Alexander Haig Resigns - Polish Solidarity

Published: 1982
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Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon (L) is greeted at the State Department by U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig in Washington on December 1, 1981. (UPI Photo/Chas Cancellare/FILES)

Nick Charles: Secretary of state, Haig who repeatedly had difficulty with various members of the Reagan administration during his year-and-a-half into office, decided to resign his post on June 25th. Haig referred to growing differences over foreign policy in general and middle east in particular.

Alexander Haig: “Under these circumstances, I feel it necessary to request, that you accept my resignation.”

Nick Charles: President Reagan accepted Alexander Haig's resignation and nominated George Schultz to succeed him.

President Reagan: “With great regret, I had accept to the resignation of Secretary of State, Al Haig. I am nominating as his successor and he has accepted, George Schultz to replace him.”

Nick Charles: On July 15th Schultz was confirmed as the new US Secretary of State. You are listening to 1982 In Review.

Patrice Secora: Poland continues to have political and economical problems throughout most of 1982. A power struggle and the government and the trade union Solidarity brought Russian troops to the Polish border. Moscow was warned by the United States not to move within the borders, but while no troops entered Poland, the Soviets did exert pressure on the Warsaw government and Marshal Law was imposed in Poland. But Edwin Smith reports in February opposition to restrictions and repressions against Solidarity union members brought about demonstrations and strikes against the government.

Edwin Smith: “As the month of February began, Poles were trying to adjust the stinging price increases of two, three, or even four hundred percent in the cost of most of the necessities of life. Street violence had broken out in the Port of Gdansk a few days before and the authorities cracked down hard. More than 160 demonstrators received summary sentences from Marshal Law Courts. The two month anniversary of imposition of Marshal Law on the 13th prompted fresh disturbances in the western city of Poznan and then scattered incidences of violence in several parts of the country. At the month's end, military strongman General Wojciech Jaruzelski told the communist party central committee meeting, that his decision to impose Marshal Law had avoided the world confrontation and he said, the regime would fight those who resisted and have declared themselves the enemies of socialism.”

Patrice Secora: The crises in Poland attracted international attention and on February 23rd Japan, Canada and 10 European community nations joined the United States in imposing economic and diplomatic sanctions against Poland and the Soviet Union to protest Marshal Law in Poland.

Demonstrations and protest actions were frequent, especially in Gdansk, the hometown of labor leader Lech Walesa, where Solidarity was born. Time and time again, there were confrontations between shipyard workers and police. Finally the Walesa was taken into custody and a few months later the Solidarity Trade Union and all existing labor organizations were outlawed. Ruth Gruber reports in November after 11 months of internment, Walesa was released.

Ruth Gruber: “Lech Wealesa's first formal encounter with the press was a puzzling performance, in which the newly freed leader of the baned Solidarity Union side-stepped all questions dealing with his future or the possible restoration of Solidarity. He said, he met with a prosecutor general, who went over the penal court with him apparently showing him, what penalty he would be liable to if he stepped out of line. Walesa reaffirmed commitment to the idea behind Solidarity, but he had questions on whether he would fight for the banned union's restoration. This is Ruth Gruber in, Warsaw.”