Richard Nixon and Charles W. “Chuck” Colson on 3 July 1971


Transcript

Edited by Ken Hughes, with Kieran K. Matthews and Marc J. Selverstone

White House Counsel Charles W. “Chuck” Colson enters the Oval Office and informs the President that he thinks they’ve got Office of Management and Budget Director George P. Shultz and Labor Secretary James D. Hodgson working on reorganizing the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

President Nixon

Well, [unclear]. I dislike putting people on the spot, but goddamn it, they’ve got to learn to face up to this stuff. [Unclear.] It’s good for them.

Charles W. “Chuck” Colson

[Unclear.]

President Nixon

Good for them. Well, they’re good men. They’re good men. But goddamn it, they—I really believe, I mean, I don’t—I think George [P. Shultz] is learning, but [James D.] Jim [Hodgson] is taking time—I really believe that they think these sons of bitches are honest![note 1] George P. Shultz was secretary of labor from January 1969 to July 1970, director of the Office of Management and Budget from June 1970 to May 1972, and secretary of the treasury from May 1972 to May 1974. James D. Hodgson was secretary of labor from July 1970 to February 1973.

Colson

Yeah, they do. They did. They don’t now.

President Nixon

Did this convince them? I don’t think that I convinced them. Weren’t they convinced by the goddamn release?

Colson

I got them all in there at 7:00 and read them the statements. We had done some digging all night. I’d had one of my staff making phone calls to BLS people and recording the phone calls. And I gave it back to them. And when they saw what the BLS people were actually saying, they just caved in. They know now. There’s no question. They know that they scuttled—

President Nixon

How’d you do the phone calls? Make it appear some newspaper?

Colson

Yes, sir. Time magazine.

President Nixon

Time magazine?

Colson

Well, I had one of my men call this time and talk to them.

President Nixon

And who’d they talk to? You get the names?

Colson

Couldn’t get Gold—oh, yeah, we got all the names. Couldn’t get [Harold] Goldstein.[note 2] Harold Goldstein was assistant commissioner of labor statistics. But it was very clear from talking to these fellows, which I—

President Nixon

And they all talked?

Colson

Every one of them. Every one! And every one of them said, "Don’t listen to anybody in this business except Goldstein." And when I told them that, that did it. [Unclear.]

President Nixon

You tell [Geoffrey H.]Moore that?

Colson

Well, Moore wasn’t there when I told—I told Shultz [unclear][note 3] Geoffrey H. Moore was commissioner of labor statistics from March 1969 to January 1973.

President Nixon

They said don’t listen to anybody but Goldstein? Well, listen, are they all Jews over there?

Colson

Every one of them. Well, a couple of exceptions. Oh, Jesus.

President Nixon

See my point?

Colson

Gordowsky [President Nixon acknowledges] and Levine and you just go right down the damn list. You know goddamn well they’re out, I mean, they're out to kill us. Now, the trouble is—

President Nixon

See, I never—

Colson

—this son of a bitch Moore [President Nixon acknowledges] is sitting there this morning saying, “Well, I don’t know whether these figures show improvement or not.” Well, God Almighty! Shultz and Hodgson and this fellow who works for Shultz is a smart guy.

President Nixon

With a little hook. [Unclear.]

Colson

No, Julius Shiskin.[note 4] Nixon appointed Julius Shiskin commissioner of labor statistics. He served from July 1973 to October 1978. He’s Jewish also, but he’s—

President Nixon

Well, goddamn it, there’s some damn good Jewish—[Colson attempts to interject] [unclear] on our side. Kissinger’s [unclear] [Colson acknowledges] got. [Unclear] you know, he just happened to be a good one.

Following this exchange, the President spoke by telephone with John A. “Jack” Mulcahy, the president of Quigley Co.

Cite as

“Richard Nixon and Charles W. ‘Chuck’ Colson on 3 July 1971,” Conversation 536-010 (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/4006744