Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Alexander Haig Jr. (1981–1982): Secretary of State

General Alexander Meigs Haig was born December 2, 1924, and graduated from West Point in 1947. He then served in the Korean War (1950-1951) and was military assistant to the secretary of the Army (1964). He also served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967.

Haig was a military adviser to National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger from 1969 to 1973 and was on the staff of the National Security Council. He was eventually made a four-star general in the U.S. Army and held the role of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), commanding all NATO forces from 1974 to 1979.

President Ronald Reagan named Haig secretary of state, and Haig held that position from the outset of the Reagan administration until his resignation in May 1982. He ran unsuccessfully against Vice President George Bush for the Republican nomination for President (1988).