Practice English Speaking&Listening with: New Nixon Secrets from the White House Tapes

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IT'S ABOUT HISTORY, POLICY

AND IMPACT.

A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON CURRENT

AFFAIRS, BRINGING EXPERIENCE AND

INSIGHT, STABILITY AND

SCHOLARSHIP TO THE URGENT

MISSIONS OF TODAY.

IT'S ABOUT OUR PAST THE PRESENT

-- PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

POSSIBLE OR CENTER, THIS IS

"AMERICAN FORUM." DOUG: WELCOME

BACK TO THE MILLER CENTER'S

AMERICAN FORUM.

FOR DECADES AFTER THE PRESIDENCY

OF AMERICAN -- OF RICHARD NIXON,

AMERICA REMAINS FASCINATED WITH

THIS FIGURE.

HE HAD EXTRAORDINARY

ACHIEVEMENTS IN AMERICAN POLICY

AND WAS HUGELY POPULAR AMONG

VOTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND

ONCE APPEARED TO BE A MAN

DESTINED FOR HISTORICAL

GREATNESS.

HE CAME TO REPRESENT ALL THAT WE

MOST FEAR IN DEMOCRACY, A LEADER

CARRIED AWAY BY HUBRIS,

INTOLERANCE AND A THIRST FOR

POWER THAT PROPELLED HIM AND THE

ENTIRE COUNTRY TO ENGAGE IN

SHAMEFUL AND ILLEGAL ACTIONS

THAT STILL HAULED US ALL EVEN

TODAY.

OUR GUESTS IN THIS EPISODE ARE

THREE OF THE NATION'S LEADING

SCHOLARS ON THE NIXON PRESIDENCY

WHO DEVOTED YEARS OF WORK

EXAMINING THOUSANDS OF HOURS OF

SECRET RECORDINGS OF THE NIXON

OVAL OFFICE.

KEN HUGHES IS THE AUTHOR OF

"CHASING SHADOWS."

HE ALSO HAS FORTHCOMING "FATAL

POLITICS."

LUKE NICHTER IS A HISTORY

PROFESSOR AT TEXAS A&M

UNIVERSITY.

HE IS A CO-AUTHOR OF "THE NIXON

TAPES, 1971-1972." JOHN

PRODUCE'S IS THE AUTHOR OF THE

WHITE HOUSE TAPES, EAVESDROPPING

ON THE PRESIDENT.

HE IS A HISTORIAN AND SENIOR

FELLOW AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY

ARCHIVE AND HAS WRITTEN MORE

THAN 20 BOOKS ON PRESIDENTIAL

POWER AND NATIONAL SECURITY.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

IT IS GREAT TO HAVE YOU.

WHAT A FASCINATING ARRAY OF

BOOKS THAT YOU BRING TO US

TODAY.

BEFORE WE START INTO OUR

CONVERSATION ABOUT THE NIXON

PRESIDENCY AND ABOUT THE TAPES

THAT WERE MADE DURING HIS

PRESIDENCY, LET'S LISTEN TO ONE

SAMPLE OF THOSE RECORDINGS SO

THAT WE CAN HEAR THE VOICE OF

NIXON AND IN THIS CASE, IT IS

NIXON AND KISSINGER DISCUSSING

WHAT WILL COME TO BE THE FINAL

RESOLUTION OF THE AMERICAN

INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM.

LET'S LISTEN TO THE VOICES.

DESTROY HIM."

THAT IS A REALLY OMINOUS LINE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT MOMENT AND

HEAR FROM YOU THREE ABOUT WHAT

WAS HAPPENING IN THAT CONTEXT.

LET'S TALK MORE BROADLY ABOUT

VIETNAM AND THE NIXON

INVOLVEMENT IN PERPETUATING AND

BRINGING IT IN AND -- BRINGING

AN END TO VIETNAM.

KEN: THIS IS A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN

NEGOTIATIONS OVER THE VIETNAM

WAR.

OCTOBER 6, 1972.

AS THE DAY BEFORE AND MAKE A

-- HENRY KISSINGER WILL FLY TO

PARIS TO MEET WITH THE NORTH

VIETNAMESE.

THE NORTH VIETNAMESE ARE GOING

TO SETTLE ON NIXON'S TERMS.

TO GET SET IN -- DID GET SOUTH

VIETNAM READY FOR THIS, THEY

SENT ALEXANDER HAIG TO BRIEF THE

SOUTH VIETNAMESE GOVERNOR --

GOVERNMENT.

THE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH VIETNAM

WAS IN TEARS, SAYING THIS WILL

DESTROY OUR GOVERNMENT AND KEEP

US GOING FOR A WHILE, BUT AT

SOME POINT I'M GOING TO HAVE TO

COMMIT SUICIDE.

THIS TAPE ILLUSTRATES WHAT IS

MOST VALUABLE ABOUT THE NIXON

TAPES IN THAT, YOU GET TO HEAR

NIXON AND KISSINGER SAY THINGS,

ADMIT THINGS THAT THEY WOULD

NEVER PUT IN WRITING, THAT THEY

DENIED IN THEIR MEMOIRS.

BOTH OF THEM SAID THEY DID NOT

PURSUE ANY DECENT INTERVAL EXIT

STRATEGY FOR VIETNAM.

THIS TAPE AND OTHERS SHOW THAT

THEY REALIZED THEY WERE MAKING

AN AGREEMENT THAT WOULD ONLY

KEEP SOUTH VIETNAM GOING FOR A

YEAR OR TWO AFTER NIXON WITHDREW

THE LAST TROOPS.

IT REALLY ILLUSTRATES THE TIME

MACHINE QUALITY OF THE TAPES,

ESPECIALLY NIXON'S TAPES BECAUSE

HE HAD A VOICE ACTIVATED

MECHANISM THAT BASICALLY TURNED

ON EVERY TIME HE OPENED HIS

MOUTH BETWEEN FEBRUARY 1971 AND

JULY 1973, GIVING US THIS ONCE

IN HISTORY ACCOUNT, A

NEAR-PERFECT RECORD OF THE

PRESIDENCY, AT LEAST FROM THE

OVAL OFFICE PERSPECTIVE.

DOUG: THAT PHRASE THAT YOU REFER

TO, THE DECENT INTERVIEW --

INTERVAL WAS THE IDEA THAT THE

U.S. COULD GET OUT OF SOUTH

VIETNAM AND THINGS COULD HOLD

TOGETHER LONG ENOUGH THAT IT

WOULD NOT APPEAR AN

EMBARRASSMENT OR CATASTROPHIC

LOSS ON THE PART OF THE UNITED

STATES.

THAT WAS THE REAL NIXON

STRATEGY, EVEN THOUGH LATER IT

WAS DENIED.

THE OFFICIAL VERSION OF EVENTS

IS A BIT LIKE THE OFFICIAL

VERSIONS OF EVENTS ON IRAQ.

THAT WE WERE LEAVING BEHIND A

NEW STABLE DEMOCRACY.

THAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO HOLD

OFF THINGS LIKE ISIS OR THE

ISLAMIC STATE.

KEN: COMPELLING ANALOGY.

DOUG: INTERESTING HOW SIMILARLY

THINGS HAVE TURNED OUT.

JOHN: I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH

ONE THING CAN SAID -- KEN SAID.

THAT THE VIETNAMESE WERE

SETTLING IN ON AMERICAN TROOPS.

I THINK THE REASON THAT

KISSINGER AND NIXON HOLD THE

OPINION THAT THE TERMS ARE GOING

TO DESTROY SOUTH VIETNAM BECAUSE

THEY GOT TO THIS AGREEMENT

AGREEING THAT NORTH VIETNAMESE

TROOPS WOULD NOT WITHDRAW FROM

SOUTH THE ENEMIES TROOPS TO

MATCH AMERICAN TROOPS LEAVING

VIETNAM.

KEN: THAT'S TRUE. BUT IT IS

AMERICA'S TERMS AS OF MAY OF

1971, WHEN KISSINGER NEGOTIATED

--

JOHN: THE NEGOTIATION ONLY

PRECEDED AFTER THE -- ONLY

PROCEEDED AFTER THE AMERICANS

MADE THAT CONCESSION.

KEN: THAT'S WHAT I MEAN BY

NIXON'S TERMS.

THE CEASE-FIRE IN PLACE ALLOWING

THE NORTH VIETNAMESE TO CONTINUE

TO STAY IN SOUTH VIETNAM.

