Pipes Proposes New State Dept. Post
Reagan Team Reported Split on Idea
Richard E. Pipes, Baird Professor of History, and several other members of President-elect Reagan's State Department transition team have recommended the creation of an undersecretary of state for East-West and U.S.-Soviet relations, members of the transition team said yesterday.
A majority of the State Department transition team, however, oppose the proposal--which would involve what was described as a major restructuring of the department's hierarchy, Robert G. Neumann, the leader of the team, said last night.
Pipes is reportedly pushing for a major reorganization of the State Department to aid implementation of a Reagan foreign policy that will place greater emphasis on viewing international issues in a U.S. Soviet context.
Pipes refused to comment yesterday on the recommendation, but Neumann predicted that it would not be adopted.
"Of course, his [Pipes] views will be presented, but they are not the views of the entire team and they certainly are not mine," Neumann, a former ambassador to Morocco and Afghanistan, said.
The proposal appears in an interim transition team report to be presented to Gen. Alexander M. Haig, whom Reagan yesterday nominated for secretary of state. Neumann said, adding. "It is not going to happen, in my opinion.
"We don't know what Haig's plans are going to be, but the proposal is still kicking around, one State Department team member said, referring to the proposal for a sixth undersecretary of state.
The transition team sources said that the proposal was not designed to fit any particular individual, but they acknowledged that Pipes, a specialist on Soviet affiars, would be one candidate.
Pipes yesterday described as "sheer and total fabrication" a paragraph in a quotation attributed to him in a New York Times column yesterday in which Pipes is reported to be proposing a State Department reorganization "which would move away from geographic subdivisions toward organizing along the lines of Communist and non-Communist states,"
"The gist of that is not accurate," Pipes, a Soviet historian, said. Flora Lewis, who wrote the column, could not be reached for comment.
Pipes also said that no decision had been made on what post, if any, he will assume in the new Reagan administration. "There's a lot of fluidity in these jobs...they have to be defined and negotiated," he said, adding that he had not yet spoken to Haig about a possible position.
One high-ranking defense transition source said yesterday that Pipes, who has often been mentioned for a State Department advisory post, might end up with a part-time National Security Council position that would allow him to continue teaching.
"I think Reagan, Messe [counselor to Reagan] and foreign policy aide Richard V. Allen would rather have Pipes in the White House than in State, but Haig is yet to be heard from and they might fight over him," the source said.
As described by several members of the 15-man Reagan State Department transition team, the recommendation put forward by Pipes and others would establish a new State Department bureau that would "cross geographical considerations" in handling U.S.-Soviet relations.
In the process, the position of special advisor to the secretary of state on Soviet affairs would be eliminated in favor of a new undersecretary of state with far greater authority and staff resources.
Currently, five undersecretaries of state--for management, economic affairs, political affairs, security assistance and technology, and counselor to the department--serve directly under the secretary. There are 16 assistant secretaries, which deal with geographic areas, who serve below the undersecretaries.
One alternative proposal reportedly under consideration by the Reagan State Department team is to split the office of the assistant secretary of state for European affairs into separate offices for eastern and western Europe, a senior Reagan defense transition source said.
The team members cautioned that they have not handed in their final report, that the proposal was "just a possibility," and that Congress would have to pass legislation to establish the new position