Nixon’s Telephone Tapes: 1971

Ken Hughes, Research Specialist, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia

This collection of transcripts consists entirely of White House telephone recordings President Nixon made in 1971, the pivotal year of his first term. In international affairs, he wrangled invitations to summits in Beijing and Moscow—two Communist capitals no American president had ever stepped foot in while holding office. Summitry would lend credence to the notion that Nixon could not only defrost the Cold War, but perhaps enlist the Chinese and the Soviets in resolving the hot war in Vietnam. Progress in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the Soviet Union also generated hope for a nuclear arms agreement. On the domestic scene, the President launched a sweeping and popular New Economic Policy, raising import taxes and imposing wage and price controls. Luck handed Nixon an opportunity to shape the US Supreme Court for decades to come when a pair of surprise vacancies allowed him to nominate two conservative justices in one month. Nixon had begun the year staggering from setbacks suffered in the 1970 congressional election; he ended it with the pieces in place for a triumphant 1972.

But while Nixon set the stage for his most famous public successes, he also sowed the secret seeds of his own self-destruction. In 1971, the President allowed his fear of leaks to get the better of him, sending him down the road to Watergate and ruin. His decision to establish the Special Investigations Unit (later known as “the Plumbers” because it operated under the rubric of plugging leaks) brought together for the first time the two men who would be arrested in 1972 as the so-called masterminds of the Watergate break-in at the Democratic Party’s national headquarters.

The best and the worst of Nixon’s presidency are open for inspection by all, thanks largely to another decision the President made in 1971—to start secretly taping his White House conversations. Presidents often yearn for a reliable record of their meetings, believing (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) that some of the people they meet with later misrepresent their words and deeds. Nothing can correct the record of an event like a real-time recording. In 1971, the President had the Secret Service bug the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, and a hideaway office that he kept next door to the White House in the Executive Office Building (EOB). While the Secret Service maintained the hidden taping system, the President himself maintained control over all the tapes.

In April 1971, the President also directed the Secret Service to tap his telephones. Technicians placed the taps on the telephone lines from the White House switchboard to three locations where Nixon conducted official business by phone: the Oval Office, the EOB hideaway office, and the Lincoln Sitting Room, where Nixon would ensconce himself before a crackling fire with his feet up on an ottoman, making notes to himself and phone calls to his aides and others late into the night.

In general, Nixon’s telephone tapes provide the listener certain advantages over the more notorious Oval Office meeting tapes. The biggest advantage is that the telephone tapes are much easier to hear, since the President and his interlocutors spoke directly into their handset microphones. But there are disadvantages to the telephone tapes as well. Nixon conducted his most sensitive and confidential business face-to-face, often in one-on-one meetings. Like most politicians during the Cold War, Nixon knew that telephone conversations could be just as easily tape-recorded by the people he spoke with as they were by him. For that reason, Nixon tended to be more guarded and circumspect in these conversations. The clearest example of this difference can be found in the President’s conversations with National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger about Vietnam, specifically with regard to the most politically explosive decision Nixon made about the war—timing American military withdrawal to coincide favorably with the 1972 presidential election so that South Vietnam would not fall until after Nixon had secured a second term. The two men discussed this matter on more than one occasion alone in the Oval Office, but never by telephone.1

Taiwan and the People’s Republic

The excitement President Nixon (and much of America) felt at the opening to China—after two decades of diplomatic isolation in the wake of its Communist revolution—comes through on the tapes. One of the earliest signs of rapprochement was an invitation from the Chinese to an American ping-pong team to visit the mainland and play some exhibition matches. The move prompted speculation around the world (and in the White House) about what it all might mean.2 The President reveled in his history-making role, and the tapes reveal him as the first to make the claim that only Nixon could go to China.3 He also made sure that he, not the State Department, would get the credit for this breakthrough.4

When Beijing invited Nixon to send an envoy to make arrangements for a US presidential visit, Nixon and Kissinger weighed the strengths and weaknesses of UN ambassador George H. W. Bush (“too soft and not sophisticated enough,” in Kissinger’s estimation) and Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller [R–New York] (“a Rockefeller is a tremendous thing,” according to the President) to fill the role.5 Ultimately, Nixon decided to send Kissinger himself.

Moscow viewed rapprochement with alarm as the Soviets’ rival for leadership in the Communist world stood poised to gain in global stature as the result of Nixon’s initiative.6 That was part of Nixon’s plan to play the two rivals off one another in a game of triangular diplomacy.