A CONFESSION THEY MADE IN FALL

OF 1970 AND COMPLETELY -- A

CONCESSION THEY MADE IN 1970.

DOUG: WHAT THAT CONCESSION WAS

WAS THE UNITED STATES IS GOING

TO PULL ITS TROOPS OUT OF THE IT

-- OUT OF ALL OF VIETNAM.

MOST OF THE TERRITORIES WERE IN

THE HANDS OF SOUTH VIETNAM.

EXPLAIN THAT ARRANGEMENT.

JOHN: THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF A

-- IDENTIFYING THOSE TWO TERMS.

THE RESPONSE WAS NORTH

VIETNAMESE TROOPS MUST LEAVE

SOUTH VIETNAM WHEN THERE IS NO

DEAL.

KEN: WHEN NIXON MADE SPEECHES,

HE TALKED ABOUT ALL THE OUTSIDE

FORCES LEAVING SOUTH VIETNAM.

DOUG: IN FACT -- WHEN IN FACT

-- THERE HAS BEEN THIS

CONVERSATION WITH THE PREMIER OF

VIETNAM IN WHICH HE HAD SAID "I

HAVE TO COMMIT SUICIDE BECAUSE

OF THIS."

HE'S NOT TALKING METAPHORICALLY

REALLY.

HE IS SAYING EVERYTHING IS GOING

TO COLLAPSE AND I'M NOT GOING TO

SURVIVE THIS.

LUKE: TIMELY LESSON TO

PRESIDENTS DURING WARTIME.

IT'S A LOT EASIER TO GET INTO

WAR THAN IT IS TO GET OUT.

THE OTHER THING I THINK WE SEE

IN CONVERSATION IS THAT THIS IS

A RICHARD NIXON WHO HAS BEEN TO

CHINA AND HAS ALREADY BEEN TO

MOSCOW.

WHATEVER VALUE VIETNAM HAD AS A

NEGOTIATING CHIP IS NOW EXPIRED.

AT THIS POINT, RICHARD NIXON

JUST WANTS TO GET OUT OF

VIETNAM.

JOHN: HE WANTS TO GIVE

NEGOTIATING TIPS.

WHEN HE GOES TO THIS TRIP IS THE

PLAN TO BOMB HANOI.

WHICH HAS BEEN SECRETLY WORKED

UP BY THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF.

DOUG: THAT IS HIS LAST AMERICAN

THREAT -- THAT IS THIS LAST

AMERICAN THREAT TO THE NORTH

VIETNAMESE?

JOHN: THAT'S RIGHT.

SO THE TWO COULD FEEL BETTER

GOING ALONG WITH THE AGREEMENT.

DOUG: THE IDEA THAT A PRESIDENT

AND SECRETARY KISSINGER, THESE

INDIVIDUALS WHO I THINK -- THESE

QUITE BRILLIANT MINDS IN TERMS

OF GEOPOLITICS OF THAT ERA, THE

IDEA THAT THEY COULD BE IN THIS

CALCULATION OF THIS RESOLUTION

THAT PEOPLE WE PROPPED UP ALL

THIS TIME WERE INEVITABLY GOING

TO COLLAPSE.

COULD YOU IMAGINE A SIMILAR

CONVERSATION FROM OTHER SOME --

FROM SOME OTHER ENGAGEMENT?

IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE THAT BEING

CONSIDERED A DEFENSIBLE

STRATEGIC DECISION.

KEN: NIXON AND KISSINGER DENIED

IT.

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE TAPES NIXON

KEPT THE WAR GOING THROUGH 1972

BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID SAIGON

WOULD FALL AFTER HE WITH DREW

AMERICAN TROOPS.

YOU CAN HEAR NIXON AND KISSINGER

AS EARLY AS SPRING OF 1971 SAINT

WE WILL GET OUT.

-- SAYING WE WILL GET OUT.

NIXON SETS OUT A WINDOW

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN JULY OF 1972

AND JANUARY OF 1973.

THEY TIME WITH DRAWLS SO THEY

WILL REACH A CLIMAX THAN AN

NIXON STICKS THE LANDING.

HE GETS COMBAT TROOPS OUT

SHORTLY BEFORE THE ELECTION.

HE GETS THE FINAL BILL IN 1973.

NIXON AND KISSINGER ARE STILL

BRILLIANT GEO-POLITICIANS.

WHAT IS HIDDEN FROM VIEW IS THAT

THEY ARE WORKING GEOPOLITICS

WITH AN EYE TOWARD ITS AFFECT ON

DOMESTIC POLITICS.

DOMESTIC POLITICS WINDS UP

WAGGING THE DOG.

LUKE: THE PARALLEL AND THE

LESSONS OF VIETNAM AND HOW WE

APPLY THEM TO RECENT EVENTS.

I THINK ONE THING RICHARD NIXON

REALIZED, I THINK WITH THE NIXON

TAPES YOU CAN CHERRY PICK

SOMETHING TO SUPPORT ALMOST ANY

THEORY.

I THINK THAT WHEN YOU LOOK AT A

SUFFICIENT SAMPLE SIZE, THERE

ARE A LOT OF PARALLELS THAT I

SEE.

SOME PEOPLE SAY, COULD WE HAVE

WON THE WAR? COULD NIXON HAVE

ALTERED STRATEGY?

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF

SUCCESS OR VICTORY IN VIETNAM?

YOU LOOK AT IRAQ AND

AFGHANISTAN.

I THINK WE HAVE YET TO SEE ANY

POLITICIAN AND ARTICULATE WHAT

IT MEANS TO A BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN

THOSE PLACES.

WE KNOW WHAT FAILURE LOOKS LIKE.

IT IS ANYTHING BUT CLEAR WHAT

VICTORY OR SUCCESS WOULD HAVE

LOOKED LIKE.

DOUG: I THINK THAT IS AN

INTERESTING POINT.

WHAT THE REAL DEFINITION IS AS

OPPOSED TO, I THINK WE HAVE AN

INSTINCTIVE UNDERSTANDING OF

WHAT IS THE HIGH POINT.

SUCH AS MISSION ACCOMPLISHED IN

IRAQ AND THE BIG INSTITUTIONS OF

THE DESIGNATED ENEMY HAVE BEEN

BROKEN, THEIR FORCES HAVE AN

SCATTERED.

IT FEELS VICTORIOUS BUT IT IS

ANYTHING BUT A SECURE AND

LASTING VICTORY AND MILLIONS OF

MILES AWAY FROM AN ACTUAL

RESTORATION OF A NEW KIND OF

SOCIETY WHERE PEOPLE ARE WORKING

TOGETHER AGAIN.

WHICH WAS SUPPOSEDLY THE AIM IN

VIETNAM AS WELL.

JOHN: THIS TIES IN WITH

SOMETHING I'VE BEEN THINKING

ABOUT A LOT WHICH IS THE

DISAPPEARANCE OF TAPING AS A

FORM OF RECORDING INFORMATION

AND HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE.

IT IS BEEN SUPPRESSED BY NEW

FORMS OF COMMUNICATION.

NEW MECHANISMS.

THE NEW FORM OF AUDIO TAPES.

THE NEW WHITE HOUSE TAPES ARE

GOING TO BE THE RECORDS OF VIDEO

TELECONFERENCES THAT HAPPENED

BETWEEN AMERICAN PRESIDENTS AND

OFFICIALS OR PEOPLE FROM FOREIGN

COUNTRIES.

IN THE CONTEXT WHICH YOU ARE

JUST TALKING ABOUT HERE, MY

UNDERSTANDING IS THAT GEORGE

BUSH USED TO HAVE WEEKLY

TELECONFERENCES WITH KARZAI, THE

PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN AND

THEN THOSE STOPPED WHEN BARACK

OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE

UNITED STATES.

HERE IS A FORM OF EVIDENCE THAT

IS GOING TO TELL US A BIT ABOUT

WHAT THE AMERICAN FEELING WAS OR

AMERICAN POLICY WAS IN THIS NEW

ERA.

IS GOING TO STOP TOO.

DOUG: PEOPLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

DON'T SEND EACH OTHER E-MAILS

ANYMORE.

IT MAKES YOU WONDER WHETHER WE

SHOULD CONSIDER ADOPTING A

STANDARD THAT SAYS EVERYTHING

MUST BE RECORDED BUT THAT ALL OF

THAT INFORMATION IS SHIELDED FOR

SOME PERIOD OF TIME.

