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Secretary Haig and the Department

As Secretary, Haig did exercise control over the decision-making process within the Department of State. Deputy Secretary of State William P. Clark, although lacking deep experience in foreign affairs, was a personal friend of the President whom Haig expected to act as an “interpreter” between the Department of State and the White House. Haig selected Walter J. Stoessel, Jr. as Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the highest post in the Department reserved by tradition for career Foreign Service officers. Within a year, Clark moved to the White House as National Security Adviser and Stoessel was promoted, becoming the first Foreign Service officer to serve as Deputy Secretary of State.

Four of the five Assistant Secretaries for the geographic bureaus were also career appointees, including Stoessel’s eventual replacement, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the Assistant Secretary for European Affairs. But only one of Haig’s five appointees, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Herman Cohen, remained on the job for eight years.

In addition to Robert C. McFarlane, who became Counselor of the Department, Haig tapped several outside experts in national security affairs, including Paul D. Wolfowitz for Director of the Policy Planning Staff and Richard R. Burt for Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs. Wolfowitz, Burt, and McFarlane functioned as the Secretary’s “brain trust” to generate ideas outside the normal Foreign Service and Civil Service channels.