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National Archives to Release President Nixon Grand Jury Records on November 10

Nixon Presidential Historical Materials to be Opened by the Nixon Library

WHAT:  Two separate releases of historical records from the Presidency of Richard M. Nixon.

  1. The National Archives in College Park, MD, will open 26 files from its Records of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) collection including transcripts of President Nixon’s grand jury testimony of June 23-24, 1975, pursuant to the July 29, 2011, order by Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In response to a petition filed in the case In Re Petition of Stanley Kutler, et al., Chief Judge Lamberth, ordered that the transcript of Mr. Nixon’s testimony and the “Associated Materials” to that testimony be released to the public following the review of these documents for any information that must be redacted as required by law. There are a few redactions made for the privacy of living persons. In addition, there are several portions of the testimony that were deemed to be properly classified for national security. These portions, as well as parts of the accompanying materials, have been referred for declassification. When the National Archives receives a reply to these referrals, the transcript and accompanying materials will be updated.

  2. The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, one of 13 Presidential libraries operated by the National Archives, will open textual materials and sound recordings from its Nixon Presidential Historical Materials, including: The segments of five transcripts of White House taped conversations from 1971 and 1973, which are part of the materials associated with President Richard M. Nixon's June 23-24, 1975 grand jury testimony. The Library will open approximately 3,000 pages of formerly classified national security materials, including National Security Council materials and Henry A. Kissinger (HAK) telephone conversation transcripts.

The Library plans to open an additional 45,000 pages from the collection of Ken Cole, the President’s chief domestic policy aide in 1973-74. The Library will also release approximately 45 minutes of presidential dictabelt sound recordings from 1970, including the President’s dictated recollections of his historic early morning visit to the Lincoln Memorial on May 9, 1970. Finally, the Library will open additional video oral histories, including those of Judge Laurence Silberman, former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.

WHEN:  Thursday, November 10, 2011, 12 p.m. EST/9 a.m. PST

WHERE:  Online: Files from the National Archives’ WSPF collection including the transcript of President Nixon's grand jury testimony and associated materials, will be available at http://www.archives.gov/research/investigations/watergate/nixon-grand-jury/.

Nixon Presidential Historical Materials released by the Nixon Presidential Library will be available at http://www.nixonlibrary.gov.

In person:  Files from the National Archives’ WSPF collection will be available at the textual research room of the National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland.

Nixon Presidential Historical Materials released by the Library will be available at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, California.

Background on the Nixon Grand Jury Testimony

In May 1975, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) decided that it was necessary to question former President Richard M. Nixon in connection with various investigations being conducted by that office. The circumstances of this testimony were negotiated with Mr. Nixon’s attorneys, Herbert J. Miller, Jr., and R. Stan Mortenson. It was determined that Mr. Nixon would be questioned over the period of two days, June 23 and June 24, 1975, and that the testimony would be taken as part of various investigations being conducted by the January 7, 1974, Grand Jury for the District of Columbia (the third Watergate Grand Jury). Chief Judge George Hart signed an order authorizing that the sworn deposition of Mr. Nixon be taken at the Coast Guard Station in San Mateo, California with two members of the grand jury present. The deposition was taken in California because Mr. Nixon’s doctor had determined that Mr. Nixon was unable to travel to Washington DC for health reasons.

The areas of inquiry that were agreed upon by the WSPF and Mr. Nixon’s counsel were as follows:

  1. The circumstances surrounding the 18½ minute gap in the tape of a meeting between Mr. Nixon and H. R. Haldeman on June 20, 1972.
  2. Alleged receipt of large amounts of cash by Charles G. Rebozo or Rose Mary Woods on behalf of Mr. Nixon and financial transactions between Mr. Rebozo and Mr. Nixon.
  3. Attempts to prevent the disclosure of the existence of the National Security Council wiretap program through removal of the records from the FBI, the dealing with any threats to reveal the existence of such records, and the testimony of L. Patrick Gray at his confirmation hearings to be FBI Director.
  4. Any relationship between campaign contributions and the consideration of ambassadorships for Ruth Farkas, J. Fife Symington, Jr., Vincent DeRoulet, Cornelius V. Whitney, and Kingdon Gould, Jr.
  5. The obtaining and release of information by the White House concerning Lawrence O’Brien through use of the Internal Revenue Service.

Mr. Nixon agreed to appear voluntarily to answer the questions of the Grand Jury. Mr. Nixon’s attorneys were present in the interview room, and they were available for consultation outside the hearing room. They were not permitted to make any statements during the actual testimony. Prior to the taking of his testimony, Mr. Nixon and his counsel were provided copies of transcripts of White House tape conversations and other documents that were proposed for use during his testimony.

There were a few subjects that the WSPF wished to explore with Mr. Nixon but for which a Grand Jury appearance was not necessary. This interview took place on June 24, 1975, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm following the conclusion of Mr. Nixon’s sworn Grand Jury testimony. The areas of inquiry for this interview are as follows:

  1. Mr. Nixon’s knowledge of the $2 million dairy fund pledge and the relationship between that pledge and his milk price support decision in March 1971.
  2. The submission of the “bluebook” to the House Judiciary Committee. (The “bluebook” was the version of tape transcripts created by the White House staff that was released on April 30, 1974.)
  3. Richard Moore’s testimony concerning the La Costa meeting. (The meeting at La Costa related to the need to raise money for the Watergate burglars.)
  4. References in various transcripts to the use of “goons” and Mr. Nixon’s knowledge of organized assaults on demonstrators.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300 or, regarding the Nixon materials, Timothy Naftali, the Director of the Nixon Library at 714-983-9120.

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