IT CANNOT BE OBTAINED OR USED

FOR PROSECUTION.

YOU ESSENTIALLY COULD ASSERT

THAT AND SAY THAT FOR 25 YEARS,

UNTIL 25 YEARS AFTER PRESIDENCY,

THIS INFORMATION IS SEALED AND

THAT IT BECOMES AVAILABLE FOR

HISTORIANS.

JOHN: THAT ALREADY EXISTS.

THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT

AFFIRMS A PERIOD OF 12 YEARS.

DOUG: IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THE

RECORDING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

JOHN: THAT IS TRUE.

IT IS ALSO THE COURTS, LEGAL

CASES.

THE E-MAIL FOR EXAMPLE, WHITE

HOUSE E-MAIL WAS NOT ON THE

TABLE UNTIL MY GROUP, THE

NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE TO THE

WHITE HOUSE TO COURT AND GOT

AFFIRMATIVE JUDGMENT THAT YES,

THESE E-MAILS ARE PUBLIC RECORDS

AND THEY ARE SUBJECT TO

DECLASSIFICATION.

THAT HAS OPENED UP THE

POSSIBILITY OF HAVING A

CONVERSATION ABOUT HILLARY

CLINTON'S E-MAIL.

DOUG: WHAT'S ALSO AMAZING TO ME

ABOUT ALL THESE KINDS OF THINGS.

FOR OPENING UP HILLARY'S E-MAILS

FOR US.

THANK YOU.

WHATEVER HAPPENS, IT IS ON YOU.

YOU CAN SEE IT TO SOME DEGREE,

EVEN IN THE NIXON TAPES AS

, CAUTIOUS AS PEOPLE BECOME

ABOUT THESE THINGS AND AS OFTEN

AS THEY SAY, I DON'T EVER SEND

E-MAILS ABOUT THIS OR ABOUT THAT

BECAUSE I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO

SEE THAT, WE STILL E-MAIL

PASSWORD LEFT AND RIGHT TO ONE

ANOTHER WHEN OUR WIFE NEEDS

THEM.

IF YOU ARE A COP IN FERGUSON,

MISSOURI, A CITY OFFICIAL, YOU

SEND A MESSAGE CRACKING JOKES

ABOUT A NEW BLACK PRESIDENT.

IT IS AMAZING EVEN WHEN WE KNOW

WE ARE CREATING PUBLIC RECORDS

THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE

WANT THEM PEOPLE STILL WILL SAY

, THE MOST AMAZING THINGS.

JOHN: THAT IS VERY EVIDENT IN

THESE TAPES FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

FROM THIS 1960'S -- FROM THE

1960'S AND 1970'S.

MCGEORGE BUNDY AND DEAN RUSK

AND OFFICIAL AFTER OFFICIAL

ASKED, DID YOU GUARD YOUR

LANGUAGE BECAUSE THERE WAS A

TAPING SYSTEM?

DID YOU KNOW THAT WAS TAPING

SYSTEM?

THEIR RESPONSE WAS, I DID NOT

KNOW IN THE BEGINNING BUT AFTER

A WHILE I KNEW.

AT FIRST I GUARDED MYSELF BUT

AFTER A WHILE I FORGOT ABOUT IT.

LUKE: WHEN THE RECORDINGS WERE

TAKING PLACE, THEY HAD AN

EXPECTATION THEY WOULD REMAIN

PRIVATE INDEFINITELY.

CLEARLY NIXON MUST'VE BEEN

CHOREOGRAPHING SOME OF THESE

CONVERSATIONS.

MAYBE, BUT THE TAPES ARE MORE

DAMAGING TO HIM THAN ANYBODY

ELSE.

ON TOP OF THAT, IT IS CLEAR

AFTER A WHILE THAT HE FORGETS

TAPINGS EVEN TAKE PLACE.

WHICH LOCATIONS, WHICH OF HIS

OFFICES.

IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY THAT HE

DID CHOREOGRAPH THESE.

THE SYSTEM WAS INSTALLED AND

OPERATED BY THE SECRET SERVICE

AND JUST RAN EVERYDAY.

DOUG: LET'S GO BACK TO VIETNAM.

KEN WROTE A BOOK, TALKING ABOUT

BEFORE NIXON WAS EVEN REALLY

PRESIDENT.

THE CHENAULT AFFAIR.

JOHN: THE OCTOBER SURPRISE.

DOUG: THE NIXON CAMPAIGN IS

SENDING THE MESSAGE TO THE NORTH

VIETNAMESE AT THAT POINT, DON'T

SETTLE, DON'T REACH A DEAL WITH

THE CURRENT DEMOCRATIC

ADMINISTRATION.

HOLD OFF, YOU'LL GET A BETTER DO

-- DEAL FROM ME.

THAT SOUNDS A LITTLE BIT LIKE

WHAT IS JUST HAPPENED WITH A

GROUP OF U.S. SENATORS IN THE

UNITED STATES.

AS KEN PORTRAYS IT, THIS IS A

PRIVATE CITIZEN AND WHAT COULD

ARGUABLY BE A CLEAR VIOLATION OF

THE WAGNER ACT.

A CLEARLY TREASONOUS ACT,

UNDERMINING THIS POLITICAL

NEGOTIATION.

AS A RESULT OF ITS EXCEEDING AND

-- SUCCEEDING IN UNDERMINING AT

THE COST OF THOUSANDS OF

ADDITIONAL AMERICAN LIVES

BECAUSE THE WAR WAS EXTENDED.

DO YOU BY KEN'S INTERPRETATION?

LUKE: TO ME, WHAT LACKS IN TERMS

OF SMOKING GUN IS NIXON'S DIRECT

INVOLVEMENT.

WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT NIXON'S

INVOLVEMENT WAS, WHEN WAS HE

ISSUING ORDERS, WE CAN ASSUME

JOHN MITCHELL WAS INVOLVED.

TO ME, WHAT IS LACKING IS

KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT NIXON SAID

AND WHAT HE WANTED TO HAPPEN.

KEN: THAT'S WHAT'S FRUSTRATED --

THAT IS WHAT FRUSTRATED LBJ.

HE SUSPECTED NIXON WAS BEHIND IT

AND CHENNAULT IMPLIED NIXON WAS

BEHIND IT WILL STOP IS THE

EXPLANATION THAT MAKES THE MOST

SENSE BECAUSE THE SOUTH

VIETNAMESE TOOK THESE MESSAGES

VERY SERIOUSLY.

WHILE LBJ SOMETIMES IMPLIED WHEN

HE WAS TALKING TO EVERETT

DIRKSEN OR NIXON HIMSELF THAT HE

HAD THE GOODS, HE REALLY DIDN'T.

NOT ON NIXON.

DOUG: THERE IS A PARTICULAR

RECORDING IN WHICH JOHNSON IS

ASCRIBING THIS DO NIXON

DIRECTLY.

OFFERING THE POSSIBILITY THAT

THIS MUST BE GOING ON

INDEPENDENT OF NIXON HIMSELF.

THE MESSAGE IS THAT CANDIDATE

NIXON NEEDS TO CURB HIS

OPERATIVES BECAUSE IT IS

TREASON.

IF THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING,

IT IS TREASON.

NIXON DOES NOT SAY, I HAVE NO

IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT

MR. PRESIDENT.

LUKE: ONE OF THE MYSTERIES OF

THIS EPISODE, IF ONE POLITICAL

PARTY HAD EVIDENCE OF TREASON

AGAINST THE OTHER, THE IDEA

INSTEAD OF USING THAT FOR

POLITICAL GAIN IN AN ELECTION

YEAR, BUT NO, IT IS FOR THE

BETTER OF THE COUNTRY THAT WE

SEAL THIS.

I DO NOT BUY THAT.

IF THE TABLES WERE REVERSED AND

REPUBLICANS HAD EVIDENCE OF

DEMOCRATIC TREASON, THEY WOULD

PUT THEM TO GOOD USE.

KEN: THE DAY BEFORE THE

ELECTION, LBJ GETS HIS SECRETARY

OF STATE, NATIONAL SECURITY

ADVISOR AND SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

ON THE PHONE.

THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

HAS A STORY.

