Alexander Haig

"Above everything else," writes Alexander Haig, "a servant of the President owes his chief the truth." In his forthcoming book, Caveat: Realism, Reagan and Foreign Policy, to be published this month by Macmillan, the former Secretary of State serves up the truth, at least as he sees it, with the bark off. He describes an Executive Branch marked by guerrilla warfare and backbiting, and portrays himself as an "outsider" up against "an Administration of chums."

This week, in its second and final excerpt from Caveat, TIME presents Haig's account of how the Administration handled a potentially cataclysmic trouble spot, Poland. In the debate within the Administration over Central America, Haig advocated the toughest policies to counter Soviet interventionism. But on Poland, his position in the intramural debate was reversed: he was the principal advocate of American caution and restraint. Where Haig viewed Poland as part of the Soviet sphere, some of his chief rivals—Presidential Counsellor Edwin Meese, now the embattled Attorney General-designate; William Clark, who initially served Haig as Deputy Secretary of State but later squabbled with him as National Security Adviser; and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger—saw it as an opportunity for the Administration to score propaganda points abroad and political gains at home. They urged standing up to the U.S.S.R., perhaps even bringing the Soviet empire "to its knees." On Poland, Haig was not the hardliner.

While Haig sees his failure to deliver a settlement in the Falklands crisis as his Waterloo, others have pointed to the Lebanon crisis of June 1982 as his undoing. A book published in Israel has claimed, on the basis of secret diplomatic cables and transcripts of meetings, that Haig gave a "green light" to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. A number of Administration officials, speaking in the nonattributive way that Haig so often rails against in Caveat, have confirmed that charge. Haig has denied it, and here he presents his own version of his unavailing efforts to restrain Israel.

Poland: Evolution Or Explosion?

The very first communication addressed to the Soviets by the Reagan Administration, a letter from me to Andrei Gromyko on the day after the Inauguration, expressed American concern over the possibility of Soviet intervention in Poland. "We will stay out," I told Soviet Ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin in the early spring of 1981, "and we want you to do the same." Dobrynin's somber reply: the Soviet Union would do what it had to do.

For the Soviet Union, Poland is a casus belli, a question on which she would go to war with the Western alliance. It has always been my belief that the U.S. can influence Soviet behavior toward Poland, but it cannot break the political and strategic connection between these two unequal neighbors without taking up arms. For the moment, that is the melancholy reality. Almost surely, it will not obtain over the long course. Where the indomitable spirit of a nation is involved, there is always the potential for evolution and for explosive change. As President Reagan came to office, nobody knew whether evolution or explosion would be the result, but it was clear that the Poles had decided to make history. A dynamic popular movement had arisen under the banners of the trade union on Digg


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