Press/Journalists
Press Release: Portions of Nixon Tapes Available for Sale

College Park, MD. . . In January 2000, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will begin to make available for sale, for the first time, a select group of tape recordings of conversations from the Nixon Presidency. The only tape recordings that will be made available will be those containing conversations identified as abuses of governmental power. Tape recordings released to the public after 1996, including the 445 hours just released on October 5, 1999, will not be available for sale until January 2003.

The first group of tapes will be available according to the following schedule:

  • On January 21, 2000, 12 1/2 hours of Watergate trial tapes, including segments commonly referred to as the "Smoking Gun" and "Cancer on the Presidency," will be available for sale. To ensure that you receive a copy of the tapes on January 21, your order must be postmarked November 22, 1999. Orders received after that date will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. You may order the entire 12 1/2 hours of conversations or specify any individual conversation. You must purchase an entire reference cassette, even if you only want a portion of the conversations that appears on the tape. (Please note that if a reference cassette exceeds 30 minutes, you will have to purchase two cassettes.) The cost is $18.00 for each 30-minute cassette. The cost for the entire set will be $702. Orders postmarked by November 22, 1999, will be available for pick up at 9 AM in Room 1003, at the National Archives at College Park on January 21. There will be a 5% sales tax on tapes picked up or sent to addresses in Maryland. The vendor order form is available on the web.

  • The entire collection of "abuses of governmental power" tapes, consisting of an additional 251 1/2 hours of recordings, will be available for sale on January 28, 2000. Orders for these tapes will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning January 3, 2000. These recordings include 47 1/2 hours of Watergate Special Prosecution Force tapes and 205 hours of tapes identified as containing conversations related to abuses of governmental power as defined by NARA regulations implementing the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974. The entire 265 hours of conversations are compiled onto approximately 803 cassettes.

Please note that if a reference cassette exceeds 30 minutes, you will have to purchase two cassettes. The sale of copies of these recordings to the public is governed by the 1996 tapes settlement agreement in Kutler v. Carlin. (Until now, these tape conversations have been available at NARA for listening only.) NARA is making these tapes available for copying and sale exclusively through its vendor program.

Transcripts compiled by the court for the first 12 1/2 hours of Watergate trial tapes are available on NARA's website. These will aid researchers in identifying portions of the tape that they may be interested in purchasing. The transcripts are also available in electronic format from the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff. Finding aids are available from the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff of the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Tapes must be ordered by conversation number, which is listed in the finding aid.

For more information on how to identify specific conversations and the use of the finding aids, contact the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff at 301-837-3290.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 301-837-1700 or by e-mail.

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