White House advisers' ups, downs
Some procedural changes in the White House are stirring up considerable speculation in Washington. Richard V. Allen, national security affairs adviser, will no longer orally brief President Reagan each morning.
Instead, he will send along a daily briefing paper to Mr. Reagan and stand ready to answer questions should the President ask for more information on subjects covered in the memo.
A White House spokesman told the Monitor that this was in no way a demotion for Mr. Allen, that it was simply a way of better utilizing the President's time.
However, when another White House aide was asked whether this meant that Allen was being downgraded, he said, "That's a good question. In all fairness, accessibility to the President is very important. If Allen now sees the President less, it won't be good for him."
Another White House source said the daily briefings had become too long and, in some instances, were coming close to being decisionmaking sessions -- "which is not their function."
The daily briefings were attended by Vice-President George Bush, either Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. or Deputy Secretary of State William P. Clark, Edwin Meese III, James Baker III, Michael Deaver, and Adm. Daniel Murphy -- along with Allen.
Now the President will be stepping up his meetings with his full National Security Council: Mr. Bush, Mr. Haig, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, CIA Director William J. Casey, together with Messers. Allen, Meese, Baker, and Deaver.
The President will schedule three morning sessions a week with this group, although aides say that, unless there is an emergency, the meetings will likely be held to two each week.
Some observers see in this move a desire to make sure that two of the President's closest associates, Mr. Weinberger and Mr. Casey, always be involved in the foreign policy decisionmaking process.
In addition, the President has moved pre-Ottawa summit preparations from the vice-president to presidential aide Deaver.
This has stirred some speculation about whether Mr. Bush, who headed a task force preparing for Ottawa, had failed in this important project, making a last-minute change necessary.
However, White House spokesman Larry Speakes said July 13 that the changeover had been according to plan. "The vice-president was only to be the coordinator, setting up preliminary preparations. Then the final fine-tuning of the plans were to be done by Mik e Deaver."