WASHINGTON (Jan. 26)
James Baker Ill was confirmed as secretary of state by a 98-0 vote of the Senate Wednesday. But there is still no indication as to who will run the State Department’s various bureaus.
This includes those of particular interest to the Jewish community, such as the assistant secretaries of state for the Near East and South Asia, human rights and humanitarian affairs, and Europe and Canada.
The greatest speculation has centered around who Bush will name to succeed Richard Murphy as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.
Names being mentioned are Robert Oakley, who was in charge of Middle East issues at the National Security Council before being named ambassador to Pakistan; Frank Wisner, ambassador to Egypt; and Robert Pelletreau Jr., ambassador to Tunisia, who at present is the only U.S. diplomat authorized to meet with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Baker already has named Lawrence Eagleburger as deputy secretary of state, the No. 2 position in the department, and Robert Kimmitt, a former National Security Council official who has been a close aide to Baker, as undersecretary of state for political affairs, the No. 3 position in the department.
Baker has also named two other longtime associates to State Department posts. Margaret Tutweiler was named assistant secretary for public affairs and department spokeswoman.
Robert Zoellick, who was Baker’s counselor at the Treasury Department, will hold a similar post at the State Department.
Baker has also named Dennis Ross, a Jew who was President Bush’s senior foreign policy adviser during the presidential campaign, as director of policy planning.