Tapes show Nixon wanted to "remove this irritant" of the Vietnam War; declares press, professors "are the enemy"
On December 2, 2008, the Nixon Presidential Library released 198 additional hours of Nixon tapes originally recorded between November 1972 and January 1973. With this release, 2,217 hours of tapes have been declassified and released to the public out of a total of approximately 3,700 hours recorded. This release was a sequel to a small release of tapes that occurred on July 11, 2007. For more information on the 2007 release, click here.
The topics discussed on these "Fifth Chron" tapes include the 1972 presidential election, Vietnam peace talks and the "Christmas bombing", foreign policy including the Soviet Union and China, Nixon's cabinet reshuffle in advance of the beginning of his second term, Nixon's interest in renaming or even abolishing the Republican Party and supporting prominent Democrat and former Nixon Secretary of the Treasury John B. Connally as the 1976 Republican presidential nominee, plans for the 1973 policy "the Year of Europe", domestic policy, and others.
nixontapes.org has obtained a copy of this new tape release, and will be soon adding the complete audio, finding aids, and analysis. For those who cannot wait to hear some of the real "gems" in this release, the following are a few samples.
- Sample conversation 1: December 10, 1972
- In advance of the collapse in peace talks on December 13, President Nixon calls Soviet Ambassador to Washington D.C. Anatoly Dobrynin. Nixon leans heavily on Dobrynin to get a message to Moscow. Nixon requests Soviet intervention with ally North Vietnam in order to save the jeopardized peace talks. Nixon argues that it is in both American and Soviet interests to "remove this irritant" of the Vietnam War. To listen to the audio, click here (mp3, 2.4m).
- Sample conversation 2: December 12, 1972
- In the Oval Office, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Alexander M. Haig briefs President Nixon on the Paris peace talks, which were in the midst of collapse. Nixon appreciates the tough approach national security advisor Henry Kissinger was taking in the peace talks, noting that the impasse could continue until the end of the month. The following day, Nixon issues an ultimatum that peace negotiations must resume within 72 hours. To listen to the audio, click here (mp3, 2.9m).
- Sample conversation 3: December 14, 1972
- In the first part of a long Oval Office conversation that included President Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Alexander Haig, Nixon provides the rationale for the Christmas bombing, a.k.a. Operation Linebacker II, which would begin on December 18. To listen to the audio, click here (mp3, 815k).
- Sample conversation 4: December 14, 1972
- In a second excerpt of this same Oval Office conversation, Nixon notes the need to demonstrate toughness with the North Vietnamese, and not to give in to "the other side." To listen to the audio, click here (mp3, 461k).
- Sample conversation 5: December 14, 1972
- In this final excerpt from this critical conversation, Nixon admonishes Henry Kissinger, that "the press are the enemy, the professors are the enemy." Kissinger points out that he is a professor. When Nixon seems not to notice Kisinger's rebuttal, Kissinger quickly agrees with Nixon about his views on the press. To listen to the audio, click here (mp3, 479k).
- Sample conversation 6: December 28, 1972
- In a telephone conversation between President Nixon and Henry Kissinger, after ten days of the heaviest bombing since World War II, both men agree that the North Vietnamese were eager to return to the negotiating table. Nixon agrees to cease bombing within 36 hours, which did end the following day. Nixon notes to Kissinger that if necessary, new negotiations should take place with North Vietnam only, and that any agreement reached would then be promulgated with South Vietnam. To listen to the audio, click here (mp3, 9.7m).
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