The true beginning of the end for Alexander M. Haig Jr. as secretary of state, White House officials say, came before the Reagan administration even took office. It can be traced to a 90-minute meeting between Haig and Ronald Reagan at Blair House two weeks before Inauguration Day. At that meeting, Haig set out the role he planned for himself as "Vicar" of foreign policy, seeking to ensure that he controlled everything from food policy to crisis contingency planning to all contact with foreign officials and with the press.
While no transcript of the Haig-Reagan conversation is available, The Washington Post has obtained the following "talking paper" used by Haig to prepare for that meeting. Haig last week confirmed the paper's authenticity.
TALKING PAPER FOR MEETING
BETWEEN PRESIDENT-ELECT REAGAN
AND SECRETARY-DESIGNATE HAIG
10 a.m., Tuesday, January 6, 1981 I. 10 Introduction
1. As crowded as your schedule is for the next two days, I appreciate your making time for this meeting. It will be most helpful as a visible expression to the Foreign Relations Committee of the importance you attach to foreign affairs and the habit of dialogue between us which you want to establish.
2. In the next hour, I would like to discuss three matters which will have a determinging influence on the functioning of your administration and the State Department in the years ahead. They are:
A. The Decision Process -- how the foreign affairs community (State, Defense, Treasury, CIA, etc.) will be organized.
B. Personnel -- key billets within and outside the Department.
C. Near-term foreign visitors and policy issues. II. The Decision Process -- The Organization of the National Security Community
1. Governor, I applaud your expressed intention to adhere to the concept of "Cabinet Government" in the management of your administration.
2. Within the area of foreign affairs, I believe it requires that the Secretary of State be your Vicar for the community of Departments having an interest in the several dimensions of foreign policy.
3. As you know, there are many policy issues which cross departmental lines and impinge upon our strategic interests, and, as a consequence, must be coordinated among your Cabinet advisors. These include:
Economic policy, whether for the Middle East, Europe, or elsewhere.
Energy Policy -- not only with respect to petroleum reserves, but nuclear power and our policy toward the sale of civil reactors as it relates to non-proliferation.
Trade Policy -- How do we exercise the powerful leverage of trade to influence Soviet behavior.
Food policy -- a particularly valuable instrument of foreign policy in the years ahead.
Technology transfer -- perhaps our most telling economic leverage over the Russians.
Crisis Contingency Planning -- Often, crises can be prevented or at least moderated if we have identified them before tensions rise to the boiling point. To do that, we must have a team looking at trouble spots and working out options well in advance so that your latitude is preserved. That effort must be centered at State.
4. To manage the development of policy alternatives in all of these areas, you must have a single manager who can integrate the views of all of your Cabinet Officers and prepare for you the range of policy choices.
5. To assure that, I propose to establish a number of interdepartmental groups which will include representation from all of the Departments who have a role to play. All of these NSC subcommittees will be chaired by State except where there is a clear prevailing interest as, for example, at Treasury or Defense.
6. My purpose is to exploit each Department's talent and to draw upon it to present for you a cogent range of options so that you are not boxed in by the parochial interests of a single department.
7. In exercising this mandate, I will be rigorously objective in reporting to you the views of all of your Cabinet Officers within the national security community.
8. Once the policy alternatives have been developed, I will forward them to you through Dick Allen and Ed Meese.
9. The Role of the NSC staff. I believe the potential for undermining policy, of friction between the National Security Adviser and Secretary of State, is clear. Dick Allen and I have established an excellent relationship. I do want to flag two areas, however, in which I believe we must exercise some care in the months ahead.
A. Contact with foreign officials. All contacts with foreign officials must be conducted at the State Department -- Otherwise, allies and adversaries will exploit the opportunity to drive a wedge between us on matters of policy.
B. In the same vein, there must be no independent press contact with the office of your National Security Adviser. I must be your only spokesman on foreign affairs. III. Personnel
1. Our common objective is to recruit the highest quality of professional talent, insuring that the foremost criterion is compatibility with your philosophical approach to foreign affairs.
2. In addition to appointing the right people at the top, it is important that we establish control quickly over the bureaucracy so that we do not find ourselves undermined from within. Within the State Department, this requires that I select a number of highly qualified Foreign Service Officers and put them in responsible positions. From my long experience in the community, I have identified a number of these whom I can trust and whose abilities I respect.
3. With these criteria in mind, I have made preliminary contacts with a number of highly qualified professionals and have developed a slate for each of the key positions. I will forward it for your consideration through Ed Meese.
4. IIwant to flag two matters for your attention with respect to the list.
A. It does include roughly 25% Foreign Service Officers.
B. In a very few cases, I have chosen Democrats. All of these are of the Scoop Jackson/Sam Nunn wing of the party and are proven, right-minded professionals.
5. 10 2 Deputy Secretary. I have not made overtures to anyone with respect to the Deputy Secretary position and would welcome your thoughts on this appointment.
6. In the same vein, the Chief of Protocol, who arranges all foreign visits and your ceremonial contact with foreign visitors, should be an individual with whom you and Mrs. Reagan are comfortable. At your convenience, I would welcome your choice. (Note: You may -- or may not -- want to mention that Shirley Temple Black has expressed an interest.) IV. Upcoming Events
1. Korean Visit -- Kim Dae Jung affair. (You shoudl summarize the Kim matter.)
2. February 17 -- The King and Queen of Spain.
3. February 23/24 is French Foreign Minister -- I will arrange meetings with appropriate Cabinet Officers and with you.
4. February 25 -- Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
5. (Note: As a separate matter, you may wish to summarize your views on the role of France and Giscard in particular.)
A. Contingency Planning for Poland -- Giscard's views, and possible pre-Inauguration planning to include the subsequent role of the Quadripartite Group.
B. Bilateral relations with France. France's relationship to the matter of keeping the FRG in the "fold."
1. Mansfield renomination -- (Note: I understand that the Governor will be meeting with Senate Democrats. At that meeting, he will announce that "At Secretart-designate Haig's strong urging, I intend to reappoint Ambassador Mike Mansfield as our Ambassador to Japan.") You may want to express your hearty support for his choice.
2. Finally, you may wish to raise the matter of Ambassador West in Saudi Arabia.