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Alexander Haig

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Alexander Haig

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 speculated in their 1991 book Silent Coup: The Removal of a President that Haig may have been "Deep Throat," noting Woodward and Haig knew each other when Woodward worked in naval intelligence, but it was revealed in 2005 that W. Mark Felt, the associate director of the FBI, was Woodward and Bernstein's source.

From 1974 to 1979, Haig served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

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Chief of Staff Haig (far right), Sec. of State Kissinger, Rep. Ford and President Nixon meet on October 13, 1973 regarding Ford's upcoming appointment to Vice-President.

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 regard to the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution which deals with what happens when a president is incapacitated.

The Falklands/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 government in Buenos Aires but talks broke down and Haig returned to Washington on April 19.

A military hawk, his tenure as Secretary of State was often characterized by his clashes with the more moderate Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger.

Haig unsuccessfully ran for the Republican Party nomination for President in 1988.

Alexander Haig is the father of author Brian Haig.

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Preceded by:
H. R. Haldeman
White House Chief of Staff
1973–1974
Succeeded by:
Donald Rumsfeld
Preceded by:
Gen. Andrew Goodpaster
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO)
1974—1979
Succeeded by:
Gen. Bernard Rogers
Preceded by:
Edmund S. Muskie
United States Secretary of State
1981–1982
Succeeded by:
George P. Shultz

Template:End boxde:Alexander Haig

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