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Fourth Chronological Conversation Tape Release

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These conversations, released on December 10, 2003, comprise the fourth of five chronological segments to be released.

Finding Aid

  • Download the Adobe Acrobat PDFcomplete finding aid, which includes a detailed description of the conversations, information on how the tapes were processed according to the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 (PRMPA) (44 USC 2111 note) and its implementing regulations, and background information on the Nixon White House Tapes.

Online Audio

All the conversations covered by this release are available online in MP3 and FLAC format:

Participants

The conversations involve a wide variety of participants, including:

  • White House staff members H.R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, Charles W. Colson, Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig, Ronald Ziegler, and Rose Mary Woods.
  • They also include members of the Cabinet, other department and agency personnel, Members of Congress, foreign leaders and dignitaries, members of the press, celebrities and athletes, members of advocacy groups, and the general public.

Topics

Conversations include a wide variety of issues and document the daily routine of the President and his staff. They include discussions on public relations, the 1972 Presidential Campaign, appointments, ceremonial events, polling information, developments in Vietnam and at the Paris Peace Talks, Presidential statements and speeches, and the President's schedule.

The tapes cover a wide variety of domestic and foreign topics.

Tape subject logs, which indicate the specific topics discussed in each conversation, can be searched on this web site by going to Advanced Search and selecting "Tape Subject Logs" in the drop-down box. You may also request a free Finding Aid CD-ROM, which contains a searchable index, by contacting the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. Please contact us at the preceding link if you need any assistance in using the tapes.

Domestic Policy Conversations

  • Domestic Issues:   The President discussed the effects of Hurricane Agnes and the damage done in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Other substantive conversations include legislation in Congress relating to busing, the Clean Water Bill, veterans benefits and welfare reform. The President met with a number of dignitaries and public figures, including Gerald Ford, Hale Boggs, Nelson Rockefeller, Johnny Cash, Armand Hammer, and Ray Charles.

  • 1972 Presidential Campaign:   There are numerous conversations regarding Democratic nominee George McGovern and his policies and statements. These conversations, often between the President, his chief political aide Charles Colson, his Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, Committee to Re-Elect the President Clark MacGregor, and other officials from the Republican party, also reflect Nixon's views and campaign strategy.

  • Watergate:   The "Watergate" investigation also plays a large role during this time period, and there are many conversations regarding the various investigations and developments. Most of these Watergate and Abuses of Governmental Power (AOGP) conversations were previously released as excerpted conversations as part of the RG 460 – Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) tapes release in 1991 and the AOGP tape releases in 1993 and 1996. Some additional excerpts were declassified according to the provisions of Executive Order 12958 and released to the public in 1999. These conversations are now released in context with all surrounding discussion.  [See Also:  Abuse of Governmental Power Conversations]

Foreign Policy Conversations

  • Foreign Relations:   The President met with a number of foreign leaders and U.S. officials dealing with foreign policy, among them UN Ambassador George Bush and Secretary of State William Rogers to discuss terrorism and the upcoming UN General Assembly session. Other topics relating to foreign affairs that figured prominently during this time period were the massacres in Uganda and Burundi and the murder of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich.

  • U.S.-Soviet Relations:   Included in this segment are conversations relating to U.S. - Soviet Union relations.

    An important issue discussed during this period was legislation proposed by Senator Henry ("Scoop") Jackson and Congressman Charles Vanik granting Most Favored Nation (MFN) trading status to the Soviet Union if the Soviets relaxed restrictions on Jewish emigration.

    Another topic of conversation is the signing of an interim agreement on the limitation of offensive nuclear arms (SALT) at the White House on September 30, 1972. There are many conversations between the President and Henry Kissinger detailing the negotiations and the provisions leading up to the ceremony.

    There are also many discussions regarding the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR) in Europe with Members of Congress, State Department officials, members of the White House staff, and European leaders. The President met with General Andrew Goodpaster to discuss North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) developments and U.S. - European relations. He also discussed U.S. - European trade relations with the Council on International Economic Policy. The European Security conference was another topic of discussion at this time.

    There are also several conversations regarding the President's decision to sell grain and other agricultural products to the Soviet Union. Democratic Presidential candidate George McGovern charged that the Nixon administration had agreed to steep discounts in sales prices that were not available to others. He charged that the sale was politically motivated to help the President in Farm Belt states. In addition to conversations about the grain sale itself, there are several conversations discussing McGovern's charges and devising public responses.

  • The Vietnam War and Paris Peace Talks:   A recurring theme throughout the conversations during this period is Vietnam. In July, there are several discussions about Congressional efforts (including the Cooper-Church Amendment) to withdraw U.S. troops from Indochina by a certain date contingent upon the return of American prisoners of war (POWs). In August, September, and October, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger discusses his progress at the Paris Peace talks with the President. Discussions focus on South Vietnam's reluctance to accept the terms of the agreement and the timing of the announcement of the agreement.

  • Other Foreign Relations and Meetings with Foreign Leaders:   The President met with UN Ambassador George Bush and Secretary of State William Rogers to discuss terrorism, and the upcoming UN General Assembly session. In September, there are a few discussions of the massacres occurring in Uganda and Burundi. Also in September, there are many conversations about the murder of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich Germany.

    Although the President was gearing up for his re-election campaign and spent considerable time towards planning and directing his campaign, he did meet with a number of foreign leaders and dignitaries. In July, he met with Brazilian finance Minister Antonio Netto at the White House and with French Defense Minister Michel Debre. In August, he met with newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka in Hawaii. In September, the President met with Indonesian Minister of State General Marador Panggebean, Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Olszowski, British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas Hume, and French Foreign Minister Maurice Schumann. On October 27, he met with Laotian Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma to detail the Paris Peace Agreement and enlist his support. During this time period, the President also met with a number of Soviet officials: Soviet Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoliy Dobrynin, Health Minister Boris Petrovskiy, Minister of the Maritime Fleet Timofey Guzhenko, and Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

Restriction History  [See Also:  Why Taped Conversations are Withdrawn]

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) indicated 292 withdrawals on the Tape Subject Logs in this segment.

  • The National Archives has designated:
  • For national security withdrawals, the tape subject log indicates the main subject or subjects that have been withdrawn.

About this Release

There are no transcripts for these conversations.

  • spans July 1, 1972 - October 31, 1972, and one tape (WHT 32) covers October 22, 1972 - November 3, 1972
  • consists of approximately 3,000 conversations
  • totals approximately 240 hours
  • conversations recorded in the Oval Office, the President's office in the EOB, the President's office at Camp David, and the White House telephones
  • Read the Press Release
  • released on December 10, 2003
  • release includes 154 White House Tapes available on 304 CDs
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