Alexander Haig Dies

Alexander Haig, Jr.

Alexander Haig, Jr., dies on February 20, 2010. Haig served in several capacities in the Nixon administration, including as Deputy National Security Adviser (1970-73), Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (1973), and White House Chief of Staff (1973-74). He later became Secretary of State in the Reagan administration (1981-82).

Haig appears frequently on the Nixon tapes; below are some notable instances.  


Like a Fish Out of Water

Calling from Camp David, President Nixon asks Haig how he likes his new position as Army Vice Chief of Staff and suggests that he give National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger a call "to buck him up a little" in advance of Kissinger's return to Paris to resume negotiations over U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. Kissinger, Nixon says, is susceptible to Congressional and press opinion.

This is a devastating security breach of the greatest magnitude of anything I’ve ever seen.

On the day that the New York Times started publishing the Pentagon Papers, Nixon expresses surprise that the story might be important. Haig describes it as "a devastating security breach of the greatest magnitude of anything I’ve ever seen."

Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Al Haig meeting in the Cabinet Room

But I do not want to make the announcement the day that John[son]--right after Johnson died, you know what I mean? While we're in mourning.

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson had passed away earlier that morning. His passing had not yet been publicized, but word had been passed to the White House. President Nixon was preparing to address the nation to announce an agreement to end the war in Vietnam, a speech he gave from the Oval Office the following evening. In this call, Nixon and Haigh discuss the implications of LBJ's passing scheduling the announcement.


The New York Times obituary is available here.