for help. President Reagan lifted the import barriers on June 30 despite bipartisan opposition.
Item: When the oilmen and bankers who want to build the Northwest Alaskan pipeline to bring natural gas to the "Lower 48" needed administration and congressional support for regulatory waivers to shift construction costs to consumers at an earlier date, they hired Hannaford. The waiver package won White House support, and has won congressional approval at every step so far. The final hurdle is a House floor vote this week.
Item: Last spring, when Tosco Oil Corp. was fighting to save its $1.1 billion federal loan guarantee for a Colorado synfuels project from the budget axe of David A. Stockman, the oil firm hired Hannaford. The White House spared the loan guarantee.
Having Hannaford in their corner may not have been the greatest determining factor for each of these interests, but it didn't hurt them, either.
In the first 10 months of the Reagan administration, nothing has blossomed in Washington like the fortunes of the once obscure lobbying and public relations firm that was started seven years ago by a handful of aides to the outgoing governor of California, Ronald Reagan.
Since the final days of last year's presidential election campaign, Hannaford's stable of clients has increased dramatically to include General Motors; Trans World Airlines; Merrill Lynch White Weld Capital Markets Group, a subsidiary of the brokerage firm; Century 21 real estate; the Air Line Pilots Association; and the letter carriers union.
These additions have catapulted Hannaford over dozens of older and more established national public relations firms to a position among the top 40 firms in the country. By any measure, according to industry observers, Hannaford's rise has been phenomenal, considering that his company started with little more than a retiring governor as its chief income-producing client.
In those days it was known as Deaver & Hannaford Inc., named for the chief partners, Hannaford and Michael K. Deaver, who is now deputy White House chief of staff and whose duties reflect his close personal relationship with the president and Nancy Reagan.
From 1974 to November, 1979, when Reagan announced as a candidate for president, virtually all of his public affairs were arranged by Deaver & Hannaford: Reagan maintained an office at Deaver & Hannaford's Los Angeles headquarters and the firm handled Reagan speaking engagements, radio shows and syndicated newspaper columns.
During the campaign, Deaver took a leave to travel with the president and Hannaford assumed a series of other campaign roles. His most valuable role evolved as that of speechwriter, the man who seemed most in tune with Reagan's style of speaking and his approach to the issues.
But Hannaford, like his close friend, national security affairs adviser Richard V. Allen, also served as one of Reagan's foreign policy emissaries.
In February, 1980, Hannaford made a three-week world tour to meet with foreign leaders on Reagan's behalf. In a stop in South Africa, paid for by a government-funded South African foundation, Hannaford met with one of the government ministers he described as an old friend, Dr. Piet Koornhof, who coordinates black affairs in that country.
Hannaford told reporters that he found a "sincere desire to work out the future of the country for the benefit of all its people," but added: "Of course, there is disagreement as to methods and timing, but the goodwill is there."
Today, the firm is The Hannaford Co. Inc. It has absorbed Deaver's interest as well as the international consulting interests of Allen, whose receipt of a $1,000 thank-you payment from Japanese journalists has focused attention on his on-going contacts with his former Japanese clients and business associates and with Hannaford.
The White House conducted a conflict-of-interest review of the sale of Allen's Potomac International Corp. to Hannaford. The terms of the sale called for Hannaford to make fixed installment payments to Allen totaling about $70,000.
The White House counsel's office said last week that it found no conflict in the arrangement. But on the day Allen announced he was taking administrative leave from his job, he also announced that Hannaford had paid off the balance of the installment debt, $50,000, in one lump sum after the arrangment was publicized.
Hannaford's help in arranging the now famous five-minute intervew of Nancy Reagan by reporters from a Japanese women's magazine has brought him unwanted publicity. After he acknowledged that he had met the Japanese journalists in Allen's 16th Street consulting office, Hannaford was interviewed by the FBI.
It was later revealed that Hannaford had purchased Deaver's stock interests in Deaver & Hannaford Inc. through another installment arrangement. The White House said, however, that the installments were paid off in a lump sum last July.
Although he certainly rejects the label, Hannaford projects himself as a quiet and effective "Mr. Fixit" in the Reagan era. Hannaford sent out a brochure last spring to clients and reporters and included a photocopy of a very complimentary Washington Star profile that described him in a headline as "A PR Man With a Difference." The caption on the full-page photograph that accompanied the profile called him "a man of references--White House references."
Still a resident of California, Hannaford has established a strong base in Washington, where he arranges many of his lunch dates at the University Club next to the Russian Embassy.
In the afterglow of the inauguration, Hannaford was busy jetting back and forth between Washington and Los Angeles to meet with clients, congressmen, and his friends and contacts in the administration. At the same time, he began work under contract to G.P. Putnam Co. on an authorized biography of President Reagan, for which he has been granted privileged access to Reagan and administration officials.
The firm now has five offices--in New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento and two in Washington. Hannaford has maintained Allen's old Potomac office at 905 16th St. in addition to the other Hannaford operations on 19th Street. From there, Hannaford has courted such foreign corporate giants as Mitsubishi and various interests in the Japanese automobile industry.
One former Allen associate who has worked closely with Hannaford in Japan is Tamotsu Takase, a frequent visitor to Allen in the White House this year. It was Takase's wife who served as interpreter for the Japanese magazine reporter who interviewed Nancy Reagan on Jan. 21. That was the day the $1,000 was "intercepted" by Allen and placed in a combination file cabinet where it sat forgotten for eight months, by his account.
Chief among Hannaford's foreign clients are countries which, for one reason or another, were in disfavor with previous administrations: Guatemala, Taiwan and Argentina. Guatemala and Argentina were the focus of Carter administration criticisms for alleged human rights violations, and American relations with Taiwan were brusquely downgraded during the normalization of U.S. relations with mainland China. Hannaford acknowledged in an interview after the election that he had discussed Guatemala with Allen. "My friends know who I represent and they know my clients' positions," he said.