THE SECRETARY OF STATE, CLARK

CLIFFORD, ALL ADVISING NOT TO

BECAUSE WE DO NOT HAVE THE GOODS

ON NIXON HIMSELF AND IF WE PUT

IT OUT WE COULD DESTROY HIS

PRESIDENCY BEFORE IT BEGINS.

THEY WERE WORRIED THAT NIXON

WOULD ENTERED OFFICE AS A

CRIPPLED PRESIDENT.

IT IS INTERESTING TO HEAR GUYS

WHO ARE DEMOCRATIC PARTISANS

SAYING WE SHOULD HOLD OFF ON

THIS BECAUSE IT DOES TOO MUCH

DAMAGE AND WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH

PROOF.

DOUG: CAN WE IMAGINE SUCH A

THING IN CURRENT TIMES?

DECIDING FOR THE GOOD OF THE

COUNTRY NOT TO DESTROY THE OTHER

SIDE?

THAT IS UNTHINKABLE.

JOHN: CLARK CLIFFORD WAS A BIG

PARTISAN BACK IN THOSE DAYS.

I WAS PART OF THE U.S.

DELEGATION IN HANOI IN 1997,

MEETING WITH THESE FORMER

VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS AT A

CONFERENCE ABOUT THE MISSED

OPPORTUNITIES OF THE VIETNAM

WAR.

WHEN THE QUESTION OF PEACE DEAL

CAME UP, THE NORTH VIETNAMESE

POSITION WAS THAT WE HAD MADE A

BIG MISTAKE BECAUSE THE SAME

DEAL THAT WE ACHIEVED IN 1973

WAS ON THE TABLE IN 1968.

DOUG: IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT THE

WAR COULD'VE ENDED AT THAT POINT

ON THE SAME TERMS AND YOU COULD,

MAYBE THIS WOULD BE ARTIFICIAL,

BUT IT IS NOT GINNING UP A DRAMA

TO SAY THAT THE LIVES LOST

BETWEEN THAT MOMENT AND THE

ACTUAL END OF THE WAR COULD VERY

LIKELY HAVE BEEN, THOSE LOST

LIVES COULD'VE BEEN PREVENTED.

JOHN: THOSE SPECIFIC TERMS --

THEY WERE SAYING THEY WERE OPEN

TO THAT TYPE OF AGREEMENT.

LUKE: I AM NOT SURE WHAT TO

BELIEVE.

THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT

CONFLICTS.

THERE ARE STILL RECORDS WAITING

TO BE OPENED ON THIS.

DOUG: WHAT DOES THIS BODY OF

EVIDENCE TELL US ABOUT THE

PRESIDENCY?

IS THIS A REFLECTION OF HOW MOST

PRESIDENCY'S WORK OR THE ISSUES

THAT EVERY PRESIDENT CONFRONTS

IN TERMS OF INFORMATION THEY

HAVE IN ANY MOMENT?

THEIR ABILITY TO CONTROL OR NOT

CONTROL EVENTS HAPPENING IN THE

WORLD?

WHAT DOES THIS TELL US ABOUT THE

REALITY OF THE PRESIDENCY?

KEN: I THINK LISTENING TO NIXON,

JOHNSON AND KENNEDY, THE

PRESIDENCY ON THE TAPES IS A

VERY REACTIVE THING.

THE DAY'S HEADLINES PLAY A LARGE

ROLE IN THE PRESIDENT'S

ATTENTION.

IT IS A VERY POLITICALLY

ORIENTED THING.

ALL THE PRESIDENTS ARE CONCERNED

WITH HOW THEY ARE DOING AT THAT

PARTICULAR MOMENT.

THEY'RE CAPABLE OF MAKING

LONG-TERM PLANS AND THEY STICK

TO THEM.

THEY ARE CONSTANTLY GETTING NEW

THINGS THEY HAVE TO RESPONSE TO.

THEY'RE ALWAYS WORKING WITH ONLY

PARTIAL INFORMATION WITH ISSUES

THEY HAVE PARTIAL EXPERTISE ON.

IT IS FUNNY LISTENING TO NIXON

TALK ABOUT ECONOMIC MATTERS AND

SAYING TO ADVISORS, I DON'T

REALLY UNDERSTAND THIS BUT I

UNDERSTAND THAT IF PRICES GO UP

THIS MUCH, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE

HERE AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT

THAT.

LUKE: RICHARD NIXON IS A STRANGE

MAN.

PEOPLE LIKE THAT DON'T TYPICALLY

REACH THE PRESIDENCY.

SOMETIMES I WONDER, DO WE KNOW

THAT OR THINK THAT BECAUSE IT IS

TRUE OR BECAUSE WE HAVE ALL

THESE RECORDINGS OF HIM THAT WE

DO NOT HAVE OF ANYONE ELSE.

IT IS SOMETHING WE DON'T HAVE

THE ANSWER TO.

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS IT

SHOWS TO ME, I AGREE WITH KEN

THAT YOU SEE NIXON CONSTANTLY

REACTING AND HE DOES NOT HAVE

THE INFORMATION HE NEEDS TO MAKE

CRITICAL DECISIONS.

HE IS PRESSING FOR MORE

INFORMATION.

HE OFTEN IS ACTING UP ON

INCOMPLETE INFORMATION.

I THINK THE PRESIDENCY, WE SEE

THE BEST EXAMPLE, IS AN

IMPOSSIBLE JOB.

WE HAVE LEADERS AT THE HIGHEST

LEVEL.

THAT IS A TIMELESS LESSON ABOUT

THE PRESIDENCY.

THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION HAS

INCREASED OVER TIME IN THE LAST

40 YEARS.

THE PRESIDENT MAKES DIFFICULT

DECISIONS EVERY DAY IN A MOMENT

WITH INCOMPLETE INFORMATION.

KEN: WHATEVER ELSE THEIR

DIFFERENCES, NIXON, JOHNSON,

KENNEDY, EISENHOWER AND FRANK

-- FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT SECRETLY

RECORDED CONVERSATIONS.

BY THE STANDARDS OF NORMAL

BEHAVIOR, IT IS ODD.

DOUG: A COMMONALITY BETWEEN ALL

OF THEM WAS A SENSE OF THEIR OWN

GREATNESS AND A PLACE IN

HISTORY.

WANTING THERE TO BE A RECORD

FROM WHICH THEY COULD SHAPE THAT

VERSION OF HISTORY THEMSELVES.

PRESIDENTS ALWAYS SEEM TO IN THE

ABSTRACT, BELIEVE THERE SHOULD

BE A RECORD OF MY PRESIDENCY

BECAUSE IT IS GOING TO BE SO

GREAT.

AS THINGS UNFOLD AND GET MORE

COMPLICATED THEY SEEM LESS

, ENAMORED OF HAVING TAYLOR

BRANCH COME INTO THE WHITE HOUSE

TO TALK TO THEM EVERY NIGHT WHEN

THINGS BECOME MORE COMPLICATED.

JOHN: AFTER THE ELECTION, LBJ --

HAS HIS ORIENTATION MEETING WITH

MR. NIXON AND THEY GET A SIDE IN

PRIVATE AND LBJ TELLS HIM, YOU

OUGHT TO HAVE A TAPING SYSTEM.

YOU'LL FIND IT GREAT FOR

HISTORICAL PURPOSES.

THAT WAS EXACTLY THE ARGUMENT HE

USED.

THEN, MR. NIXON ENTERED THE

WHITE HOUSE AND ORDERED THE

TAPING SYSTEM THAT LBJ HAD HAD

RIPPED OUT AND THE SECRET

SERVICE TOOK IT OUT.

FAST-FORWARD TWO YEARS, RICHARD

NIXON GETS HIS OWN SYSTEM

INSTALLED.

DOUG: INTERESTING.

AFTER PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS

ELECTED, AT THE TIME I WAS A

REPORTER AT THE WALL STREET

JOURNAL AND HAD DONE A GOOD BIT

OF COVERAGE ON THE 2008

CAMPAIGN.

I MADE A PROPOSAL -- ATTENDED TO

-- ATTEMPTED TO MAKE A PROPOSAL

TO THE WHITE HOUSE THAT I WRITE

A SERIES OF BOOKS ABOUT THE

OBAMA PRESIDENCY AND SOMEHOW

BECOME A FLY ON THE WALL IN THE

WHITE HOUSE WITH AN AGREEMENT

THAT I WOULD NOT WRITE ANY OF

THIS UNTIL AFTER THE PRESIDENCY

HAD ENDED.

