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Papers and secret audio recordings released today by the Nixon Presidential Library

Jan. and Feb. 1972
(ABC)30,000 Pages of Documents and More Than 150 Hours of Tapes Released. He told his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, he'd do anything to get Thieu to accede, "cut off his head if necessary."The records show Nixon seemingly resigned to the likelihood of South Vietnam's eventual collapse even as he strong-armed its president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to accept a settlement that would extricate the U.S. from the massively unpopular war.

Nixon Tapes Reveal Internal White House Struggles During Second Term
Papers and secret audio recordings released today by the Nixon Presidential Library present a complicated picture of Richard Nixon as sharp-witted and paranoid, combative and compassionate, and supporting equal rights for women even as he cynically pushed for the GOP to try to recruit attractive women candidates.


The tapes and papers document a time during Nixon's second term when he faced a rising tide of criticism as more and more of his connection to the Watergate break-in was being revealed and when he was struggling with the war in Vietnam.

More than 150 hours of taped audio, primarily recorded during January and February 1973, were released online. In addition, some 30,000 pages of documents were published at the National Archives in College Park, Md., and the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, Calif.


Taped six months after the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office complex, Nixon was recorded speaking about the brewing scandal that would eventually lead to his political downfall.

"I am not going to comment on the case while it is still in the courts and on appeal, do you get my point?" he said.

Speaking to a press aid, he worked out possible answers to Watergate questions.

"I've already stated that I don't approve of espionage and burglary and all that," he said.

Included with the released documents is an Oct. 21, 1973, handwritten note in which Kenneth Cole, Nixon's domestic policy adviser, outlined a possible strategy to connect with Southern Democrats and GOP lawmakers to quell thoughts of impeachment
In a nine-page memo, Cole discussed the so-called "Saturday night massacre," when Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox and faced the resignations of the two top Justice Department officials, who had quit rather carry out the order to fire Cox.


Cox had pressed relentlessly for Nixon's White House tape recordings as he investigated the president's involvement in the Watergate cover-up. Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned when the White House pressured him to fire Cox. His deputy, William D. Ruckelshaus, took the same path.

In the memo, Cole recommended attacking Cox's reputation as a way of discrediting his work on the Watergate investigation.
Despite his support, the amendment failed.

But that support for women's rights is in odd juxtaposition to what he says in a taped conversation with George H.W. Bush, who was the GOP chairman at the time.

In the recorded conversation, Nixon pushed for the party to recruit pretty women to run for office, after two women caught his eye in the South Carolina Legislature.

"Let's look for some," he said. "And understand, I don't do it because I'm for women. But I'm doing it because (a) woman might win some place where a man might not."

Other issues that the tapes document are the return of American prisoners of war from Southeast Asia, efforts to maintain U.S. access to oil in the Middle East, and the Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion with the Roe v. Wade ruling.

More than 2,200 hours of secretly taped conversations from Nixon's presidency have been released since 1980, and there are still more to come.
"Cox wanted to keep this an unending crisis of the body politic," Cole wrote, laying out an argument for Nixon partisans to hammer away at in the media.

"Cox threw down the gauntlet -- at a time when we don't need some 4th Branch of gov't telling [the president] to go to hell," Cole wrote.

In other documents, Nixon aides suggested that the president would eventually be exonerated and Congress should act cautiously.

Recordings Highlight Vietnam War

Aside from the Watergate break-in, the tapes highlight Nixon's focus on the Vietnam War. He was recorded talking to South Vietnam President Nguyen Van Thieu and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the war and hopes for a possible peace agreement.

Nixon spoke of Kissinger leading peace talks in Paris to get the United States out of the war with honor.

"It occurred to me that we really ought to have somebody with Henry when he's over there, you know?" he said. "To tell him not to smile and things of that sort."

Kissinger succeeded on his Paris mission, and when Nixon heard the news, he called his wife, Pat Nixon.

"Kissinger's on his way back and we got the agreement," he told her. "I'm going to announce it at 10 tonight on television."

"Oh, great. Isn't that marvelous. It's wonderful," his wife replied.

In one letter, he states his firm support for the Equal Rights Amendment. For 20 years, he says in the letter, "I have not altered my belief that equal rights for women warrant a constitutional guarantee."

Nixon records show aides tried to save his presidency by demonizing Watergate investigator

With an air of desperation, a hunkered down White House hatched a plan to save Richard Nixon's presidency as the Watergate crisis began to consume it: Demonize the prosecutor in the eyes of lawmakers and the people.

The effort fell flat.

Hardball rhetoric was the order of the day in the Nixon White House, a collection of memos and tape recordings released Tuesday by the Nixon Presidential Library makes clear. This was so whether the president was willing the downfall of a Democratic "pipsqueak," criticizing his own vice president for playing tennis or pressing South Vietnam to accept a peace deal that would leave it open to the communist takeover that followed.

Nixon is heard on a muffled tape recording telling his special counsel that abortion is necessary in some cases — including instances of multiracial pregnancy.

Speaking to Charles Colson after the January 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, the president said: "I admit, there are times when abortions are necessary, I know that." He gave "a black and a white" as an example.

"Or rape," Colson offered. "Or rape," Nixon agreed.

The records show Nixon seemingly resigned to the likelihood of South Vietnam's eventual collapse even as he strong-armed its president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to accept a settlement that would extricate the U.S. from the massively unpopular war.

He told his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, he'd do anything to get Thieu to accede, "cut off his head if necessary."

Nixon historian Luke A. Nichter said the circumstances surrounding Nixon's acceptance of a flawed peace-deal will probably be what scholars note from the latest disclosures.

