The Cable

Roemer for India

Former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer (D-IN), left, will be nominated to be U.S. ambassador to India, The Cable has learned. The former member of the 9/11 commission and president of the Center for National Policy endorsed Obama early and was key to his electoral victory in Indiana, a Washington foreign-policy hand explained. Roemer was on a conference call and could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lots is going to come out very soon on the ambassador front, sources said, including the Roemer nomination. Roemer associates had previously conveyed his disappointment at getting passed over for the CIA job, which went to Leon Panetta.

All the key Europe ambassador jobs are expected to go to Obama people, not Clinton people, with one exception, the source said. Former Clinton foreign policy advisor Lee Feinstein is expected to get nominated for an ambassador position in Eastern Europe, possibly Poland. (Feinstein, a former deputy director of policy planning now with the Brookings Institution, previously declined to comment). The decisions are a sign that the ambassador appointments are all coming out of the White House, not the State Department.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has declined the Paris job, associates say, and it will go to someone else. It's not clear who will get it, but is said to be someone who comes from the world outside of Washington foreign policy circles.

The current U.S. ambassador to Moscow, John Beyrle, may stay on the job.

FILE PHOTO: Mannie Garcia/Getty Images

The Cable

Black box: a peek into the ambassadors selection process

The Obama administration hopes to make a batch of announcements of its picks for "first-tier" embassies all at once in the coming weeks, including London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Moscow, Delhi, Beijing, Tokyo and Ottawa, The Cable hears.

Harvard's Joseph Nye is described as "a lock" for the Tokyo job.  (He previously declined to comment).

Media reports that London would go to Obama donor Louis Susman are said to be correct. Associates waved off whispers that former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn is a possible choice to be U.S. ambassador to Moscow.

Beyond those discussed earlier for the Beijing job, The Cable has learned that David Shambaugh, George Washington University's director of China policy and a leading U.S. authority on contemporary Chinese affairs, has been on the list. (Shambaugh declined to comment.)

Two names have been rumored for the India job: GWU's Karl Inderfurth, a former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs who advised the Obama campaign on South Asian issues, and Chicago Council of Global Affairs President Marshall Bouton, a former COO and executive vice president of the Asia Society, who previously served as a special assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Delhi. (Inderfurth declined to comment, and Bouton couldn't be immediately reached.)

Washington recently appointed former ambassador to Sri Lanka Peter Burleigh to serve as the charge d'affairs and acting head of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi for four months, after the February departure of the previous ambassador, David Mulford, to become the vice chairman of Credit Suisse.   "India is just about to begin national elections," in April and May, a Washington South Asia veteran said. "Until the elections are over and a new government is formed, India is unlikely to be in full engagement mode, and it's good to have an experienced diplomat there" -- Burleigh -- "in the interim months."

A batch of next-tier ambassador nominees could come in May/June.

Sources said the deputies committee, led by Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, has been generating short lists of possible ambassador appointments to forward to the White House for further consideration. A foreign embassy official said on condition of anonymity that the Obama administration recently declined to tell the embassy who its ambassador pick for the country in question would be, but assured them it would be a "great person" they "would love."