WASHINGTON (Jul. 18)
The offers of resignation by President Carter’s 12 Cabinet members, three Cabinet level members and 18 White House staff officials yesterday will not result in changes either among the top trio associated with foreign affairs nor other figures closely related to the Middle East and Jewish concern.
Immediately upon the announcement of the mass decisions, first by the Cabinet rank officials and shortly afterwards by the other leaders following their meetings in the White House, two decisions were understood to have been made.
The White House said the resignations of the President’s “national security team” consisting of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Defense Secretary Harold Brown and National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinsky would not be accepted by Carter.
It was understood that those to be retained also include Ambassador Robert Strauss, the President’s hand picked negotiator for the Middle East peace process; Andrew Young, his chief representative at the United Nations; and Edward Sanders, his liaison with the American Jewish community. Sanders has participated in all the Israeli-Egyptian negotiations as a member of the American representation, including the talks at Camp David last September and the Cairo-Jerusalem-Cairo talks that resulted in the Egyptian-Israeli treaty last March.
Sanders is not on the list of resigned officials that was presented to reporters yesterday but he was in the White House’s Roosevelt Room when the resignations were made and he joined them in the show of support for Carter that he is free to select a new team as if it were a new Presidential term.
However, Sanders is both a special advisor to Vance as well as to the President and while he has offices and staff personnel both in the White House and the State Department, he is on the Departs payroll and thus technically not a White House official. For that reason he was not listed.
It is considered highly unlikely that most of the other officials will be dismissed. Those about whom there is not the remotest suggestion of Presidential disappointment include Stuart Eizenstat, the assistant for domestic affairs and policy; Robert Lipshutz, the President’s counsel; Gerald Rafshoon, his communications assistant; and Anna Wexler, a political assistant.
Eizenstat, in fact, is being considered by some as having increased in stature with the President and is one of the tiny “in” group that includes only Hamilton Jordan, Carter’s chief political strategist, who is now being described as the “chief of staff” at the White House, and Presidential News Secretary Jody Powell. Brzezinsky, incidentally, is not listed as a Cabinet level official although his influence at the White House in foreign affairs is pervasive. Strauss, Young and James McIntyre, director of the office of management and budget, are the only non-Cabinet members who have Cabinet level rank, according to the White House list.