The head of the U.S. Information Agency tried to fire the director of the Voice of America last week, but the White House said VOA's Richard Carlson still enjoyed President Bush's confidence, officials said Tuesday. One government source close to the situation, speaking only on condition of anonymity, described a confrontation between USIA Director Bruce Gelb and Carlson over a decision last month to eliminate six of VOA's 43 language services in an effort to save $3-million.
White House personnel director Chase Untermeyer, while declining to go into the question of any dispute between Gelb and Carlson, said Tuesday that he had met in recent days with the two - both presidential appointees whose nominations had been approved by the Senate.
Gelb is a personal friend of Bush and a campaign fund-raiser, and Untermeyer said Carlson was held over from the Reagan administration, "proof that he has our support."
While declining to discuss what he had told the two men, Untermeyer did say that now "all is calm at USIA."