Haig Jr., Aexander M. (ON HOLD)


1972 TLS as Nixon’s Deputy Asst. for National Security Affairs, congratulates Army officer friend on promotion to Major General


Autograph ID: 6779
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1924–2010) US Army general, White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon & Ford, Secretary of State (Reagan). Army Vice Chief of Staff and Supreme Allied Commander Europe commanding US & NATO forces in Europe. He served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. USMA 1947, earned 1955 MBA from Columbia Business School and 1961 Masters in international relations from Georgetown. In 1969 he was named Military Assistant to Presidential Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger. In 1970, Nixon promoted him to Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, promoted to Major General 1972. He helped So. Vietnamese President Thieu negotiate final cease-fire talks in 1972. In 1973, he was appointed Army Vice Chief of Staff, skipping rank of Lieut. General. When named White House Chief of Staff May 1973 at the height of the Watergate Affair (replacing H. R. Haldeman), he retained his Army commission. He was credited with keeping the government running while Nixon was preoccupied with Watergate, seen as the “acting president” in Nixon’s last months in office. In early August 1974, Haig was instrumental in persuading Nixon to resign, presenting pardon options to VP Ford a few days before Nixon eventually resigned. He played a major role in negotiating the Nixon-Ford transfer of power and Ford’s pardon of Nixon. He was replaced by Donald Rumsfeld in Sept. 1974, named SACEUR, CinCUSEUR and NATO commander 1974-79, retiring as a 4-star general 1979. He was 2nd of 3 career military officers to be Secretary of State (Geo. C. Marshall & Colin Powell the others), serving Jan. 1981-July 1982. After the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, he told reporters that, with Reagan’s hospitalization, “As of now, I am in control here in the White House”, reflecting political not legal reality. He in fact directed White House crisis management until VP Bush arrived in Washington to assume that role. As Secretary he often clashed with Defense Secretary Weinberger and other administration members. In his 1st book, “Caveat: Realism, Reagan, and Foreign Policy”, Haig wrote about his 18 months as Reagan’s Secretary of State and the challenges he encountered, describing a chaotic administration controlled by a handful of the president’s staff members. He unsuccessfully sought the 1988 GOP presidential nomination.

“AH” initialed TLS on 9 ¼ x 6 ¼ White House letterhead as Major General, US Army and Deputy Asst. to the President (Nixon) for National Security Affairs, Washington, August 4 1972, to Brigadier General DeWitt C. Smith Jr. (“D”), Army Deputy Chief of Public Information. Haig congratulates Smith on his well earned promotion to Major General, gratifying to those who know him. In an initialed hand-written postscript, Haig adds: “You see its better than a birthday note – get mended. AH”. Smith had a recent heart attack.

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College Commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”
Type: Letter

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