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Fifth Chronological Conversation Tape Release, Part III

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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., Stephen B. Bull, and Richard T. Kennedy.
  • 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 early 1973, these conversations particularly concern the peace settlement ending United States involvement in the Vietnam War and the return of American prisoners of war from Southeast Asia. Other major topics include visits from foreign dignitaries for former President Harry S. Truman's memorial services, maintaining US access to oil produced in the Middle East in the face of tighter controls by the Organization for Oil Producing Countries (OPEC), and the Supreme Court's decision on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade.

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.

  • Vietnam:   In late January 1973, the United States reached an agreement to end American involvement in the war in Vietnam. The New Year began with the Nixon White House considering additional negotiations with North Vietnam following the decision in late December to halt the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong harbor. Besides speculation about the resumption of negotiations, recorded conversations in early January shed light on the participants' evaluations of the December bombing and reveal growing Congressional support for cutting off funding for the war..

  • The 1973 Inauguration and the Second Term:   The tapes contain many conversations about President Nixon's second inauguration, writing his inaugural address, and the events surrounding the occasion. The issue of reorganizing the executive branch for the second term, a theme present in the November 1972 and December 1972 tapes, appears in several January conversations..

  • The Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade:   On January 22, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the abortion rights case Roe v. Wade. The next day, President met with Charles Colson in the President’s office in the Executive Office Building.

  • Watergate:   The January tapes include several conversations relating to Watergate, most of which were already made public as part of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) tapes release in 1991 and the Abuse of Government Power (AOGP) tape releases in 1993 and 1996.

  • The Middle East:  In the early 1970s, oil producing nations launched an effort to acquire greater control over their reserves. A landmark agreement by OPEC, brokered by the Saudi government in the summer of 1972, and the announcement of a new Iranian policy on January 23, 1973 set the tone for White House conversations that same month about the security of American oil supplies and the future of US-Iranian relations. The tapes in this release contain a little about preparations for Prime Minister Golda Meir’s March 1973 visit to Washington, DC.

  • The Death of President Harry Truman:   Memorial services for former President Harry S. Truman, who died in late December 1972, brought a number of visiting foreign dignitaries to Washington, DC. On January 5, President Nixon met with Israeli President S. Zalman Shazar, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Chong-pil, Prime Minister of Ireland John Lynch, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo, and the Taiwanese Vice President Yen Chia-Kan.

  • The Death of President Lyndon Johnson:   On January 22, 1973, former President Lyndon B. Johnson died, and a number of conversations address his death and arrangements for memorials.

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 2 hours worth of conversations.
    1. According to PRMPA and the 2007 deed of gift, the archivists determined that approximately 44 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 2 seconds for privacy.
    3. In the course of processing these recordings, the archivists determined that approximately 7 minutes required restriction because the conversations or room noise were too unintelligible to review.
    4. The archivists only restricted 3 seconds worth of conversation because of statute (restriction category “A”).
    5. The archivists only restricted approximately 49 minutes worth of conversation for reasons of national security (restriction category “B”).
    6. Lastly, the archivists only restricted approximately 2 minutes worth of conversation for restriction category “D” (release would clearly constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy).

About this Release

  • spans January 1, 1973 - February 27, 1973
  • there are 994 conversations
  • totals approximately 154 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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