President Reagan indicated Monday that the successor to Attorney General Edwin Meese will be male and that the announcement will be made soon.
"There will be an announcement coming shortly on that. I can't give you the date or the hour," Reagan said."Anyone we know?" a reporter asked.
The president replied, "You've probably heard of him."
That appeared to rule out the job going to, among others who have figured in speculation, Lois Haight Her-rington, a former assistant attorney general under Meese, and Elizabeth Dole, the former secretary of transportation.
The president's spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, said later that the administration wants to announce its nominee for the job before Congress adjourns at the end of the week but that the announcement probably would not be Monday. The Senate must confirm cabinet members.
Reagan was asked about the Meese replacement during a photo session with El Salvador's President Jose Napoleon Duarte, who is returning to his country after being treated here for cancer.
Meese, meanwhile, is complaining about news leaks of an independent counsel's report less than a week after he declared that he was vindicated by it.
Meese, who has announced he will resign by early August, said Sunday that whoever leaked details of the report should be held in contempt of court.
Meese also denied a claim by his former deputy that he offered his close friend E. Robert Wallach a job in the Justice Department while Meese was aware Wallach was under criminal investigation.
Wallach, a lawyer and longtime Meese confidant, is awaiting trial in New York on a racketeering indictment accusing him and two others of taking illegal payments from Wedtech Corp., a Bronx, N.Y., defense contractor, to influence government officials.
Independent counsel James McKay filed his report on Meese in federal court last week, an indication that he does not plan to seek indictments of the attorney general. The report is still under court seal, but both Meese and President Reagan maintained last week that it vindicates the attorney general.
However, The New York Times on Saturday quoted portions of the report raising ethical questions about Meese's conduct, including the job offer to Wallach.