National Archives Releases 500 Hours of Additional Nixon White House Tape Recorded Conversations
Press Release · Thursday, February 14, 2002
WHAT: The National Archives and Records Administration will be opening approximately 500 hours of White House tape recordings from the Nixon Presidency. This opening constitutes the largest opening of tapes from the National Archives at any one time. Included are approximately 426 hours of conversations that were recorded at the White House from January 1972 to June 1972. These conversations comprise the third of five chronological segments to be released. The 4,127 tape segments are reproduced on 1,100 cassettes. In accordance with the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 and its implementing regulations, the National Archives has designated approximately 154 hours as personal and returnable to the Nixon estate. Approximately 4 hours are restricted for national security, as provided for in Executive Order 12958. Approximately 30 minutes are restricted for invasion of privacy, 7 ½ hours as unintelligible, and 7 ½ hours as non-historical. There are no taped telephone conversations for the month of February.
The National Archives is also releasing approximately 69 hours of Cabinet Room tapes that were previously withheld security classified segments.
On February 28, the National Archives will have opened 1,779 hours of tapes from the Nixon Presidency.
The tapes cover a wide variety of domestic and foreign topics. Topics of interest include:
- The President's Trip to the People's Republic of China: President Nixon and several of his staff departed for China on February 17. Prior to his trip, the majority of conversations focused on planning and logistics. H.R. Haldeman was the key staff member who worked with the President on the arrangements. Several conversations concerned the press conference that the President planned to have upon his arrival back in the United States. Prior to the President's trip, he met with French statesman and poet Andre Malraux who was invited to the White House to share his insights on the current climate in China. Malraux was a frequent visitor to China. During March, following the President's trip, conversations continued about the diplomatic impact of the trip, where to house the pandas that were presented to the President and whether to launch a travelling exhibit of the artifacts from the trip.
- Vietnam: A recurring theme throughout the conversations during this period is Vietnam. In January, the President discussed his important January 25 speech on the peace proposal plan. In April the President speaks with Henry Kissinger on a number of occasions about the ramifications of losing the Vietnam war, of bombing strikes in the area. He also has conversations in April with Admiral Thomas H. Moorer and Bob Hope about the war. In May, the President announced the U.S. mining of Haiphong Harbor and the intensified bombing of North Vietnam. Conversations between the President, Kissinger, Alexander Haig, John B. Connally and H.R. Haldeman discuss the progress of the North Vietnamese offensive, plans for U.S. bombing, and a mining blockade of North Vietnam.
- Domestic Issues: There are a number of discussions throughout the period about political appointments, including the retirement of John Mitchell, the possibility of Henry Kissinger becoming Secretary of State, John Connally's future in the administration, and J. Edgar Hoover's successor. Hoover died in May of 1972 and the tapes include a discussion of President Nixon's eulogy at his funeral. There is a discussion of the assassination attempt on Governor George Wallace with H.R. Haldeman, Charles Colson and John Connally. Connally reminisces about the Kennedy assassination and his being wounded.
- Watergate: The break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate took place on June 17. There are four conversations relating to the break-in that are part of this release.
At the opening, the National Archives will also release corresponding portions of a tape log that includes the date, time, location, outline of conversations, and names of participants that will help locate conversations. Because this portion of the log contains 6,000 pages, researchers are encouraged to use the electronic version in CD-ROM, which can be accessed in Word and WordPerfect 6.1 formats.
- WHEN: 9 A.M., Thursday, February 28, 2002
- WHERE: National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road. Lecture Rooms D & E.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: For the first time, the public will be able to make copies of the taped conversations that are being released. Researchers must bring their own tape recorders and tape stock if they wish to make copies.
To assist researchers in locating conversations on the tapes, free finding aids on disc in Rich Text Format (.rtf) will be available on Monday, February 25, at 9 A.M. in Room G-12 at the National Archives Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. Beginning on Tuesday, February 26, the discs may be obtained from the Nixon Project staff at the National Archives at College Park by calling 301-837-3290.
All researchers must have a current National Archives researchers card. Researchers who do not have current Archives II researcher ID cards must provide a picture ID and proof of current address to obtain a researcher ID card. Clean research room rules will apply. Laptop computers will be allowed in the research room.
For PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700.
This page was last reviewed on August 16, 2018.
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