WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 1973 (UPI) -- Henry A. Kissinger has become so identified with the Nixon foreign policy, both as chief negotiator and principal spokesman, that it is difficult to envisage his departure from the White House.
Yet there are some sensitive bureaucrats here who will bet the little German-born professor will not be around a year from now. They believe that once a Vietnam peace deal is made, and guaranteed by an international conference, he and the President will find it mutually desirable to end what has been a unique relationship.
In the first place there will be no "ego trips" during the second term to compare with the spectacular Peking breakthrough and the trips to Moscow to prepare the summit conference there.
The next four years, they point out, will be devoted to the diplomatic drudgery of trying to work out international trade and security agreements on the basis of the spirit of peaceful coexistence and reason flowing from the summit conference.
There will be tedious efforts necessary to exploit the opening to China.
Kissinger's friends and critics agree that this sort of drab diplomatic work is not appealing to the ambitious professor who probably will seek the limelight and money to be found in the publishing world for those who have helped manipulate the levers of power.
Very few diplomats and officials here would deny Kissinger's skill as a diplomatic technician. Many, however, believe that he would lose interest in a job as the spotlight dimmed and his role became less obvious.
Would Nixon agree to Kissinger's departure? Some White House insiders believe that the President actually would welcome, if not hasten, it once Kissinger has succeeded in nailing down a Vietnam ceasefire.
Nixon is known on occasion to have expressed irritation at the tendency of the press to talk about Kissinger's policies instead of Nixon's and his displeasure over Kissinger's penchant for being publicized as a "swinger" led recently to a suggestion by the President that the 49-year-old policy strategist curtail his public appearances with beautiful women.
When asked by Nixon to take charge of negotiations in 1969 Kissinger jumped at the chance for involvement-approaching it from the standpoint that both Hanoi and Washington wanted peace.
As time went on, Kissinger-despite himself-found himself talking about the U.S. commitment to Vietnam and the form of the solution there as a vital test of the credibility of American guarantees elsewhere. He began, at times, to sound almost like former President Lyndon Johnson when the latter equated the U.S. commitment to Saigon with that of the American pledge to Berlin and NATO.
Even so, it is believed that Kissinger found the recent massive "carpet bombing" of North Vietnam distasteful and unnecessary in skillful diplomacy.
All the speculation concerning the possible departure of Kissinger may be wrong, but most observers believe that once he extricates himself from Vietnam there will be more reasons for him to leave than to stay, and that the President will agree.