DEFOREST, Wis. (AP) _ At the request of presumptive presidential nominee George W. Bush, Gov. Tommy Thompson said Friday he has agreed to chair the Platform Committee at the Republican National Convention.

The role is a challenging one, since it will likely require negotiating a unified position on such controversial issues as abortion and trade relations with China.

``I did not seek this; it was sort of thrust upon me,'' Thompson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. '' (Bush) asked me to do it for him, and that's what I'm doing.''

Thompson said he would take the position on the condition that he has direct contact with Bush and his aides, so that he can develop a platform that the Texas governor is comfortable with.

``It's not going to be my ideas, what I think it best for the party,'' Thompson said.

The governor said he expects to hold regional hearings across the nation before the July 31-Aug.3 convention in Philadelphia.

Each state sends two delegates to the Platform Committee, whose first decisions are made by subcommittees and then forwarded to the full committee.

Thompson refused to speculate about what the Republican Party platform might embody.

``I'm not going in there with an agenda at all,'' he said. ``I will . . . develop a platform that is common sense and which unifies this party. That's my goal, to unify this party and develop a platform that is going to be successful for this campaign in the fall.''

Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois was GOP Platform Committee chairman in 1996, and Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma had the job in 1992.