A 1972 meeting between Nixon and his chief of staff produced an informal directive to "destroy" the Democratic candidate for vice president, according to scribbled notes released in the new collection.

In a memo three years earlier, Nixon's staff assistant describes placing the movements of the Kennedys under observation in Massachusetts after Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge in an accident that drowned his female companion.

The materials show Nixon as sharp-witted, manipulative and sometimes surprisingly liberal by comparison with mainstream Republicans today.

In one letter, he solidly endorses the Equal Rights Amendment, saying that for 20 years "I have not altered my belief that equal rights for women warrant a constitutional guarantee." The amendment failed.

Yet in a taped conversation with George H.W. Bush, then GOP chairman, he pitched the recruitment of pretty women in particular to run for the party, after two caught his eye in the South Carolina Legislature.

"Let's look for some," he said. "And understand, I don't do it because I'm for women. But I'm doing it because (a) woman might win some place where a man might not."

Watergate was a gathering drumbeat through it all. The peril is palpable in memos that surfaced Tuesday.

A nine-page handwritten note by Nixon domestic policy adviser Kenneth Cole reflects on the unfolding "Saturday night massacre," when Nixon fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox and lost the two top Justice Department officials in October 1973, bringing the nation to the edge of constitutional crisis.

Cox was pressing relentlessly for Nixon's White House tape recordings as he investigated the president's involvement in the Watergate cover-up. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy, William D. Ruckelshaus, balked at Nixon's decision to fire Cox — and were removed, too.

Cole recommended tearing down the investigator's reputation — a tactic President Bill Clinton and his aides would try in his own impeachment drama years later, against prosecutor Kenneth Starr.
"Producing the Vietnam peace agreement took the administration to the emotional brink," he said. "At the very moment of triumph after finally ending combat operations in Southeast Asia, that process caused deep and lasting fissures among the top ranks in the White House."

The tapes and documents also give insights into a well-known characteristic of Nixon and his aides — a hair-trigger sensitivity to political rivals and quick resort to machinations against them.

"Cox wanted to keep this an unending crisis of the body politic," Cole wrote, laying out an argument for Nixon partisans that would be called talking points today.

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 1980, file photo former President Richard Nixon waves as he leaves the U.S. District Court in Washington after testifying on behalf of high FBI officials W. Mark Felt, and Edward Miller, that the FBI had direct authority from the president to conduct warrantless break-ins in foreign intelligence cases important to national security. It was Felt, the FBI second-in-command, alias "Deep Throat", who leaked crucial information about Nixon administration corruption that led to the unraveling of the presidency.

"Cox threw down the gauntlet — at a time when we don't need some 4th Branch of gov't telling P to go to hell."

In his shorthand, he called the president "P" and Richardson "ELR." The memo was dated Oct. 21, 1973, the day after the notorious Saturday.

Under the headline "Game Plan," Cole laid out a strategy for the beleaguered Republican president to reach out to conservative Southern Democrats as well as supportive GOP lawmakers to try to dampen sentiment for impeachment.

They would be told Cox had a "pistol to the head of P — he was extorted."

Nixon aides also would argue that inquiries would ultimately exonerate him and Congress should not do anything rash: "Wait til you see the product — all will be revealed — let's wait til then."

He said of Richardson: "ELR wondered how he could be Cox's executioner."

Some 30,000 pages of documents were opened to the public at the National Archives in College Park, Md., and the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, Calif., part of a long unfolding and staggered declassification of papers and tapes from the Nixon years. The archives administers the library.

In addition, the library posted more than 150 hours of tape recordings online. The tapes cover January and February 1973, spanning Nixon's second inauguration, the peace deal with Hanoi, and the trial and conviction of burglars whose break-in at Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex precipitated the cover-up that wrecked Nixon's presidency. He resigned in August 1974 under threat of being forced out by Congress.

After the conviction of the burglars, "Watergate begins to take a small but accelerating day-to-day role in policymaking at the White House, a role that reached crisis by April 1973," said Nichter, a Texas A&M University scholar whose Web site http://www.nixontapes.org specializes in the tape recordings.

—Papers from H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff, include notes from his July 25, 1972, meeting with the president. They talked about Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, the Democratic vice presidential pick, and Spiro Agnew, Nixon's vice president, in the lead-up to the presidential election that year.

"Destroy Egltn — the pipsqueak that he is," Haldeman wrote in shorthand, reflecting Nixon's wishes. Eagleton was soon gone from the ticket after his treatment for mental illness was disclosed.

The orders on "how to handle Agnew," whom Nixon didn't like: Have him campaign in small Southern states, "not build him up." "No impt duties." "Shldn't have played tennis Sat AM."

—An "exclusively eyes only" memo about a July 1973 meeting between Kissinger and Iran's U.S.-backed dictator, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

Kissinger asked the shah to help arm and defend Pakistan. He said the U.S. was constrained on that front. "If we were to do more, it would create a major domestic problem for us," he said. "The Indians would raise a big uproar. Our intellectuals have a love affair with India. Our policy is to encourage the Chinese to the maximum to put arms into Pakistan. I believe they have done well to date."

More than 2,200 hours of taped conversations have come out since the first release in 1980; many more are still to come. From 1971 to 1973, Nixon secretly recorded 3,700 hours of his phone calls and meetings, Nichter said.


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Added: Jun-23-2009 Occurred On: Jun-23-2009
By: bellava
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Tags: Papers, and, secret, audio, recordings, Nixon, Presidential, Library, 1973
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