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Third Chronological Conversation Tape Release

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These conversations, released on February 28, 2002, comprise the third of five chronological segments to be 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, and background information on the Nixon White House Tapes.


The conversations involve a wide variety of participants, including:

  • White House staff members H.R. Haldeman, Henry Kissinger, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, Alexander Haig, Ronald Ziegler, and Rose Mary Woods.
  • They also include members of the Cabinet, other department and agency personnel, Members of Congress, foreign leaders, members of the press, and the general public.


Conversations include a wide variety of issues and document the daily routine of the President and his staff. They include discussions on public relations, appointments, ceremonial events, polling information, Presidential statements and speeches, and the President's schedule.

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.

Domestic Policy Conversations

Topics include domestic initiatives, such as:

  • wage and price controls, drug policy, revenue sharing, welfare reform, the settlement of the West Coast dock strike, crime, development of the Space Shuttle, busing, legislation, reaction to AFL-CIO President George Meany's decision to resign from the Pay Board, and the President's New Economic Policy.
  • There are also discussions of the Welander-Radford spy ring, Jack Anderson's columns (regarding the President's brother, F. Donald Nixon, and the International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) investigation), and the press, including Dan Rather's interview with the President in January, and the President's press conferences.
  • There are several conversations in May and June about the President's reaction to the attempted assassination of George Wallace in Maryland, his efforts to find out what happened, and his decision to provide all Presidential candidates with security protection.
  • This segment also contains the "Smoking Gun" conversation about the "Watergate" break-in and the "18½ minute gap" conversation.

There are many discussions about various Presidential appointments, including:

  • Peter G. Peterson as Secretary of Commerce, Richard Kleindienst as Attorney General, George Shultz as Secretary of Treasury, Caspar Weinberger as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Peter M. Flanigan as Director of the Council on International Economic Policy (CIEP), D. Kenneth Rush as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Marina Whitman as a member of the Council of Economic Advisors, L. Patrick Gray as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation following the death of J. Edgar Hoover, and John Connally's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury.

As the year begins, there are increasingly more conversations about:

  • the upcoming Presidential election, beginning with the President's decision to seek re-election and enter the New Hampshire primary.
  • There are many conversations about the various Democratic candidates (Edmund Muskie, George McGovern, and George Wallace), their statements about the President's policies, especially his Vietnam policies, and the primaries.
  • There are many conversations about the attempted assassination of George Wallace and its effect on the election.

In June, there are conversations about:

  • the "Watergate" break-in, the President's reaction, and John Mitchell's decision to resign as head of the Campaign to Re-Elect the President.

Foreign Policy Conversations

The conversations also document foreign policies and world events, including:

  • the Vietnam War, the President's trip to the People's Republic of China in February, the President's "Summit" trip to the Soviet Union (and Austria, Iran and Poland) in May, the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the war between India and Pakistan, the Egypt-Israel conflict, and Strategic Arms and Limitation Talks with the Soviet Union, and Mrs. Nixon's trip to Africa.

Many conversations from January through March:

  • Detail aspects of the President's historic trip to the People's Republic of China (PRC).
  • Before the trip, there are many discussions about preparations, schedules, and the drafting of the final communique.
  • There is also a conversation between the President and French Chinese expert and poet, Andre Malraux.
  • After the President's return, there are many conversations detailing U.S. and world reaction to the visit.
  • There are also discussions about placing the two pandas in the National Zoo.

Likewise, there are many conversations from March through June:

  • Detailing the President's trip to the Soviet Union and signing the ABM Treaty.
  • Before the trip, there are many discussions detailing the treaty negotiations, communique statements, and trip planning.
  • There are several discussions about the possibility that the Soviet Union might cancel the Summit following the U.S. decision to mine Haiphong Harbor in Vietnam.
  • After the president's return, there are many discussions about Senate ratification, and U.S. and world reaction to the Treaty.

There are many conversations about the President's policies for Vietnam. They include:

  • his announcement in January of his decision to withdraw 70,000 U.S. troops, his reaction to the North Vietnamese Army's offensive in March and April, his anger at U.S. military commanders, his decision to send Gen. John Vogt to Vietnam as a commander, and his May 8 Speech to the nation regarding the mining of Haiphong Harbor.
  • There are also many conversations about the Paris Peace talks, the status of the negotiations, and his peace proposals.
  • There are a few conversations in June about the death of John Paul Vann, U.S. advisor in Vietnam.

The President met with a number of foreign leaders and dignitaries, including:

  • Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan, Prime Minister Nihat Erim of Turkey, King Hussein of Jordan, President Luis Echeverria Alvarez of Mexico, Kurt Waldheim (Secretary General of the United Nations), and Andre Malraux.

Abuses of Governmental Power  [See Also:  Abuse of Governmental Power Conversations]

There are also some conversations that detail Abuses of Governmental Power, as defined by Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) and its implementing regulations. Most of these conversations were previously released in November 1996 and February 1999. These conversations, now in context, include discussions about:

  • ITT, the milk fund, domestic wiretapping and surveillance, campaign activities, misuse of federal agencies, and illegal political campaign contributions.
  • Importantly, this installment also includes the "Smoking Gun" conversation as well as the "18½ minute gap" conversation.

Restriction History  [See Also:  Why Taped Conversations are Withdrawn]

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) indicated 125 withdrawals on the Tape Subject Logs out of the 426 hours in this segment.

  • The National Archives has designated:
  • For national security withdrawals, the tape subject log indicates the main subject or subjects that have been withdrawn.

About this Release

There are no transcripts for these conversations.

  • spans January 1972 - June 1972
  • 170 White House Tapes (four tapes were determined to be blank)
  • consists of approximately 4,127 conversations
  • totals approximately 425 hours
  • conversations recorded in the Oval Office, the President's office in the EOB, the President's office at Camp David, and the White House telephones
  • released on February 28, 2002
  • release includes 166 White House Tapes available on 704 reference cassettes
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