ESSENTIALLY I WAS SAYING I WOULD

QUIT MY JOB AT THE WALL STREET

JOURNAL, I WILL BE ABLE TO FIND

HIM -- BE ABLE TO FINANCE THIS

FOR EIGHT YEARS.

IT DID NOT GO ANYWHERE, BUT ONE

OF THE THINGS WE CAME UP WITH, I

FOUND OUT THERE WAS A CLASSMATE

OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WHO HAD

MADE A SOMEWHAT LESS ELABORATE

OFFER OF SOMETHING SIMILAR THAT

THE OBAMA FOLKS HAD AGREED TO.

THIS GUY, AND ESTABLISHED

ATTORNEY, ABANDON HIS PLACE IN

LIFE, MOVED TO WASHINGTON, D.C.,

MOVED HIS FAMILY THERE IN

ANTICIPATION OF SOMETHING ALONG

THESE LINES AND ABOUT TWO YEARS

INTO THE PRESIDENCY, I BELIEVE

IT IS THE CASE THAT HE NEVER YET

HAD A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT

AND THE WHOLE THING FELL APART.

IT UNDERSCORES THIS IDEA THAT AT

THE BEGINNING, WHEN THERE IS A

GREAT SENSE OF HISTORY AROUND

IT, IT OPENS THE IDEA TO A TOTAL

ACCOUNT OF WHAT IS HAPPENING.

AS REALITY SETS IN, IT IS HARDER

TO LIVE WITH THAT.

LUKE: WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE

TAPING SYSTEM WAS IN PLACE, IF

I'M MEETING WITH YOU, YOU HAVE

YOUR NOTETAKER, I HAVE MY

NOTETAKER, WE BOTH HAVE A

RECORD.

WHAT THE TAPING SYSTEM ALLOWED

NIXON TO DO IS SAY, LET'S HAVE

AN INTIMATE MEETING, NO STAFF

PRESENT.

NIXON HAS THE ON THE COPY OF THE

MEETING.

THAT IS WHY THE RICH THINGS

ABOUT THE NIXON TAPES IS WE HAVE

A NUMBER OF MEETINGS.

SUCH AS NIXON AND BREZHNEV IN

THE TAPE IN MANY CASES IS THE

1973.

ONLY RECORD WE HAVE OF THE

MEETING.

DOUG: THERE SEEMS TO BE OF YOU

THAT NIXON DID SOME VERY BAD

THINGS BUT REALLY MAY BE WHAT HE

DID WAS NOT THAT MUCH WORSE THAN

A LOT OF OTHER PRESIDENTS IT IS

JUST THAT THERE WAS THE

COVER-UP.

THAT IS WHAT HE WAS REALLY

ENGAGED IN.

AND IN THE END HE WAS SOMEONE

TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

NOT THAT EXTRAORDINARY IN TERMS

OF THE BAD ACTIONS HE WAS

ASSOCIATED WITH.

HE JUST GOT CAUGHT.

A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO AT TIMES

HAVE ESPOUSED SOME SORT OF A

VIEW.

DO TAPES IN ANY WAY BEAR UP THAT

DEPICTION OF NIXON?

JOHN: I THINK THE TAPES SHOW A

PERSON WHO WAS ACTIVELY ENGAGED

IN A PURPOSEFUL EXERCISE OF

POWER TO GAIN ENDS HE HAS

DECIDED ARE THE ONES HE WANTS.

A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS ACTING IS

ACTUALLY THE FREEDOM OF

INFORMATION ACT.

THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

TODAY, THE PROVISIONS OF LAW

THAT REQUIRE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

TO RELEASE INFORMATION, WERE

ACTUALLY INSTITUTED BY RICHARD

NIXON.

THE REASON THAT THEY EXIST WAS

BECAUSE MR. NIXON WANTED TO TAR

JOHN F. KENNEDY AND HIS BROTHER

ROBERT UNTIL ROBERT WAS DEAD AND

THEN HIS BROTHER TED AFTER THAT

WITH THE ASSASSINATION OF NGO

DINH DIEM.

HE THOUGHT HE COULD ACHIEVE THAT

BY FORCING THE CIA TO RELEASE A

SERIES OF RECORDS.

HE THOUGHT HE COULD ADD DO THAT

BY GOING AFTER CASTRO IN THE A

OF PIGS.

THE CIA REFUSED TO GIVE UP THESE

RECORDS, AT WHICH POINT MR.

NIXON ISSUED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER

WHICH PUT IN PLACE A SYSTEM FOR

MANDATORY DECLASSIFICATION OF

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS.

THE PURPOSE FOR THAT WAS TO

FORCE THE CIA TO GIVE HIM THE

INFORMATION TO GO AFTER THE

KENNEDYS.

AND WE KNOW THIS BECAUSE HE

TALKS ABOUT IT ON TAPES.

LUKE: I THINK WHERE NIXON WAS

DIFFERENT WAS THE CREATION OF

THE WHITE HOUSE PLUMBERS.

THAT WENT BEYOND JUST RESEARCH

TEAMS OF KENNEDY AND JOHNSON.

HE INTERNALIZED THE KIND OF

OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY IN THE

WHITE HOUSE THAT PRIOR TO THAT A

PRESIDENT WOULD USE OR ABUSE.

PUTTING THAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE

WHEN THINGS WENT WRONG, THE

PERSON WHO HAVE TO TAKE THE

BLAME WAS RICHARD NIXON.

I THINK THAT IS WHAT SETS THEM

APART FROM PREDECESSORS.

KEN: THE THING THAT BOTHERS ME

ABOUT TRYING TO DECIDE WHETHER

NIXON IS ESPECIALLY BAD OR MORE

OF THE SAME, HE'S THE ONLY ONE

WE GOT THE DATA FOR.

THE A GUY WE HAVE THESE TAPES

ON.

I HAVE TO GIVE IT A BIG I DON'T

KNOW.

LUKE: THE QUESTION I AM ASKED A

LOT IS, LET'S FORGET WATERGATE

HAPPENED.

WHERE DOES NIXON STAND IN THE

PANTHEON OF PRESIDENTS?

IT IS A DIFFERENT DISCUSSION.

I THINK IT STILL WOULD HAVE BEEN

A CONTROVERSIAL PRESIDENCY.

YOU HAD EXTENSION OF THE WAR ON

CAMBODIA -- THE WAR IN CAMBODIA.

IT WOULD'VE BEEN CONTROVERSIAL

WITHOUT WATERGATE.

IF YOU CAN PRETEND THAT DIDN'T

HAPPEN, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DID

CHOOSE HIM TWICE.

EACH TIME THEY GOT SOMETHING

THAT SURPRISED THEM.

I THINK WE WOULD VIEW HIM A

LITTLE BIT DIFFERENTLY WITHOUT

WATERGATE.

DOUG: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT

THAT, JOHN?

I WONDER IF YOU GUYS ARE BEING

OVERLY CLINICAL IN THIS

ANALYSIS.

JOHN: I'M ON THE SPOT, HUH?

I THINK THAT THE NIXON

PRESIDENCY WAS FLAWED.

I THINK IT WAS FLAWED

FUNDAMENTALLY BY THE CHARACTER

OF THE INDIVIDUALS.

I THINK THAT NIXON HAD CERTAIN

PURPOSES AND WE'VE TALKED ABOUT

SOME OF THEM.

WE HAVE NOT MENTIONED TOO MUCH

THE IDEA OF OPENING WITH CHINA

OR NEGOTIATING WITH THE

RUSSIANS.

NOT TO MENTORED SINGLE-PARENT

-- NOT TO MENTION SINGLE-PAYER

HEALTH INSURANCE IS SOMETHING HE

WAS STANDING FOR.

HE HAD POSITIVE POLICY

PRESCRIPTIONS THAT HE WAS

INTERESTED IN.

I ALSO THINK THAT THE FLAWS IN

CHARACTER AND THE POLITICAL

GAMESMANSHIP REALLY THAT HE

ENGAGED IN CHEAPENED AND

WORSENED THOSE OBJECTIVES AND

FINALLY DESTROYED HIS

PRESIDENCY.

DOUG: DO THE TAPES REFLECT ON

THE WIDELY HELD VIEW THAT THOSE

BEHAVIORS, IF WE PLAY ARMCHAIR

PSYCHOLOGIST, THAT THEY RELATE

TO HIS SENSE OF INSECURITY?

