WASHINGTON — President Reagan is planning to name William A. Brown, a leading expert on Soviet affairs, as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, a senior U.S. official said today.
Brown, 57, now the U.S. envoy to Thailand, will replace Thomas R. Pickering, a career foreign service officer who has served in Tel Aviv since 1985 and is being considered for another post in the State Department.
Assuming he is confirmed by the Senate, Brown will play an important role in the growing U.S. drive to promote peace talks between Israel and Jordan. His job would entail trying to persuade a reluctant Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to yield territory on the West Bank in exchange for a settlement.
Shamir's resistance to a concession opposed by the Likud coalition could test the diplomatic skill of the 32-year veteran of the foreign service.
Brown served as deputy ambassador to Tel Aviv from 1979 to 1981. He is known primarily as an expert in Soviet and Asian affairs and as a linguist.