Signing on With Reagan


Week two of the Reagan Era brought a flurry of activity in planning for the transition, and with it a flurry of speculation about who's going to fit in where.

While the brain trust, as such, of the new administration will be culled from colleges like Stanford, the University of Southern California and Georgetown, and conservative think-tanks like the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, at least one Harvard faculty member is likely to get a high advisory post.

Richard E. Pipes, Baird Professor of History and a Reagan foreign policy and defense adviser during the campaign, will be named to the Republican's State Department transition committee, sources said this week. A hard-line Soviet expert who opposes the pending arms limitation treaty and supports sharp increases in defense spending, Pipes stands out in the Harvard faculty's liberal plains like a Titan II missile.

Reagan aides--including William R. Van Cleave, chief of planning for the Defense Department transition, and Pipes himself--say he will probably fill the slot vacated by veteran Soviet expert Marshall D. Shulman, who served until last month as special adviser on Soviet affairs to Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie.

Where Pipes fits in the ideological battle between long-time right-wing Reagan foreign policy aides--such as Richard V. Allen, in charge of overall foreign policy transition--and former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger '50 and other old hands from the Ford administration, is not known. But one Washington Reagan defense adviser said this week Pipes is acceptable to both factions.


Besides Pipes, the Harvard name that pops up most often is Martin S. Feldstein '61, professor of Economics, who could not be reached for comment this week. Sources suggest that Feldstein, who was considered for the post of chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in 1976, could be tapped for that position this time around.

Aside from celebrity gazing, many members of the Harvard community have a different concern with the new government: draft registration. While President Carter's program remains in legal limbo pending a Supreme Court decision on whether it unconstitutionally discriminates against men, the possibility that Reagan could terminate it by executive order also raises hopes among the unnumbered thousands who refused to register.

During his presidential campaign--and in the Republican platform rammed through in Detroit--Reagan opposed peace-time registration, as well as a peace-time draft, emphasizing the need to attract and retain better military personnel by improving pay and retirement benefits.

While reiterating Reagan's stated positions, his aides were unclear this week as to what specific actions the President-elect would take after taking office on January 20. Reagan's "number-one priority" will be his goal of a million-man reserve, defense adviser Charles Kupperman said, though he added, "I know he wants to give the all-volunteer force a chance to succeed." Pipes called an executive order to terminate registration "logical but not terribly practicable" and "a very wrong signal to the Russians."

Another Reagan defense aide stressed that it was too early to tell. "I know it's a very topical issue on college campuses," he said, "but you've got to start changing the government before you start changing policy."

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