THIS EMOTIONALLY DAMAGED MAN

THAT LEADS TO SOME OF THESE

IMPULSIVE CONSPIRATORIAL ACTIONS

ON HIS PART.

DID THE TAPES GIVE US

AFFIRMATION OF THAT PROFILE?

KEN: I DON'T LIKE DOING

PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES.

I HAVE NO SKILL AT IT.

DOUG: ALL DO HAVE TO DO IS WATCH

"NCI."

KEN: WHAT I FIND IS THAT NIXON

GENERALLY HAS A RATIONAL

EXPLANATIONS.

SOMETIMES A CONSPIRACY THEORIST.

EVEN WHEN HE IS A CONSPIRACY

THEORIST, HE HAS SOME

INFORMATION THAT WORRIES HIM.

GENERALLY WHAT HE DOES IS

, INEXPLICABLE POLITICALLY.

HE IS A POLITICAL GENIUS AND THE

EXTENT THAT HE HAS GOOD

INFORMATION, HE CAN MAKE SOUND

DECISIONS.

HE MAKES UNSOUND DECISIONS WHEN

HE HAS THAT INFORMATION, SUCH AS

THE INFORMATION THAT THE

BROOKINGS INSTITUTION HAS A FILE

ON THE 1968 BOMBING HALT AND HE

DECIDES HE NEEDS THAT SO MUCH HE

IS GOING TO PUT TOGETHER A TEAM

THAT WILL BREAK IN AND GET IT.

HE WAS KIND OF RATIONAL TO BE

AFRAID OF SUCH A FILE, IF IT HAD

EXISTED.

DOUG: THE ORIGINS OF WATERGATE.

YOU ARE SAYING THAT THIS

INCEPTION OF THE WHOLE, THE

PLUMBERS BEGINS WITH NIXON

THAT THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION

HAS A FILE THAT WOULD CONFIRM

HIS TAMPERING WITH THE

NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE NORTH

VIETNAMESE BEFORE HE BECAME

PRESIDENT.

WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON WHETHER THE

LINE IS CLEAR -- A FEAR OVER

PHANTOM DOCUMENTS?

LUKE: YOU COULD ASK HISTORIANS

WHO SAY YOU HAVE TO GEORGE

WASHINGTON TO UNDERSTAND THIS.

DOUG: DON'T SAY THAT.

LUKE: NOT TRYING TO BE OVER

CLINICAL, WE'VE BEEN TALKING

ABOUT A PERSON'S CHARACTER AND

BEHAVIOR.

IT IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN

THAT.

I DO NOT THINK IT WAS AN EVENT

WE CAN POINT TO.

NIXON IS SOMEONE, NAME A MODERN

PRESIDENT WITH MORE LINEAR

TRAINING FOR THE OVER OFFICE.

-- THE OVAL OFFICE.

THE HOUSE, THE SENATE, EIGHT

YEARS UNDER EISENHOWER.

A LONG TIME TO FORMULATE HIS

POLICIES.

I THINK YOU SEE THE SEEDS OF

WATERGATE VERY EARLY ON IN THE

PRESIDENCY DURING A PERIOD THAT

WE DON'T HAVE TAPING, INCLUDING

THE MEETING WITH ELVIS PRESLEY,

PERHAPS THE GREATEST LOSS TO

HISTORY.

DOUG: THERE IS A PICTURE OF THAT

THOUGH.

LUKE: IF YOU GO BACK A COUPLE

YEARS EARLIER, YOU HAVE A

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE PLAN, THE

HOUSTON PLAN WHICH IS STILL

CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET TODAY.

YOU HAVE THE TRAIL AND OF FBI

PROGRAMS INVOLVING DOMESTIC

SURVEILLANCE AND INTELLIGENCE.

THE SEEDS WERE IN PLACE.

THE CREATION OF THE PLUMBERS

CENTRALIZED THOSE SEEDS AND

ULTIMATELY WERE NIXON'S

DOWNFALL.

JOHN: HERE IS WHERE PRESIDENTIAL

RECORDS ARE IMPORTANT.

WRITTEN BROADLY, NOT JUST

TALKING ABOUT TAPES.

THE RECORDS FOR THE NIXON

ADMINISTRATION SHOW THAT BEFORE

THERE WAS A TAPING SYSTEM, HE

WAS ALREADY ENGAGED IN A PROGRAM

OF SYSTEMATICALLY TARRIED DOWN

-- TEARING DOWN THE OPPOSITION

FOR THE 1972 ELECTION.

HE DID THINGS LIKE -- DOCUMENTS

FOR THIS EXIST.

THINGS LIKE INVITE HUBERT

HUMPHREY TO THE WHITE HOUSE,

SIT HUMPHREY DOWN AND TALK ABOUT

HOW HE REALLY NEEDED HUMPHREY'S

SUPPORT FOR NEGOTIATIONS IN

VIETNAM.

THEY WOULD AGREE ON WHAT

HUMPHREY COULD DO, HUMPHREY

WOULD GO OFF AND DO THAT AND

THEN NIXON ISSUED ORDERS TO HIS

MINIONS TO CUT DOWN HUMPHREY FOR

WHAT HE HAD JUST DONE FOR MR.

NIXON.

THIS ATTITUDE, THIS PURPOSEFUL

ACTIVITY PREDATES THE TAPING AND

THE PLUMBERS.

DOUG: WE STARTED WITH A

RECORDING OF KISSINGER AND

NIXON.

I HAVE THE IMPRESSION FROM WHAT

YOU GUYS HAVE WRITTEN THAT THE

PICTURE, THE IN THE ROOM PICTURE

OF KISSINGER WE GET FROM THE

TAPES IS DIFFERENT THAN THE

KISSINGER WHO IS DESCRIBED

HIMSELF IN PUBLIC STATEMENTS AS

-- HE SAID THAT THAT WAS NOT THE

CALCULATION AND THAT WAS NOT

RECOGNITION BEING MADE BY THE

NIXON ADMINISTRATION.

DO THE TAPES MAKE KISSINGER OUT

TO BE A PATHOLOGICAL LIAR?

KEN: THEY SHOW HIM TO BE AS

INVOLVED IN POLITICAL

CALCULATIONS AS NIXON.

HE CAN BE A SIMPLE LIAR.

DOUG: PERHAPS NOT PATHOLOGICAL,

JUST CONSISTENT LIAR.

LUKE: 3500 PAGES OF MEMOIRS.

HE IS TRIED TO DEBUNK THE TAPES.

IN HIS MEMOIRS, HE SAID THE

TAPES HAVE NO HISTORICAL VALUE.

HOW IS IT FAIR ONE PERSON KNOWS

THEY EXIST AND EVERYONE WAS

BEING SECRETLY RECORDED?

I CAN TELL YOU, BEHIND CLOSED

DOORS HE'S INTERESTED IN THE

TAPES.

YOU'RE SEEING A CHANGE AND -- A

CHANGE IN TONE AND THE LAST YEAR

OR SO.

NOW THAT MORE AND MORE OF THE

TAPES HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED AND

ARE IN THE HANDS OF THE PUBLIC I

, THINK THIS DEBATE OVER DOES

KISSINGER TAKE CREDIT FOR THIS

OR DOES NIXON TAKE CREDIT FOR

THIS OR THE BLAME, I THINK WE

HAVE LESS AMBIGUITY ABOUT THESE

QUESTIONS.

NOW THAT THE RECORDINGS ARE

BEING USED BY HISTORIANS IN

PUBLIC, HE CANNOT STICK TO THIS

STATUS QUO THAT HE WROTE 30

YEARS BEFORE THAT HAD -- THAT

THEY HAVE NO VALUE.

DOUG: I LOVE TO HEAR THE JUDGE'S

RESPONSE TO A DEFENDANT SAYING

IT IS NOT FARED TO USE THE TAPE

OF MY DUI STOP TO CONVICT ME

BECAUSE I DID NOT KNOW THE TAPE

IS BEING MADE.

JOHN: KISSINGER EMPLOYED UPPER

-- EMPLOYED A PLATOON OF

NOTETAKERS TO RECORD MEMOS OF

HIS TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS

WHICH HE THEN PUT IN

ROCKEFELLER'S VAULT TO SHIELD

FROM U.S. RECORDS.

TALK ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON'S

E-MAILS, RICHARD NIXON'S TAPES,

HENRY KISSINGER DID THIS EXACT

THING.

