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Fifth Chronological Conversation Tape Release, Part II

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Note that this release is partial. On July 11, 2007, tapes 33, 388, and 813 were released. On December 2, 2008, the remaining tapes from November 1972 and December 1972 were 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, as well as the 2007 deed of gift, 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

  • White House staff members H. R. Haldeman, Henry A. Kissinger, Charles W. Colson, Ronald L. Ziegler, John D. Ehrlichman, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Stephen B. Bull.
  • They also include members of the Cabinet, foreign dignitaries, members of Congress, the President's friends and family, journalists, celebrities, and members of the White House staff and federal agencies.

Topics

While the conversations document the entire scope of issues in which the Nixon White House engaged in the last two months of 1972, these conversations particularly concern the 1972 Presidential and Congressional elections, President Nixon's extensive plans for the reorganization of the executive branch in his second term and for the creation of a lasting "New Majority" to support a reinvigorated Republican Party or possibly a new conservative third party, and the late stages of the peace negotiations to end the Vietnam War and the decision to bomb the Hanoi and Haiphong areas in North Vietnam in December 1972.

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.

  • 1972 Presidential Election:   The previous opening in July 2007 of three November 1972 tapes made available many of the most significant conversations concerning the 1972 Presidential and Congressional elections, but this current release significantly deepens the coverage of the elections.

  • Executive Branch Reorganization:   After the elections, President Nixon moved almost immediately to implement what he envisioned would be a dramatic reorganization of the executive branch in his second term. Throughout November and December, President Nixon had numerous conversations concerning possible appointments to his new administration.

  • New Majority:   President Nixon's plans for the future of the Republican Party and the creation of a lasting "New Majority" also figure prominently on these tapes, including whom the party would nominate for President in 1976 and the creation of a new conservative majority coalition.

  • The Vietnam War and Peace Negotiations:   The conversations detail the status of the negotiations in November, and the US posture on outstanding issues. As President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese leadership each introduced a number of changes to the draft peace agreement negotiated in October, President Nixon and his aides confronted a possible breakdown of the negotiations in Paris.

  • December Bombing:   Numerous conversations detail President Nixon's decision to bomb the Hanoi and Haiphong areas in North Vietnam in December when talks between the US and North Vietnam were suspended. Conversations address the President's and the public reaction to what the press dubbed the "Christmas bombing."

  • Watergate:   The Watergate investigation also played a significant role during the last two months of 1972 and there are a number of conversations that concern the investigation and surrounding developments. Discussions concerning Watergate that government archivists identified as Abuses of Governmental Power (AOGP) conversations were previously released from 1991 to 1999 as excerpted conversations. These conversations are now released in context with all surrounding discussion and additional conversation provide further context concerning developments related to the Watergate investigation.

Restriction History

  • In July 2007 with the establishment of the Nixon Presidential Library, the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation signed a deed of gift donating large portions of previously withdrawn conversations from the White House tapes. Conversations determined to fall within the scope of the Nixon Foundation’s deed of gift, were reviewed according to the terms of the deed. Accordingly, access to the Nixon materials, including the tapes, is now governed by the PRMPA, its implementing public access regulations, the 1996 Tapes Settlement Agreement, and the 2007 deed of gift.

  • In the course of processing the tapes, the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff restricted a total of approximately 2½ hours worth of conversations.
    1. According to PRMPA and the 2007 deed of gift, the archivists determined that approximately 98 minutes remained under the restriction category “G” and would be returned to the Nixon Estate.
    2. Under the deed of gift, the archivists withheld only 82 seconds for privacy.
    3. In the course of processing these recordings, the archivists determined that approximately 39 minutes required restriction because the conversations or room noise were too unintelligible to review.
    4. The archivists restricted only 4 minutes worth of conversation for reasons of national security (restriction category “B”).
    5. Lastly, the archivists only restricted 5 minutes worth of conversation for restriction category “D” (release would clearly constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy).

About this Release

  • spans November 1, 1972 - January 12, 1973
  • there are 1,398 conversations
  • totals approximately 198 hours
  • conversations recorded in the Oval Office, the President's office in the Old Executive Office Building (EOB), the President's office at Camp David, and the White House telephones
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