While popular in America, the diplomatic opening to China led to an immediate setback for an American ally. Both the People’s Republic of China (the Communist government of the mainland) and the Republic of China (the anti-Communist government of Taiwan) claimed to be the country’s sole legitimate government. As the United Nations prepared to vote on expelling Taiwan and giving its seat to the People’s Republic, the Nixon White House mobilized a rear-guard action.7 Despite the President’s efforts, the UN quickly ousted Taiwan and welcomed the People’s Republic.8 This posed a political problem for Nixon, who had to balance his desire for closer ties to the People’s Republic with the desires of his conservative base, which favored Taiwan and took a jaundiced view of the UN.9 Governor Ronald W. Reagan [R–California], for example, suggested that the United States simply stop voting in the UN.10 The Senate responded to Taiwan’s ouster with a drastic measure, voting to cut American foreign aid to $0.00.11 Nixon convinced the Senate to reconsider, but the vote was a clear sign of indignation.12 (That anger persisted when the first speech by the new Chinese ambassador to the UN was a wide-ranging challenge to American foreign policy.)13

Arms Control and Image Control

The 1971 telephone tapes also capture Nixon trying to manage the politics of nuclear arms control amid touchy office politics. Using Kissinger as a back channel to Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, Nixon had convinced the Soviet Union to link negotiations over offensive nuclear missiles and defensive antimissile systems—a procedural breakthrough.14 That back-channel approach, which bypassed the more public talks taking place in Geneva, enabled Nixon to take more credit for the breakthrough. But it also risked alienating the official arms control negotiation team and Secretary of State William P. Rogers, both of whom were cut out of the deal. Nixon tried to enlist Rogers’s support by giving the Secretary a role in breaking the news of the diplomatic development to the Senate Majority Leader.15 Minor gestures like this were emblematic of Rogers’s secondary role in the making of foreign policy in the years when Nixon used Kissinger as his de facto chief diplomat.16

Publicly, détente with the Soviet Union was a public relations bonanza, which won the President plaudits from liberal quarters that ordinarily gave him the most criticism.17


President Nixon’s telephone taping began on 6 April 1971, the day before he made a televised speech announcing a partial withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. In the days and weeks leading up to a major address, Nixon would spend hours alone and with his aides, fine-tuning each phrase. After delivering his speech on television, he would spend hours on the phone with officials and allies, reviewing his performance and gathering initial responses from across the country. At such moments, his inner circle tended to pour on the praise. “This was the best speech you’ve delivered since you’ve been in office,” said Kissinger after Nixon’s 7 April address.

Officials who did not register their complete support were subject to presidential disparagement in absentia. “Screw the Cabinet and the rest, though,” said Nixon. “I’m sick of the whole bunch.”18 Of military officials who questioned whether it was time to end the draft, Nixon said, “They're a bunch of greedy bastards that want more officers’ clubs and more men to shine their shoes. The sons of bitches, they’re not interested in this country.”19

Evangelist Billy Graham called to say the speech was “by far the best anybody has done on Vietnam.” Graham further pleased the President by saying he was writing an op-ed for the New York Times that would place the blame for the entire war on President John F. Kennedy.20

Nixon also used the occasion of his 7 April speech to oppose a popular proposal whereby Congress would force him to bring the last American troops home by the end of 1971. This would have upended his plans to coordinate the final exit from Vietnam with his reelection campaign.

Only one senator publicly accused Nixon of timing the war’s end to the election: Sen. Ted Kennedy [D–Massachusetts]. “How many more American soldiers must die, how many innocent Vietnamese civilians must be killed, so that the final end to the war may be announced in 1972 instead of 1971?” asked the last surviving Kennedy brother. Although Kennedy was right about Nixon’s plans, he was rebuked by members of his own party, including the 1968 Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey [D–Minnesota]. “It is beyond the bounds of fairness to charge that any President would extend the war and cause death and injury to young Americans to get closer to an election date,” Humphrey said. Nixon thanked Humphrey for defending him.21 Throughout 1971, Nixon was able to turn back multiple congressional attempts to end the war sooner.22

India–Pakistan War

The 1971 India–Pakistan War took a human toll so devastating that Gary J. Bass titled his 2013 book on the subject The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide. The President and his national security adviser viewed the conflict in terms of its impact on their grand strategy with the Soviet Union (which had a friendship treaty with India) and the People’s Republic of China (which had used Pakistan as a diplomatic conduit to the United States). Nixon and Kissinger pushed for an immediate cease-fire and mutual withdrawal.23 While the Soviets vetoed the measure in the Security Council, it won approval by a large majority in the General Assembly.24 Since it was nonbinding, the resolution did not stop the fighting.

