When the President said that he needed to be tough with Congress in resisting a legislatively set end-date for the Vietnam War, the national security adviser raised the specter of election-year leaks.
The reason you have to be so tough, also, Mr. President, is because if this thing flies on the New York Times, they’re going to do the same to you next year. They’re just going to move file cabinets out during the campaign. I mean, these guys . . .
Yeah, they’ll have the whole story of the Menu series and—
Well, we keep our files separately, Mr. President—
I know. I know.
They’d have to get them [unclear]—
Goddamn it, though, [Melvin R.] Laird will have a copy and [William P.] Rogers a copy.[note 1] Melvin R. Laird was secretary of defense from January 1969 to January 1973, and counselor to the president for domestic affairs from June 1973 to February 1974. William P. Rogers was secretary of state from January 1969 to September 1973. They go home and write out their goddamn memorandums. That’s what I’m concerned about.
Yeah, but we don’t do business quite that way. We keep most of the files—
I know you do, Henry, but you know, I’ve had these people in on Laos [Kissinger acknowledges] and we had the discussion—
[speaking over President Nixon] Oh, yeah, they have their memos.
—and Rogers, you know goddamn he dictated a memorandum.
So it’s in their files. That’s what I’m [unclear].
Well, anyway. It’ll be their files that [unclear] they use [unclear].
But that they won’t—I don’t think any Cabinet member will leak his [President Nixon attempts to interject] personal file. Now, afterwards they may do it, but not in a campaign.
“Richard Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger on 15 June 1971,” Conversation 520-004 (PRDE Excerpt A), Presidential Recordings Digital Edition [Chasing Shadows, ed. Ken Hughes] (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014–). URL: http://prde.upress.virginia.edu/conversations/4006736