WASHINGTON REPORT

French Bank Official to Head IMF

MICHEL CAMDESSUS, the Bank of France governor, is expected to win election this week as the International Monetary Fund's next managing director.The IMF's board of directors will decide between the two candidates for the post - Mr. Camdessus and Onno Ruding, the Netherlands' finance minister.

Mr. Camdessus, it is widely believed, will get the most votes, partly

because of his relative popularity among less developed nations. He is viewed as a more flexible policy-maker than Mr. Ruding.

Mr. Ruding, an outspoken economic conservative, also may have antagonized U.S. officials by his past vigorous criticism of U.S. fiscal policies.

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POTSHOTS STILL are being aimed at Deputy Treasury Secretary Richard Darman for his recent criticism of U.S. business attitudes.

One of the latest came from Murray Weidenbaum, who once chaired President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors and who still consults with the White House on occasion.

Mr. Weidenbaum did not like the newest fad among domestic policy players in Washington, of chewing out U.S. firms for being bloated, risk-averse, inefficient and unimaginative, as Mr. Darman put it.

The economist heads the Center for the Study of American Business, Washington University, St. Louis, and said he hears unhappy responses to the attack from all around the country.

He cautiously supported the Darman idea of shifting attention from what Mr. Weidenbaum called the easy answer of trade restriction and protectionism to looking at ourselves, to im prove our own productivity.

But such criticism of the private sector by a federal official doesn't go down well . . . (the) mission isn't accomplished, Mr. Weidenbaum told a meeting here.

He found it ironic that the attack on business is led by people whose work experience extends all the way from Harvard to federal agencies in Washington.

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REP. NORMAN MINETA, D-Calif., chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, will make an early move in the next Congress to take the airport and airways improvement program off budget.

He tried several times in the last Congress to separate the program from the normal appropriations process so that more money in the aviation trust fund would be spent. He could have more leverage this time around because the ticket and cargo taxes which feed the trust fund expire in September.

The congressman and Sen. James Exon, the Nebraska Democrat expected to chair the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, have both threatened to kill the taxes if funding procedures are not revamped to their satisfaction.

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BIG MONEY isn't involved but it kicked up a fight in the last Congress and the Reagan administration is likely to open it all up again when the new budget is unveiled next month.

It's the roughly $10 million in federal aid to help the six state maritime academies - Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, California and Michigan - provide low-cost, college-level education for prospective merchant marine officers.

In the face of certain congressional opposition, the administration will try again to block the $10 million and make an effort either to eliminate the five training ships involved - Michigan doesn't have one - or reduce the number of ships to two, perhaps one on each coast.

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THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT'S release of a report on the potential for developing oil and gas reserves in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a welcome and unexpected bonus at the end of a tough year, according to a Washington petroleum industry lobbyist.

The report, out for public comment, calls the 1.5 million acre coastal plain of the refuge the most outstanding oil and gas frontier remaining in the United States. The area also is known for being the calving grounds for the large migratory Porcupine Caribou herd.

The American Petroleum Institute issued a statement saying it was pleased that the Interior Department has taken the first important step toward opening the coastal plain of Alaska to oil and gas exploration and development.

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THE RUMOR MILL has begun cranking out names of possible successors to Carl Bagge who announced his intention to step down from the presidency of the National Coal Association. Among those mentioned is Sen. Mark Andrews, R-N.D., who lost his re-election bid in November but who has been a strong supporter of rail regulatory reform legislation backed by NCA.

A. Denny Ellerman, NCA's executive vice president who directed the association during Mr. Bagge's absence this year due to illness, also is considered a leading candidate for the position, according to sources close to the lobbying group.

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OH, WE GOT TROUBLE, right here on the Potomac! With a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'C' and that stands for CURE! So went the chorus of an Association of American Railroads' salute to (or at) the Consumers United for Rail Equity, its coal and utility industry opponents on the issue of railroad re- regulation.

Dan Lang, AAR's vice president for information and public affairs, adapted the warning in The Music Man about the evils of pool and sang and danced the result, with choral accompaniment, at an association Christmas party.

An excerpt:

But just as I say it takes judgment, brains and cost control to make a good contract - I say any lawyer can take and file a protest!

And I call that rot, the first big step on the road to the depths of re- regulation - I say first a change in the revenue standard, then cost-based rates! And the next thing you know, every railroad rate is regulated - not by the marketplace, No! But by a federal bureaucrat! Remember when we couldn't do a thing without running to the ICC? Make your blood boil? Well, I should say!

Does the musical tribute mean that CURE is getting under the rail industry's skin, that its tactics are working on the railroad(s)?

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