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Press Kit: August 1974

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Materials relating to President Richard Nixon's resignation

YouTube Playlist: Richard Nixon Resigns the Presidency

The YouTube playlist includes several audiovisual elements also linked below: the "Smoking Gun" and "Cancer on the Presidency" conversations, as well as images from the final days and video of Richard Nixon's resignation speech to his staff. The Library will periodically update the YouTube playlist with further content related to the conclusion of the Nixon Presidency, including topics such as the White House Taping system and the resignation.

White House Tapes

President Nixon installed a secret taping system in the Oval Office and other areas to capture his conversations for later use in writing his autobiography. The taping system was installed in February 1971 and removed in July 1973.

This system, once revealed, became pivotal in Watergate-related investigations by law enforcement and Congress. The Watergate Trial Tapes reflect conversations subpoenaed by the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and played in trials of Watergate conspirators.

Two conversations (part of the Watergate Trial Tapes) played pivotal roles in impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives that led to the decision to resign.

  • "Smoking Gun" Conversation

    Date:
    Friday, June 23, 1972
    Conversation Number: 741-002
    Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript | Listen
    Location: White House Oval Office
    Exhibit Number:
    Exhibit 1 - U.S. v. John B. Connally, et al.
    Abstract: Haldeman and Nixon discuss the progress of the FBI's investigation, especially the tracing of the source of money found on the burglars. They propose having the CIA ask the FBI to halt their investigation of the Watergate break-in by claiming that the break-in was a national security operation.
    Participants:
    • President Nixon
    • H.R. ("Bob") Haldeman

  • "Cancer on the Presidency" Conversation

    Date: Wednesday, March 21, 1973, between 10:12 a.m. and 11:55 a.m.
    Conversation Number: 668-008
    Adobe Acrobat PDFTranscript | Listen
    Location: White House Oval Office
    Exhibit Number: Exhibit 12 - U.S. v. John N. Mitchell, et al.
    Abstract: Dean recaps the history of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up for the President. They guess at who was responsible for setting the break-in in motion. Dean tells the President that the cover-up is "a cancer on the Presidency" that must be excised or his Presidency would be in danger. Also discussed: references to blackmail and perjury, and discussion of paying the burglars off with one million dollars.
    Participants:
    • President Nixon
    • H.R. ("Bob") Haldeman
    • John W. Dean III

Textual Documents

General Records of the Department of State
This collection contains Richard Nixon’s original resignation letter, submitted to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Document link

David Gergen Office Files
This collection includes three different proposed resignation letters for President Nixon.

Document link

H.R. Haldeman Notes, April 29, 1973
Haldeman’s notes from this day include an early mention by President Nixon of resigning the Presidency.

Document link

White House Photographs and Film

The Library has numerous prints documenting the last few days and moments of the Nixon Administration on the following film rolls: E3359, E3367, E3386, and 3392. These photographs include the President informing his family of his decision to resign and their reactions, as well as his last meal in the White House, his farewell speech to the White House staff, and his departure from the White House complex.

Download the files for best image display.

August 7, 1974
E3359-11A: Julie Nixon Eisenhower hugs her father President Nixon while Tricia Nixon Cox and Ed Cox stand nearby in the solarium room, on the night President Nixon announced his resignation decision.

August 8, 1974
E3367-07A: President Nixon's last White House lunch plate of pineapple and cottage cheese.

August 9, 1974
E3392-07: President Nixon's farewell speech to Cabinet members, White House staff and employees, family members present on podium.

E3386-24: President Nixon, Pat Nixon, Vice President Gerald Ford, and Betty Ford walk the red carpet together from White House, past a multi-Armed Services Honor Guard to the Air Force One helicopter during the President's last day departure ceremony.

E3386-27: President Nixon, Pat Nixon, Vice President Gerald Ford, Betty Ford, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Tricia Nixon Cox, Edward Cox, and David Eisenhower say farewell near the Air Force One helicopter door during the President's last day departure ceremony.

E3386-35: President Nixon waves farewell while standing at the door of the Air Force One helicoper during his last day departure ceremony.

The Naval Photographic Center Film #1211-106-75 (YouTube link) contains President Nixon's farewell speech to the White House staff. Please contact us if you need a high resolution copy of the film.

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