President-elect Ronald Reagan is on the verge of choosing those who will be most influential in helping him govern. Gen. Alexander M. Haig now is understood to have the inside track on becoming secretary of state. But the decision has not been made.
Mr. Reagan was leaning toward choosing former Treasury secretary George P. Shultz. But Mr. Shultz has said he prefers to remain in private life.
Henry A. Kissinger's name still is being mentioned, mainly by former President Gerald Ford. But Mr. Kissinger has his foes among very influential people who are close to Reagan.
It is understood that Caspar Weinberger is in the running for this key position. And both John B. Connally and former Treasury secretary William E. Simon have been considered.
The secretary of defense post may go to Sen. John G. Tower (R) of Texas. Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D) of Washington is another strong possibility, particularly if the President-elect decides that this is the best way he can bring bipartisanship into his cabinet.
Mr. Reagan is looking at a number of possibilities for secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Simon may be heading the list -- particularly since many leading conservatives are telling Reagan that Simon is right for the job.
It seems that the heads of the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers will be chosen from two of the following: Simon, Alan Greenspan, Charls E. Walker, Arthur F. Burns, Paul W. McCracken, and Jack Kemp. Also, George Shultz might be persuaded to take the Treasury spot.
Richard Allen, who was high on the National Security Council staff under President Nixon, seems in line to replace Zbigniew Brzezinski as assistant to the president for national security affairs.
Mr. Weinberger -- who was in Reagan's cabinet when the President-elect was governor of California and served in Republican administrations in Washington as director of the Office of Management and Budget and secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare -- will certainly be given a very important position. Perhaps he will become to Reagan what Lloyd Cutler has been to President Carter -- senior counselor. Or he may go back to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
REagan has decided to retain William Webster as FBI chief. But Stansfield Turner is out at the Central Intelligence Agency, Reagan campaign manager William J. Casey his likely successor.
Their are a number of applicants for US attorney general, but no indication what Reagan will do about this appointment. Some observers think he will choose his personal attorney, William French Smith.
US Sen. Paul Laxalt (R) of Arizona, a close friend of Reagan's, just might be tapped for a high-level appointment. But it seems more likely that Mr. Laxalt will remain in the Senate and serve as an unofficial but very-much-listened-to adviser to the new President.
Where will Reagan go to fill other cabinet posts -- Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services, Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development , and Education?
He is understood to be looking favorably at bringing some Republican governors, like William Milliken of Michigan, Jay Hammond of Alaska, and Robert Ray of Iowa, into key posts.
Also, Reagan may well turn to his close friends in the California business community to serve in positions like Commerce, Transportation, and Energy.
Finally, US Rep. David Stockman (R) of Michigan is being talked about here as a good possibility for OMB director. And observers think Carolyn Warner, a top education official in Arizona and a Democrat, may be the new secretary of education -- again a move that would add a bipartisan flavor to the cabinet.