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Federal File: Curran's Return?; In The Executive Suite; Making His Pitch

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Edward A. Curran, who was dismissed in June 1982 by former Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell as director of the National Institute of Education, is expected to return to the federal education bureaucracy as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mr. Curran, deputy director of the Peace Corps, is said to be the main contender to succeed the former chairman, William J. Bennett, now the Secretary of Education. But according to press reports, White House aides concerned about his conservative philosophy are stalling his appointment.

Mr. Curran is well-known for a letter he sent to President Reagan--without informing Secretary Bell--advocating abolition of the nie Mr. Bell took exception to Mr. Curran's action and dismissed him.

Mr. Curran is the former headmaster of the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., and worked for the Reagan campaign in 1980.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported last week that John Agresto, the deputy chairman of neh, will not get the chairmanship and will instead be appointed by President Reagan as archivist of the United States. Mr. Agresto, through a spokesman, had no comment.


Joining Secretary of Education William J. Bennett as his counselor and chief of staff is Wendell L. Willkie 2nd, grandson of the Republican Presidential candidate defeated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.

From 1982 until 1984, Mr. Willkie, 33, served as general counsel to Mr. Bennett, the chairman, at the neh Since then, he has worked at the office of the legal counsel at the White House, holding the title of associate counsel to the President.

Before his post at the endowment, Mr. Willkie, who holds a law degree from the University of Chicago, worked at the prestigious New York law firm Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett.

Mr. Willkie, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., was graduated from Harvard College in 1973 and won a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University before getting his law degree in 1978.


The new secretary of education conceded in an interview late last month that he will not be playing third base for the softball team that the Education Department plans to field this year.

As the political joke goes, Mr. Bennett, an outspoken conservative, has had trouble lately moving to the left.

"There is some question about whether Bennett can move to the left at all these days," Mr. Bennett acknowledged.

A longtime softball enthusiast, Mr. Bennett played the hot corner for the softball squad at the National Endowment for the Humanities--where he was chairman from December 1981 until last month.

But he plans to pitch this year.

"I don't know how much weight I can throw around, but [they say] if I say I want to pitch, I can pitch."

--jh

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