White House chief of staff Donald T. Regan has put off a decision about the future of the Office of Public Liaison until its director, Faith Ryan Whittlesey, leaves for her new job as ambassador to Switzerland, aides say. Regan has also put off the choice of a successor, but is expected to fill the job with a woman.
Officials said the public liaison office could wind up almost anywhere on the White House organizational chart. It will probably fall under one of Regan's deputies. Among those who have expressed interest are communications director Patrick J. Buchanan and political director Edward J. Rollins, the officials said. But the divisions of domestic policy assistant John A. Svahn and legislative liaison Max L. Friedersdorf are possibilities. Meanwhile, the office's deputy director, Frank J. Donatelli, is working to organize a business coalition to back President Reagan's proposed budget cuts. ELSEWHERE ON THE PERSONNEL FRONT . . .
White House aides say Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is joining the Rollins staff to handle intergovernmental relations . . . . Deputy chief of staff Michael K. Deaver is telling friends he expects to be out of the West Wing by about May 1, but the pres- ident's trip to Europe in early May could delay that slightly. HELP WANTED . . . .
Peter Teeley, longtime press secretary to Vice President Bush, is leaving this week to open his own firm. The Bush people are searching for a replacement, keeping in mind Bush's tangles with reporters in last year's campaign. Some would have liked to recruit John Buckley, the deputy Reagan-Bush Committee spokesman, but he has gone to work for Bush's GOP rival, Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.). RANCH TIME . . . .
The president appeared to get a little defensive when Santa Barbara News-Press reporter Jerry Rankin asked: "What do you get from attacking all that innocent wood" at his California ranch.
Reagan replied: "Well, now, remember though, the environmentalists I am sure will be happy to know, we don't cut down trees for firewood. We have to cut the firewood because the only heat we have . . . comes from firewood and such. But, no, we don't cut down trees. We've done it by things that are down, and there's always -- in as much woods as we have -- there's always trees that come down by themselves, that nature takes care of. And those we cut up. And sometimes, some judicious pruning, where we think we can improve the tree with a little pruning." BRIGHT LIGHTS . . .
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was comparing notes with Reagan about the use of TelePrompTers for speeches, just after using one in her address to Congress last week. "We were just comparing notes because I'm not to used to it," Thatcher said during an Oval Office photo session with the president. "And there's always a little worry that one of them, you know, might stop working.
"I have a text always," she added. "I went into one speech . . . intending to use the TelePrompTer and the lights behind it were so strong that you could not see a word . . . ."
Reagan: "That has to be worked out. Yes, that can happen."
Thatcher: "So you have to have always your speech with you."
Reagan: "Yes, that can happen."
Thatcher: "If the worst comes to the worst, we could always ad lib, you know, but not for the great diplomatic speeches."