THOSE PHONE RECORDS WENT INTO

ROCKEFELLER'S VAULT, OR SHIELDED

FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WERE

KEPT OUT OF THE DECLASSIFICATION

SYSTEM FOR DECADES.

IT IS A COURT PROCESS SUING FOR

ACCESS TO THOSE TAPES THAT HAS

BROUGHT THEM TO THE LIGHT OF THE

PUBLIC.

DOUG: DID THEY ADD OR SUBTRACT

FROM CONDITIONAL BEST

DIMENSIONAL WISDOM ABOUT WHAT

THEY REFLECT ON?

JOHN: I WOULD SAY KISSINGER

APPEARS THE WAY HE WOULD LIKE TO

APPEAR.

THERE WAS A FUNNY ARTICLE IN A

MAGAZINE THAT WAS A SORT OF

WASHINGTON INSIDER TYPE OF

MAGAZINE WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY A

GENTLEMAN WHO WORKED FOR THE

STATE DEPARTMENT WHO WAS ONE OF

THE SCRIBES.

HE TALKS ABOUT HOW AT THE

BEGINNING, THEY HAD THIS SENSE

OF RESPONSIBILITY AND THEY WERE

WORKING SO HARD ON THE DEAD KEY

TO LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATIONS

AND RECORD WHAT THEY WERE

SAYING, BUT OVER TIME, AS

KISSINGER OR OTHER MANAGERS

WOULD COME TO THEM AND SAY THIS

RECORD NEEDS MORE HUMOR OR THIS

RECORD NEEDS MORE OF THIS.

THEY BEGIN TO THINK OF

THEMSELVES AS CREATIVE WRITERS

AND THEY ACTUALLY STARTED

WEARING JACKETS THAT HAD THOSE

ELBOW PADS.

LUKE: THE BOB HARVARD AND TAPES.

HIS RECORDED DIARIES.

-- BOB HALDEMAN TAPES.

WE'LL MAY HAVE NIXON TAPES FROM

1971 TO 1973.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT ANY TOPIC, YOU

HAVE TO COMPARE ALL THE

AVAILABLE EVIDENCE.

IT IS EASY TO TAKE ONE AND A

CHERRY PICK AND MAKE EVIDENCE

FIT YOUR NARRATIVE.

DOUG: LET'S TAKE SOME TIME TO

TALK ABOUT CHINA AND THE SOVIET

UNION.

THESE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE NIXON

PRESIDENCY THAT MAY BE THE MOST

THE MOST POSITIVE THINGS

ACCOMPLISHED IN THAT TIME.

WHAT DO THE TAPES TELL US --

ABOUT THE OPENING TO CHINA.

WAS THE NIXON WHITE HOUSE IN

CLOSE CONTACT WITH MEMBERS OF

THE SENATE, LETTING THEM KNOW

ABOUT EVERYTHING IS GOING ON AND

INVITING THE CONGRESS, GOING

WITH THE PRESUMPTION WE NEED

CONGRESS TO SIGN OFF ON ANY SORT

OF ARRANGEMENT WITH CHINA?

IS THAT WHAT THE TAPES SHOW?

LUKE: IT'S POSSIBLE WE'VE GIVEN

NIXON TOO MUCH CREDIT FOR THE

OPENING TO CHINA.

THAT IS NOT TO TAKE AWAY FROM

THE ACHIEVEMENT BUT IT IS

BECAUSE, THE IDEA THAT WE

ESTABLISHED RELATIONS WITH THIS

NATION WE HAD NO CONTACT WITH

FOR OVER 20 YEARS, THE REASON

RELATIONS IMPROVED IS BECAUSE

THEY WANTED THAT TOO.

THE IDEA THAT WE GIVE THE CREDIT

TO NIXON AND KISSINGER SUGGESTS

THE CHINESE HAD NO ROLE.

WHAT THE TAPES SHOW IS THAT WHEN

ZHOU ENLAI'S UPON DIPLOMACY OR

MINOR TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT WERE

DESIGNED TO TEST THE POSSIBILITY

OF LARGER POLITICAL AGREEMENTS

TO COME, I THINK NIXON AND

KISSINGER ARE REPEATEDLY

SURPRISED BY HOW WELL THINGS ARE

GOING IN THE OVAL OFFICE.

THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE

SUPPOSED TO BE CONTROLLING THE

LEVERS OF POLICYMAKING, BUT

BECAUSE A LOT OF THE CHINESE

ARCHIVES AREN'T AVAILABLE, I

THINK THE STORY WILL EVOLVE OVER

TIME AND SHOW THE CHINA REALLY

TOOK THE LEAD AT KEY MOMENTS.

DOUG: AS OF GREAT CREDIT THAT IS

GIVEN TO NIXON NOT SO MUCH AND

INITIATION OF THE DISCUSSIONS

BUT THE WILLINGNESS OF A

PRESIDENT TO DO THIS, TO HAVE

ANY SORT OF ENGAGEMENT WITH

EITHER CHINA OR THE SOVIET

UNION.

THAT WAS THE MOMENT OF POLITICAL

CHARACTER ON THE PART OF NIXON

TO REALIZE THAT IT HAS TO BE A

CONSERVATIVE LIKE ME WHOSE WANT

TO GO AGAINST THE GRAIN, THAT IS

WHAT MADE IT A BRAVE ACT.

IS THAT PART OF THE STORY

LEGITIMATE?

JOHN: I THINK SO.

THIS GOES BACK TO WHAT WERE

TALKING ABOUT EARLIER ABOUT

HAVING GOOD OBJECTIVES GOING

INTO THE WHITE HOUSE.

THERE IS A NIXON ARTICLE IN

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAGAZINE IN THE

MID-1960'S THAT FORESHADOWS THE

OPENING TO CHINA.

HERE IS SOMETHING WRITTEN BY A

PERSON WHO WAS AMONG THE MOST

ANTI-COMMUNIST FIGURES IN THE

ADMINISTRATION.

TALKING ALMOST A DECADE IN

ADVANCE ABOUT BETTER RELATIONS

WITH CHINA.

GOOD GOALS.

KEN: THERE IS A CUTE TAPE IN

WHICH NIXON DECLARES THAT ONLY

NIXON COULD GO TO CHINA.

HE IS THE ONE WHO FIRST CAME UP

WITH THAT.

LUKE: 40 YEARS LATER WE ARE

STILL TRYING TO DIGEST, HOW GOOD

OF A THING WAS THIS.

THE RELATIONSHIP WITH U.S. AND

CHINA IS COMPLICATED.

I THINK HE UNDERSTOOD IT WAS

COMPLICATED AT THE TIME, BUT

NIXON WANTED TO IMPROVE LAOIS

-- IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH THE

SOVIET UNION FOR THE SHORT-TERM,

THE NEAR TERM OF FIVE YEARS.

HIS GOAL WITH CHINA WAS A LONG

GAME, 20 YEARS, 25 YEARS.

THAT IT IS MUCH BETTER TO MAKE

PEACE WITH THE WORLD'S LARGEST

NATION ON OUR TERMS AND GET TO A

POINT 25 YEARS FROM NOW WHERE

THEY WILL RUN THINGS.

HE DESERVES CREDIT FOR THAT

IDEA.

THE IDEA WAS NOT NEW.

PRESIDENTS BEFORE NIXON HAD

TALKED ABOUT IMPROVING RELATIONS

BUT IT WAS NIXON WHO REALLY MADE

THE MOVE AND WAS ABLE TO MAKE

THE MOVE.

DOUG: AND SO HE DESERVES CREDIT

FOR THAT COURAGE.

IT REFLECTS IN ANOTHER WAY THAT

IS INTERESTING TO THINK ABOUT.

IN THAT ERA, THIS WHOLE SEQUENCE

OF PRESIDENTS, ALL OF WHOSE VIEW

ON THE WORLD AND THEIR

INTERPRETATION OF THE LIMITS OF

THEIR BEHAVIOR, THE SORTS OF

THINGS THEY COULD ATTEMPT WERE

OVERWHELMINGLY DRIVEN BY THE

COLD WAR FRAMEWORK.

THE IDEA THAT THERE IS THIS

THREAT TO THE EXISTENCE OF THE

UNITED STATES AND HUMANITY.

THIS GREAT RISK.

THAT HAS A DISCIPLINING AFFECT

ON THE GEOPOLITICS IN RESPECTS

TO THE PRESIDENCY.

