Excerpts from the Sorensen transition plan for Speaker Carl Albert: PRIORITIES OF THE FIRST DAY -- THE INAUGURATION
TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE. You should be sworn in as soon as possible, within a matter of hours after the vacancy occurs.
WHERE? The East Room of the White House is preferable to any Capitol Hill location as a symbol of the transfer of power. An outdoor ceremony or a large auditorium would be inappropriate.
WHO ADMINISTERS THE OATH? The chief justice is the best symbol of nonpartisan continuity, although any federal judicial officer will do if you have a strong preference. A family Bible should be on hand.
WHO ATTENDS? Numbers are limited by both the size of the room and the fact that a small, quiet ceremony is the most appropriate. Invite your family, close friends and aides, leaders of the House and Senate from both parties, members of the Cabinet and Supreme Court and a pool of correspondents and photographers.
In keeping with the need for visibly demonstrating to the world a calm and purposeful takeover, television cameras on a pool basis should be allowed. It should be a somber occasion -- no music or refreshments. PRESERVATION OF WHITE HOUSE FILES
Depending upon the circumstances creating the vacancy, a possibly unpleasant but obligatory task, which if ignored might open you to charges of dereliction and on which the advice and assistance of the attorney general and/or special prosecutor and/or Senate Watergate committee counsel will be required, is to immediately take such steps and issue such orders (implemented by the FBI) as may be necessary to prevent the destruction or dispersal of any files or tapes until an orderly decision on their future can be made by the appropriate legal authorities. A "QUICK FIX" ON THE NATIONAL SECURITY SITUATION
An immediate briefing from the director of the CIA, a briefing from the existing White House military aide regarding the "buttons," the courier who follows you about and the emergency facilities at your disposal, and a brief meeting with the National Security Council can all be limited the first day to ascertaining the answers to two questions . . .
Are there any crises or danger spots likely to explode this week . . . and what are the procedures to be followed that will assure your knowing of all developments in the national security before any commitments or responses are made in your name? THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT
Assuming the vacancy has not been caused by the death or disability of the outgoing president, you should meet with him to pledge an orderly and efficient transfer of authority and an administration of national unity, to request his cooperation and advice and to discuss practical problems of his moving out and your moving in to the residence and Oval Office. CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS AIDE
. . . must know Hill, be liked there and be willing to spend considerable time in sheer palaver and hand-holding. YOUR PERSONAL STAFF
. . . Select only those individuals in whom you have supreme personal confidence . . . the program and policy aide need not be a lawyer but, if he is, he can be called Special Counsel -- a once honorable title . . .
All in all, appointment decisions are potentially the most important decisions you will make as president. Do not overlook talent already in the Executive Branch, and scrupulously avoid any conflict-of-interest problems.
In selecting both aides at the start and Cabinet and other appointees later, the most careful check is required (as the Eagleton and Agnew experiences demonstrate) inasmuch as most well-known figures are rarely equal to their reputations and those whom you do not know will often seem more attractive than those friends whose limitations you do know. PROJECTING YOUR COMMAND OF THE OFFICE TO THE WORLD
(a) Work with U.S. Information Agency on material to be broadcast and distributed abroad. (b) Work with State on cables to principal heads of state and heads of government, reassuring in particular Israel, Japan, western Europe, China and U.S.S.R. (c) Plan an early address to the U.N. . . . travel abroad would be unwise and unnecessary. A FEW CAUTIONARY REMINDERS
. . . Beware of men, agencies and nations seeking to take advantage of the pressures, to test you, to commit you or to outmaneuver you . . . Identify and get rid of any holdovers undercutting you or forming factions . . .
Do not let the press or anyone else set artificial deadlines for you . . . You must be your own man, listening to your own common sense, conscience and convictions even when they differ from the experts, the pressure or the majority opinion. "BASIC POSTURE": BASIS OF EARLIEST PUBLIC STATEMENTS AS PRESIDENT
"At no time did I seek this awesome burden, but I cannot shrink from my responsibility. Under the statute long ago considered with care and lawfully enacted by the representatives of the people convened in Congress, my election by the House of Representatives as Speaker placed me next in line for the high office to which I have now succeeded.
"Between now and Jan. 20, 1977, I intend to fulfill the obligations of that office to the best of my ability. I shall not be a candidate for the presidency in 1976 or at any other time. Farther down in the document, Sorensen recommended that no final decision be made on this.
"Our principal task now is to heal the wounds which have sorely divided and troubled our country and to renew our national spirit. To this end, I pledge a nonpartisan administration of national reconciliation and unity . . . . With your help, and with God's help, we shall not fail." OTHER DECISIONS TO BE MADE IN THE FIRST WEEK
You should have a vice president soon. If as a part of your nonpartisan approach, you want Gerry Ford and that is still appropriate, you could include that in your Statement upon Taking the Oath of Office . . .
NOTE: I question whether it is necessary or desirable to commit yourself to resigning in favor of a Republican vice president. That would only heighten the impression of political instability in our government.
You are the legitimately chosen successor selected by our most representative body under a longstanding plan adopted by the legislative branch. This is stressed along with the nonpartisan nature of your administration in the oath-taking statement, which speaks in terms of your remaining until Jan. 20, 1977, and to that I recommend adding your selection of a Republican vice president . . . .
. . . Do you want to influence the choice of your successor as Speaker? Do you want to influence the choice of your successor in your House seat? If so, you will want to take quiet steps promptly. RESIDENCE
Allow the Nixon family adequate time to move. Decide which if any other residence you want to keep, and dispose of the rest. Your wife should tour the mansion and discuss plans and staff needs with the head usher and chief gardener. See Camp David . . . ." FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
Exchange for government bonds or place in blind trust any remaining securities you and your family own, resign any directorships or memberships and sell any property that could conceivably prove embarrassing. Your salary will be $200,000 plus a $50,000 personal allowance.