Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 20, 1972 · Page 113
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August 20, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 113

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Location:
Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 20, 1972
Page:
Page 113
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Page 113 article text (OCR)

/hi 1 Pn.'M/inf am/ A/r. Ha/'g p/n pronwiian to Major (~i-niT.il on ·Wrv.inr/cr Ha/i:. \'o. 2 man a/ National Se- curity /\r'M/r.v K/S'./nger's "pood nghf hand," he ha. 1 ; 27 years /'/) ,'Vmy 5u( demeanor o; a professor or diplomat. KeeDYourEyeonAI- Gep. Alexander teTtial Is. His Star Is Risiu. SAN.' rifMEvn;. ouir W ith the exception of the President, no one in the Nixon Administration has been more publicized than Henry Kissinger, Nixon's National Security Affairs adviser. Yet Kissinger does nol work alone. He heads a staff of 110 including messengers, secretaries, researchers, and braintrusters, all self-effacing, hardworking men and women, none of them known to the public. Of late, however, one of Dr. Kissinger's I ova I and intrepid band of devoted slaves has begun to surface. Mark his name carefully: Maj. Gen. Alexander Meigs Haig Jr. At 47. Al Haig is tall, blue-eyed, and by Lloyd Shearer more handsome and sex-appealing than secret agent Kissinger whose deputy he is. Soft-speaking and tactful, subtly ambitious with just the right amount of ruthlessness, Al Haig is second in command at National SecurilyAfiairs. He is Henry's "gule rechte hand" (good right hand). Checks on Vietnam It is he who holds together the dedicated "low profiles" who work for Kissinger while Henry cavorts in strange and foreign lands. It i? through him that the mountain of position papers on Vietnam, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, South Africa, and ad infinitum is funneled. And it is he, without fanfare or publicity, who wings off to Vielnam every six months or so. to assess firsthand for the President how things are real.lv going. Last month Haig returned directly to San Clemente from his eighth trip to Southeast Asia and briefed the President on conditions in Vietnam and Cambodia. He was then trotted out on a non-attribution basis to the press, which described him as "an unidentified, high-ranking source." Although Al Haig has spent the past 27 vears in the Army, "my entire adult life," he neither looks nor behaves like a military prototype. He is not obdurate or parochial. There is no rigidity to his mind, which is open and inquiring, or to his speech, which is academic and articulate. Haig could very well be taken ior a college professor or a diplomat, which in a so.'nse he is. For diplomacy is certainly a requisite in getting on with taskmaster Kissinger whose tolerance quotient is low and personnel turnover high. last month when Henry invited Haig lo the swank Bistro restaurant, one of Kissinger's favorite restaurants in Beverly Hills, along with actress Sally Kellerman. Soviet Ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin, and a flock of screen colonv Republican fat-cats, several waiters mistook Haig--heaven help him, for an actor. Probable inheritor Should anything happen to Henrv. like being appointed Secretary of State, or being incapacitated by one of his scorned girlfriends, Haig most probably would inherit Kissinger's job. Although philosophically Kissinger and Haig see eye to eye--both are conservatives--Haig as foreign affairs adviser to the President, would certainly avoid the spotlight Kissinger, by his nature, attracts. To begin with, Haig is a happily-married, churchgoing Roman Catholic. Son of a lawyer, he was born in Philadelphia, attended parochial grade school in Cynwvd on the Main Line, moved up to St. Joseph's Prep and studied two vears a! Noire D.imo before his appointment to West Point came through in 1944. His brother, a priest, is president of Wheeling College in West Virginia, and his sister, Regina Meredith, an attorney in Pennington, N.J. Like many young men. Al Haig set his eye on a service academy appointment because it was a financial neces- sitv. "My father died when I was 10," he explains, "and I had pretty much lo fend for myself in terms of economics. I had newspaper routes, worked for the Post Office, the Atlantic Refining Company. I even worked as a floorwalker in the ladies' department of John Wanamaker's (a well-known department store in Philadelphia) to support myself." On to West Point Haig earned enough money to attend the University of Notre Dame, which he left at the end of his sophomore year after majoring in arts and letters. He was graduated from West Point in 1947. last of the three-year wartime classes, and academically was ranked 214 in a class of 310. As a second lieutenant he was ordered to lapan where he played football for the division team, and was fortuitously assigned to General MacArthur's deputy chief of staff as an administrative assistant. In Tokyo at a musical recital he met an attractive pianist named Patricia Fox PMJ-ViJE · AL'Gl'ST 20. IT!'

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