107. Editorial Note

On June 25, 1982, President Ronald Reagan announced the resignation of Secretary of State Alexander Haig in remarks made to reporters at 3:04 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House. Indicating that he would not entertain any questions, Reagan stated: “It’s an announcement that I make with great regret regarding a member of our administration who has served this country for 40 years, above and beyond the call of duty; who has served me so well and faithfully; whose wisdom and counsel I have respected and admired for all the time that our administration has been here, but who now is resigning and leaving government service after all this great time.”

The President then indicated that he intended to nominate George Shultz as Secretary. (Public Papers: Reagan, 1982, Book I, page 819). Reagan’s letter accepting Haig’s resignation and Haig’s resignation letter, both dated June 25, are ibid., pages 819–820. For Haig’s recollections concerning his decision to resign and his last days as Secretary of State, see Caveat, pages 346–352.

At his June 30 news conference, the President answered questions regarding the Haig resignation, despite his stated desire to provide no further comments. In response to a question regarding whether there would “be any changes or if anything will be done differently, so that the sort of problems that led to his resignation won’t reoccur,” Reagan asserted: “There’s going to be no change in policy. Foreign policy comes from the Oval Office and with the help of a fine Secretary of State. And I’ve had that fine Secretary of State. And I must say, fortunately for the country, for the administration, as Secretary Haig leaves, his replacement is a man with great experience and a man of unquestioned [Page 402] integrity, and I think we’re all fortunate that we have been able to have such a replacement.

“My system has been one—and always has been one—not of having a synthesis presented to me of where there are conflicting ideas and then it’s boiled down and I get a single option to approve or disapprove. I prefer debate and discussion, a debate all those who have an interest in a certain issue and a reason for that interest, to have their say, not be—sit around as ‘yes’ men. And then I make my decision, based on what I have heard in that discussion. And that will be the procedure we’ll follow.” (Public Papers: Reagan, 1982, Book I, page 828)