Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. (born December 2, 1924) was a general in the United States Army who commanded an infantry division in Vietnam, then returned stateside in 1969 to become a member of Henry Kissinger's national security council staff. Haig helped South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to negotiate the final cease-fire talks in 1972.
From 1973 until 1974, Haig served as Richard Nixon's White House Chief of Staff, during which he played a large "crisis management" role as the Watergate scandal unfolded. Authors Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin speculate in their 1991 book Silent Coup: The Removal of a President that Haig may have been "Deep Throat", Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's source in the Watergate story, since Woodward was a communications officer in the Navy in 1969 and 1970 and was responsible for briefing then-Brigadier General Haig while he was a member of the National Security Council. Haig adamantly denies this speculation in his 1992 book Inner Circles: How America Changed the World.
In 1981 he was appointed as Ronald Reagan's Secretary of State but resigned in late 1982. He was criticized in 1981, after the assassination attempt on Reagan, for asserting before reporters that "I'm in control here" as a result of Reagan's hospitalization. The quotation became seen as an attempt by Haig to exceed his authority. The full quotation, which has often been overlooked, is:
- Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. As for now, I'm in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.
Nevertheless, Haig was incorrect in his interpretation of the United States Constitution as far as both the presidential line of succession is concerned and in regards to the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution which deals with what happens when a president is incapacitated.
The Falkands/Malvinas War occurred during Haig's tenure as Secretary of State and saw Haig attempt to conduct shuttle diplomacy in April 1982 following the Argentine invasion but prior to the arrival of the British fleet in the war zone. Haig met with both the British government in London and the Argentine junta in Buenos Aires but talks broke down and Haig returned to Washington on April 19.
Alexander Haig is the father of author Brian Haig.
- The Day Reagan was Shot article on Haig
- The Falklands: Failure of a Mission critique of Haig's mediation efforts
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
Edmund S. Muskie | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |United States Secretary of State
1981–1982 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
George P. Shultz
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