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Alexander Haig, Deputy National Security Advisor, on:
first hearing about the new policy toward China
Q: Can you tell us the story of your encounter with Henry Kissinger in February of 1969? |
Haig: I recall that shortly after the inauguration in 1969, Henry coming down from the president's office and calling me in, and perhaps one other aide, and drawing for us the shock that he received when the president told him he expected that he, Kissinger, and the National Security Council staff to arrange a rapprochement with the People's Republic of China. And I can recall Henry saying, the man has taken leave of his senses, in great frustration. And I must say, I shared that shock. Because I was the first American to go to Taiwan following the '49 revolution as a member of the so-called Fox Team that began our military assistance program. So I knew something about the subject and I was a staunch supporter of Taiwan and the importance of protecting it against the communist mainland. We were both taken aback, and I can recall the more we thought about it, the more creative and ingenious we thought the initiative was. So Henry, who at first was a skeptic, later became an absolute skilled advocate for the process which was then launched.
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