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Alexander Haig, Deputy National Security Advisor, on:
why he was selected

Alexander Haig

Haig: As the summit approached, between President Nixon and Mr. Mao, of course, the logistics of the visit and the agendas and the exact schedule of events had to be put in place. And there were a number -- countless -- questions that had to be resolved, and the only way to do that was to send an advance party to Beijing. Now that became quite an issue in its own right, because the men around the president, Halderman, others, were very anxious to be in charge of that advance party. I suspect even Dr. Kissinger would not have been too upset at having done it, although obviously he was going to be the president's right hand on the visit itself. But much to the surprise of everyone, including myself, the president reached down and asked me to do it. I suspect he was trying to keep peace in the family and I didn't represent a threat to anyone. So I was put in charge of the advance party.

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