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Secretary Seeks Rich Donor to Secure a Stately Home

April 02, 1985|JENNINGS PARROTT

--The State Department, with an eye to security, is looking for a tax-conscious patriot to donate a "comfortable house" as a permanent residence for the secretary of state (currently George P. Shultz), officials said. No Cabinet member has an official residence, although taxpayers provide temporary homes in Washington for the President and the vice president. Clement Conger, the State Department's curator, said he has been asked to keep his ears open on the social circuit for a suitable house that could be made safe from terrorist threats. The donor would get a tax break, and the taxpayers would save money because the need to install new security equipment for each new secretary would be eliminated, officials said. More than $1 million has been spent for "security-related equipment at residences of the last five secretaries," a department spokesman said. Conger, who has helped persuade many wealthy Americans to donate antiques to help adorn official State Department entertaining rooms, said a mansion is not necessary, because the secretary meets his official social obligations at the department headquarters.

--Commercial photographer Bob Thoman is gearing up for a big show. He's taking a group picture of 5,338--the entire population of Vandalia, Ill.--for the centerpiece of a Chamber of Commerce industrial development brochure. Vandalia residents will congregate April 20 on one city block, look up and grin as Thoman, working 45 feet in the air from a utility company's bucket truck, captures the collective smile. "Actually," he said, "I don't think it will be as difficult as doing a wedding group, because everybody doesn't have to be looking the same way at the same time."

--Even before Jeane J. Kirkpatrick officially left her post last Friday as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the exclusive Harry Walker Inc. speakers agency of New York had nearly filled a 40-engagement speaking tour for the next year. The agency declined to say what her fees would be, but said they will "rank with those of the most sought-after speakers in the world today." Some of the agency's clients include Gerald R. Ford, Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig Jr. and Geraldine A. Ferraro. Past clients include President Reagan and Vice President George Bush before they took office.

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