In secret, Nixon and Kissinger arranged for Pakistan to obtain American arms through third-party countries (a move that the State Department considered illegal) and encouraged China to build up military forces on its Indian border. Soviet support of India also led Nixon to consider canceling his planned Moscow summit.25


Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield [D–Montana] led the charge to challenge the extent of America’s commitment to the defense of Europe in 1971. In past years, Mansfield had tried and failed to pass nonbinding resolutions calling for reductions of US troops supplied to NATO. But in May 1971 he forced the issue. Mansfield proposed an amendment that would cut the number of American troops stationed in Europe in half, from 300,000 to 150,000. Cleverly, he tried to attach it to a bill the President needed, one that would extend the military draft for two years. He also called for an immediate vote, hoping Nixon would not have time to marshal the opposition. “I can think of nothing that would be worse at the present time,” Nixon told Secretary of State Rogers. “Wouldn’t that really tear the Europeans apart?”26 The President scrambled to delay the vote until he could line up high-profile opponents, such as former Secretary of State Dean Acheson. In the end, a Senate vote of 61–32 defeated the Mansfield amendment.27

Supreme Court

On 17 September 1971, President Nixon learned from Chief Justice Warren E. Burger that he would have not one but two vacancies on the Supreme Court to fill.28 Justices Hugo Black and John Marshall Harlan II were both gravely ill; neither would survive the year. Nixon contemplated a female nominee, but backed down after an all-male American Bar Association panel deemed her unqualified and inexperienced, despite her 24 years on the bench in California.29 (Rose Mary Woods, the President’s secretary, responded to the setback by telling him, “Frankly, I think there are a lot of women who are more qualified than a lot of men in some jobs.”)30 Privately, Nixon said no woman was ready for the job and that Chief Justice Burger could not work with one.31

Nixon toyed with nominating someone who he thought would pose a unique set of problems for liberal Democrats: Sen. Robert C. Byrd [D–West Virginia]. White House chief of staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman recorded the following passage in his diary: “On the Court, [Nixon] came up with the idea of Byrd of West Virginia, because he was a former KKK’er; he’s elected by the Democrats as Whip; he’s a self-made lawyer; he’s more reactionary than [George C.] Wallace; and he's about 53.”32

Nixon wanted to move the Supreme Court to the right, and his ultimate choice of nominees reflected that desire. One of them, Lewis F. Powell Jr., would vote conservatively most of the time, though he also came to be known as the high court’s “swing vote.”33 The other nominee, William H. Rehnquist, went on to become Chief Justice during the Reagan administration.34

Ironically, one of the candidates that Nixon briefly considered elevating to the Supreme Court was Leon Jaworski, who as special prosecutor later named the President as an unindicted co-conspirator in Watergate.35

News Media

President Nixon’s hostile relationship with the news media surfaced on more than one telephone tape in 1971. When the New York Times began publishing articles on and excerpts from the Pentagon Papers, a massive classified Defense Department history of US relations with Vietnam, Nixon became alarmed at the possibility of further leaks.36 Fearing additional disclosures, the President tried to sharply limit the number of officials cleared to read top secret documents.37

The President spent less than 10 minutes deliberating before deciding to launch one of the biggest First Amendment cases in history.38 Nixon’s attempt to exercise “prior restraint” on the press—that is, to use the power of the government to block the Times and other newspapers from publishing the Pentagon Papers—was struck down by the Supreme Court in less than a month.

Unlike future presidents, Nixon was unwilling to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information. He rejected the idea when FBI director J. Edgar Hoover broached it.39 Nixon was not, however, above using the power of the White House to force a reporter on his Enemies List out of a job, as White House special counsel Charles W. “Chuck” Colson tried to do to CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr.40

Unemployment and Inflation

In addition to attacking their perceived political enemies, Nixon and Colson can be heard on the tapes plotting to politicize the unemployment rate.

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics divulged to reporters (accurately) that a 0.6 percent drop in the June unemployment rate was due to a statistical quirk, a furious Nixon moved quickly to fire those responsible for the release.41 As soon as he had arranged for their dismissal, Nixon discussed with Colson ways to tamper with the unemployment rate to benefit the administration politically.42 But while the ouster of employees who told inconvenient truths went forward, the formula for calculating the unemployment rate proved immune to presidential tampering.

In an attempt to reduce real unemployment, Nixon had Secretary of the Treasury John B. Connally negotiate with other countries to reduce trade barriers and to devalue the American dollar, making American exports less expensive for foreign consumers and foreign imports more expensive for American consumers.43 Nixon hoped that if Americans bought American goods, it would increase business for American companies, which in turn could employ more American workers.