WE CANNOT UNDERMINE THIS PERSON

WHO REPRESENTS US AND HIS

CONFRONTATION WITH THE OTHER

SIDE THAT HUMANITY HANGS IN THE

BALANCE.

THEN ONE THE COLD WAR GOES AWAY,

WE BEGIN TO HAVE THE KIND OF

POLITICS WE HAVE TODAY.

THAT, WITHOUT THAT X ESSENTIAL

-- WITHOUT THAT EXISTENTIAL

THREAT, IT HAS UNLEASHED MORE

JUVENILE AND DESTRUCTIVE FORCES

IN DOMESTIC POLITICS.

DOES THAT SEEM REASONABLE?

BASED ON THE WAY THINGS WORKS --

THE WAY THINGS WORKED AS THE

TAPES PORTRAYED THEM THAT

EARLIER ERA?

LUKE: NIXON ON THE TAPES IMPAIRS

THE PROCESS OF IMPROVING

RELATIONS WITH CHINA TO

IMPROVING RELATIONS WITH ALREADY

WELL-ESTABLISHED ALLIES IN

EUROPE.

HE SAYS ON THE TAPES THAT

IMPROVING RELATIONS WITH CHINA

WITH MUCH -- WAS MUCH EASIER

THAN IMPROVING RELATIONS WITH --

THIS ANALOGY OF THE FAMILY REACT

WHEN YOU HAVE A FAMILY, YOU KNOW

EACH OTHER TOO WELL AND YOU HAVE

FIGHTS.

EARLY ON, WHEN YOU'RE GETTING TO

KNOW EACH OTHER BUT THERE IS A

CERTAIN EUPHORIA THAT DRIVES

ACTIONS ON BOTH SIDES.

BOTH SIDES WANTED TO IMPROVE

RELATIONS.

I AM NOT SURPRISED AND I DO NOT

THINK NIXON WOULD BE SURPRISED

THAT WE HAVE ENTERED A MORE

COMPLICATED PHASE IN THE

RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA.

WE DO KNOW EACH OTHER A LOT

BETTER.

KISSINGER DRIVING THROUGH INDIA

AND PAKISTAN, OUT OF THE OPEN,

THEY ARE ARE OUT IN THE OPEN,

MORE SCRUTINIZED.

I THINK STATES ARE MUCH HIGHER.

KEN: I THINK EVERY FOUR YEARS,

ANYBODY WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT IS

ADVISED TO COME UP WITH A THREAT

TO THE UNITED STATES.

IT IS USEFUL POLITICALLY FOR

EVERYONE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT

TO SAY THESE GUYS, THE

INCUMBENTS, THE OPPOSITION PARTY

IS LEAVING US OPENED TO A THREAT

THAT WILL DESTROY US OR MAKE US

WEAK.

IT IS HARD FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE

THE ARGUMENT, THERE'S NOT MUCH

WE CAN DO ABOUT IT.

GEORGE MARSHALL, AS GREAT

PATRIOT AS ANYONE COULD PROVE

HIMSELF TO BE, TRIED TO MAKE A

CASE IN THE 1950'S THAT WE COULD

NOT SAVE CHINA.

THAT CASE, HOWEVER TRUE, DID NOT

FLY WITH THE VOTERS.

VOTERS DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THAT

THERE ARE PROBLEMS WE CANNOT

SOLVE.

POLITICIANS CAN MAKE THEMSELVES

LOOK STRONG AND BRAVE AND

TRUSTWORTHY BY SAYING, IF ONLY

THEY WERE IN POWER, THEY WOULD

HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE THOSE

PROBLEMS GO AWAY.

DOUG: ANOTHER PARALLEL OFTEN

DRAWN BETWEEN PRESENT TIMES AND

THE PART OF THE NIXON PERIOD IS

IF WE GO BACK TO 1968 AND

COMPARE TO THE PRESENT IN TERMS

OF DOMESTIC POLITICS.

WE ARE OFTEN UNDER THE BELIEF

THAT WE ARE IN A MORE DIVIDED

TIME THAN EVER.

AT THE LEVEL OF BITTERNESS OF

AMERICAN POLITICS AT PRESENT IS

UNPRECEDENTED.

LET'S PUT ALL THAT ASIDE AND

STAY IN THE MODERN ERA.

IN 1968 AND THE BEGINNING OF THE

NIXON PRESIDENCY THERE WAS

TREMENDOUS TURMOIL IN THE

COUNTRY. THERE WAS A THREE-WAY

SPLIT BETWEEN ONE KIND OF

CONSERVATISM, ANOTHER KIND OF

CONSERVATISM THAT IT WAS

DEMOCRATS BUT IT HAD A MORE

RACIAL TONE.

THE MORE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC

PARTY.

THIS DIVISION THAT TODAY LOOKED

LIKE REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS AND

THE TEA PARTY.

NIXON ENDS UP HAD IT NOT BEEN

FOR WATERGATE, BEING A RATHER

SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENT.

WORKING THROUGH THIS DIVIDED

POLITICAL TIME -- LET ME ASK YOU

DID HE MANAGE THAT SORT OF

, DIVISION IN THE COUNTRY BETTER

OR WORSE THAN WE SEE IT BEING

MANAGED I PRESIDENT TODAY?

KEN: HE MADE THE DIVISION WORK

FOR HIM.

IN 1972, HE GOT TOGETHER A HUGE

COALITION. HE WAS ABLE TO SAY,

HERE ARE THE PROBLEMS.

FOR A BRIEF PERIOD, HE GOT A BIG

COALITION AGAINST THE PROBLEMS

AS HE DEFINED THEM.

AFTER HE DID THAT, HE SET THE

STANDARD FOR FUTURE REPUBLICAN

RESIDENTIAL NOMINEES.

SO TO THAT EXTENT, HE WAS KIND

OF SUCCESSFUL.

WHETHER THAT IS GOOD FOR THE

COUNTRY OR NOT, I FIND IT

IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY.

GOOD THINGS AND BAD THINGS ABOUT

IT.

DOUG: FINAL THOUGHTS FROM EACH

OF YOU.

LUKE: IT IS CLEAR NO MATTER WHO

TOOK THE WHITE HOUSE ON JANUARY

20, 1969, WAS NOT GOING TO BE AN

EASY JOB.

IT WAS GOING TO BE ROUGHED NO

MATTER WHO CAPTURED THE

ELECTION.

IN SOME WAYS, THE BIG PICTURE,

NOT ALL DIVISION IS BAD.

WE EXPECT TO HAVE SOME DIVISION.

I THINK IT IS WHEN IT GOES

BEYOND A HEALTHY DEGREE OF

DIVISION, HAVING OVER

GERRYMANDERED ARE CONGRESS.

I THINK WE CAN HAVE A REAL

DEBATE ABOUT THAT.

JOHN: THE POLITICAL

CONTROVERSIES OVER VIETNAM AND

THE DIVISION OF THE AMERICAN

PEOPLE OVER VIETNAM AND THE

OPPOSITION TO THE WAR RISING AND

BECOMING CENTRALIZED,

SPECIFICALLY IN 1968 BECAUSE OF

THE EVENTS OF 1968, THAT IN FACT

THE POLITICAL PROBLEM THAT

RICHARD NIXON FACED ON JANUARY

21, 1969 WAS PROBABLY AN ORDER

OF MAGNITUDE MORE COMPLEX THAN

ANY OF HIS PREDECESSORS, AT

LEAST IN THE MODERN ERA, HAD

FACED.

IF YOU LOOK AT IT FROM THAT

PERSPECTIVE, MR. NIXON'S ABILITY

TO MANAGE THESE AMERICAN

POLITICS WAS AMAZING.

DOUG: ASTONISHINGLY, WE END ON A

POSITIVE NOTE FOR RICHARD NIXON.

THANK ALL THREE OF YOU FOR BEING

HERE.

THESE ARE WONDERFUL WORKS.

IT HAS BEEN FASCINATING TO TALK

WITH YOU. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT

THESE AUTHORS AND THEIR BOOKS,

OR TO READ A SCRIPT, VISIT US AT

MILLER CENTER.ORG.

I'M DOUG BLACKMON. SEE YOU NEXT

TIME.

[CAPTIONING PERFORMED BY THE

NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE,

WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS

CAPTION CONTENT AND ACCURACY.

VISIT NCICAP.ORG]

The Description of New Nixon Secrets from the White House Tapes