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Christopher tipped for key position

WASHINGTON - The choice of the little-known Arkansas businessman Thomas 'Mack' McLarty to be Bill Clinton's White House Chief of Staff has increased speculation that the president-elect may turn to his most experienced foreign-policy adviser, Warren Christopher, to fill the key post of Secretary of State, writes Rupert Cornwell.

Mr Clinton is predictably offering no clues, and no further big appointments are expected until Wednesday, after the economic 'summit' of 300-plus industry, financial and union leaders in Little Rock which opens today. But in a television interview Mr Christopher, a Los Angeles lawyer who was Deputy Secretary of State in the Carter administration, conspicuously failed to rule himself out of contention. Earlier he had been seen as a front-runner for the Chief of Staff job.

The other most-touted candidates for State Department are the current Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell and the New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley.