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Fifth Chronological Conversation Tape Release, Part V

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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.
  • Conversations Listed by Date
  • Conversations Listed by Number

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, Ronald L. Ziegler, John D. Ehrlichman, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Stephen B. Bull, and J. Fred Buzhardt, Jr.
  • 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 Native Americans, the international monetary situation, events in the Middle East, the President’s domestic agenda, Most Favored Nations (MFN) status for the Soviet Union, the diplomacy around the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War, and energy and broadcasting policy.

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.

  • Implementation of the Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam:   US troops departed South Vietnam in March 1973, but there were still many outstanding issues to settle in order to implement the peace agreement. Among them were: the status of U.S. military and civilian personnel missing in action, cease-fire violations in South Vietnam, withdrawal of foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia, aerial bombing, and political self-determination and sovereignty in Indochina, particularly South Vietnam. The President discusses these issues with his national security staff, including Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Brig. Gen. Brent G. Scowcroft. These conversations also include discussions about a formal dinner and reception for repatriated Prisoner's of War [POWs].

  • Watergate:   This opening includes many previously released conversations that were part of the Watergate Trial Tapes, Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and the Abuse of Governmental Powers tape releases. Conversation topics include the Pentagon Papers, the break-in at the Watergate complex and Dr. Lewis Fielding's offices, campaign finance violations, misuse of federal agencies, and federal antitrust actions. In addition, on April 5, 1973 Grand Jury proceedings began in Washington, DC. Staff members from the Office of the President, the Committee to Re-Elect the President [CRP], federal agencies and departments were called upon to provide testimony. The President and his advisers frequently discuss reports of witness testimony, pending charges, and indictments while developing a plausible defense of the Office of the President suitable for Congress, federal courts, political correspondents, and the general public.

  • Presidential Appointments and Personnel Management:   From April to July 1973, as a result of Congressional and Grand Jury investigations into Watergate, the President took part in numerous conversation about current and prospective White House staff and Cabinet-level appointments. The departures, through resignation or termination, of H.R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, John W. Dean, III, L. Patrick Gray, and Richard Kleindienst created openings in the Executive Branch. The President discussed possible choices to fill these openings with his White House Counsel, Leonard Garment, Secretary of State, William Rogers, and the White House Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler.

  • Domestic Issues:   A variety of Domestic Issues are discussed within these conversations. The President devoted considerable time to energy issues like the Alaskan oil pipeline, deregulating natural gas production, leasing federal lands to energy developers, and eliminating oil import duties. The President also frequently met with his economic advisers, George P. Shultz, Herbert Stein, Roy L. Ash, and John Connally, John T. Dunlop, and Arthur F. Burns, in order to find a consensus for the duration of the wage and price controls. Other domestic topics discussed include campaign finance reform,unemployment insurance, retirement benefits, and pension reforms; the sale of raw materials from the national strategic stockpile; the creation of a non-partisan legal services corporation; special revenue sharing of federal grants to state and local governments; and funding for national direct student loans.

  • Trade Reform, "Most Favored Nation" Tariff Status, and the Emigratrion of Soviet Jews:   In 1973 Congress considered the Trade Reform Act, which would have giver Most Favored Nation [MFN] status to the Soviet Union. Senator Henry M. Jackson and Representative Charles A. Vanik proposed to amend the act to state that the granting of MFN status to communist nations would be contingent upon a domestic policy of free and open emigration. The President met with members of Congress and Jewish leaders on April 18 and 19 in the midst of the ongoing preparations and planning for the June 1973 summit with Secretary General Leonid I. Brezhnev. In those meetings the President argued that quiet diplomacy was preferable to Congressional action.

  • United States—Soviet Union Summit Meeting:   The Soviet Secretary General Leonid I. Brezhnev visited the White House on June 18, 1973. The President and Secretary Brezhnev met formally and informally over the next six days in the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, East Room of the White House, the Blair House, the Benjamin Franklin Room of the Department of State, Camp David, the Soviet embassy, the President's San Clemente residence and aboard the Presidential yacht Sequoia. Prior to the arrival of the Secretary, the President devoted significant time planning the entire visit with his political advisers Haldeman, Haig, Kissinger, Shultz, Ziegler, Rogers, and with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin. These meetings culminated in the signing of agreements, protocols, conventions, treaties, and a joint communiqué embracing the following topics: trade, agriculture, transportation, oceanography, scientific and cultural exchanges, taxation, atomic energy, arms control negotiations, and the prevention of nuclear war.

  • Year of Europe   President Nixon declared 1973 to be the Year of Europe. The President wanted to redefine the Atlantic alliance based on the new Cold War realities faced by the United States and Western Europe, including open diplomatic relations with China and nuclear parity and détente with the Soviet Union. Throughout the year the President hosted a series of preliminary meetings with European heads of state. Conversations included focused discussions on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions [MBFR], US negotiations with the Soviet Union, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Middle East peace negotiations, petroleum, the People's Republic of China, and Japan.

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 Library starff restricted a total of approximately 3 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds worth of conversation.
    1. According to PRMPA and the 2007 deed of gift, the archivists determined that approximately 46 minutes and 27 seconds remained under the restriction category “G” and would be returned to the Nixon Estate.
    2. Under the deed of gift, the archivists withheld only 8 minutes and 26 seconds seconds for privacy.
    3. In the course of processing these recordings, the archivists determined that approximately 43 minutes required restriction because the conversations or room noise were too unintelligible to review.
    4. The archivists restricted 19 minutes and 43 seconds seconds worth of conversation because of statute (restriction category “A”).
    5. The archivists only restricted approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and 28 seconds worth of conversation for reasons of national security (restriction category “B”).
    6. Lastly, the archivists only restricted approximately 6 minutes worth of conversation for restriction category “D” (release would clearly constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy).

About this Release

  • spans April 9, 1973 - July 12, 1973
  • there are 2,905 conversations
  • totals approximately 340 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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