So in the end, who speaks for Mr. Reagan? Mr. Shultz has a powerful case as the architect of Mr. Reagan’s rapprochement with the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, which led to the breakthrough Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty and to negotiations that ultimately produced the original Start treaty, which was signed by Mr. Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush.

Mr. Powell was Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser, and Mr. Baker was his White House chief of staff before becoming secretary of state under the first President Bush. Mr. Buchanan was less involved in setting national security policy from his perch as the president’s communications director.

On the other side, Mr. Meese was Mr. Reagan’s White House counselor and attorney general, and thus played a less central role in foreign policy than Mr. Shultz or Mr. Powell. But he was an important figure behind the development of Mr. Reagan’s missile defense plan, and he was one of Mr. Reagan’s closest advisers, serving him since Mr. Reagan was governor of California.