PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Former White House chief of staff James A. Baker III said today "nobody ought to second-guess" presidential aides now embroiled in the scandal over arms sales to Iran and secret funding of the Nicaraguan rebels.
As he left a meeting of Republican governors, Baker, who became Treasury secretary early in President Reagan's second term, refused to speculate on whether he might return to his old job.
Baker moved to the Treasury in February, 1985, in a job switch with Donald T. Regan. Some prominent Republicans have urged Reagan to fire Regan as chief of staff as a step in dealing with the current controversy.
Baker talked to the Republican Governors Assn. about taxes and the economy. The subjects of Iran and aid to the \o7 contras \f7 never came up.
But as he left, Baker was surrounded by reporters and asked to comment on speculation that if he had been in the White House the affair never would have happened.
"Nobody ought to second-guess anybody in those jobs in there," he replied. "Those are extremely tough jobs, and I've been there and I know."
Although Baker and the governors avoided any mention of the Iran-contra matter in the formal session, it continued to dominate talk in the corridors.
"I don't think you've seen what the effect of it is going to be," said GOP pollster Robert Teeter. "It's got to play out for a while."