WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton on Tuesday appointed his deputy chief of staff, Evelyn Lieberman, to head the Voice of America.

She will be the first female director of the international broadcast operation since its founding in 1942 at the height of World War II. If confirmed by the Senate, Mrs. Lieberman will succeed Jeff Cowan as VOA chief.

The job will be Mrs. Lieberman's fourth government position since the beginning of the Clinton administration,

Mrs. Lieberman, 52, was previously assistant to the chief of staff in the office of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, deputy White House press secretary and deputy for operations to White House chief of staff Leon Panetta.

Her promotion now frees incoming chief of staff Erskine Bowles to appoint two of his own deputies.

Bowles made deputy Harold Ickes' departure a condition for accepting the top job. Ickes' was unceremoniously passed over for chief of staff, and his future in the administration is uncertain.

Prior to joining the White House staff, Mrs. Lieberman was press secretary to Sen. Joseph R. Biden, D-Del. Previously she was director of Public Affairs for the Childrens' Defense Fund and communications director for the National Urban Coalition.

Accepting the nomination at a ceremony in the Oval Office, Mrs. Lieberman said she will do her best to help the VOA promote democracy and ``project our nation's voice to listeners around the world.''

The VOA's worldwide broadcast news operation was a key player in the Cold War. It still reaches millions of people a day in the far corners of the world.