In another attempt to reduce unemployment, Nixon pressured Federal Reserve chairman Arthur F. Burns to adopt an “easy money” policy. Although the President privately obtained the chairman’s agreement that the Fed would be “goosing” the economy for the reelection year of 1972, Burns’s unwillingness to completely toe the administration’s line on the economy infuriated Nixon. He concluded, without any evidence, that Burns was part of a “Jewish cabal.” He decided to plant two false stories in the press, claiming first that Burns had asked for a salary increase, and second that Nixon was contemplating an expansion of the Federal Reserve Board’s membership, which would dilute the chairman’s voice in setting policy.44 The chairman’s consequent cries of pain were the President’s pleasure.45 At the end of the year, Burns called Nixon with the welcome news that the Federal Reserve was lowering the discount rate.46

The Federal Reserve had been reluctant to increase the money supply for much of 1971 because inflation was rising fast enough to make consumers anxious. President Nixon’s decision to impose wage and price controls was widely applauded as an act of bold leadership, but it soon proved as complicated and unwieldy as free market economists had warned. Suddenly, every employee, employer, and shopper had a direct financial interest in decisions made by the President. He now had to determine his position, for example, on whether unionized employees should still receive the upcoming wage increases they had negotiated before his freeze.47 When the president of the AFL-CIO denounced the president of the United States at the labor organization’s convention, Nixon made a surprise speech before the delegates and told them that his economic program would go forward with or without union support.48 The firm stand worked politically; more people were concerned with rising prices than with union wages.49

In a related development regarding congressional proposals to raise the minimum wage, Nixon privately deemed them to be “inflation itself,” but managed to avoid taking a public stand either way.50

Although wage and price controls violated free market principles, Nixon’s New Economic Policy received the support of prominent conservatives, including Sen. Barry M. Goldwater [R–Arizona], the 1964 Republican presidential nominee. Goldwater backed the popular initiative “one thousand percent,” but told the White House that, personally, he thought it “probably stinks.”51 Personally, Nixon agreed. Politically, however, the initiative was a winner.

Abuse of Power

When Nixon abused the powers of his presidency, he generally did so by giving orders to aides in face-to-face meetings. But sometimes he used the telephone.

When, for example, the Los Angeles Times published an article under the headline “Illegal Aliens Seized in Plant of Woman Named US Treasurer,” Nixon called Attorney General John N. Mitchell, telling him to raid the Times “to see whether they are violating the wetback thing.”52

The tapes also reveal that the President’s decision to commute the prison sentence of former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa was the result of a secret quid pro quo arranged through Colson. In return for springing Hoffa, Nixon received the backing of the Teamsters in his 1972 reelection campaign.53

On another tape, Nixon and Colson plot to provoke the anger of construction workers against antiwar demonstrators. Less than a year earlier, during the Hard Hat Riot in New York City, some construction workers had reacted to antiwar protests with physical attacks on the demonstrators. When Colson learned that the construction workers’ union planned to hold a convention in Washington, DC, at the same time as an antiwar demonstration, he wanted to create phony antiwar leaflets asking hard hats to join the protestors. But Nixon had his own idea: have the pamphlets attack the hard hats, pairing an ugly picture with the slogan “The Hard Hats Are Not America.”54

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, the antiwar Mayday Tribe protests of 1971, marked by vandalism and enormous crowds, gave the President an opportunity to take popular action against unpopular targets by sanctioning mass arrests within the District of Columbia. “People want them herded up,” said Nixon. “They don't worry about due process.”55

The President took a more restrained approach, however, to one group of protestors: Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Remembering the heat President Herbert Hoover had taken when he used the Army to disperse the Bonus Marchers—veterans who demonstrated in Washington, DC, asking for government support during the Great Depression—Nixon ordered his aides to make sure no one tried to force the Vietnam veterans off the National Mall.56

Civil Rights

President Nixon treated civil rights law enforcement as a tricky political problem. As president, he was required to uphold the constitution and laws prohibiting racial discrimination. As leader of the Republican Party, he was pursuing a southern strategy designed to win the allegiance of conservative white voters who had enshrined racial segregation in state law until Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The plight of Black Jack, Missouri, illustrated Nixon’s problem. When Methodist groups tried to build a nonprofit townhouse project—one that would be open to tenants of any race—the almost entirely white town of Black Jack reacted by incorporating as a city and passing a new zoning law that limited construction at the site to no more than three houses per acre. The zoning move made the desegregated townhouse project impossible. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) George W. Romney called Black Jack's action a “blatant violation of the Constitution and the law.” HUD requested that the Justice Department sue Black Jack to stop it from interfering with the townhouse project.

In one conversation, when Chief Domestic Policy Adviser John D. Ehrlichman informed the President that a HUD official had repeated the request that the Justice Department file suit against Black Jack, Nixon replied, “Is he black? Well, get him out of there.”57

President Nixon’s belief in the genetic superiority of white people to black people fit the dictionary definition of racism. In one conversation with his favorite sociologist (and America’s UN ambassador) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the President reflected on his need to keep this particular belief to himself for the good of American society.58

First Family

The tapes offer few glimpses of the First Family for a good reason: Presidents are entitled to a private life, so the many hours of recorded conversations between the President and his wife and daughters remain closed to the public. But since President Nixon’s family was inevitably drawn into public life, there are a few released conversations that are both presidential and familial.

First Lady Pat Nixon, sometimes caricatured as “Plastic Pat,” demonstrates a mind and will of her own in a handful of recorded conversations. When the President asked her to take some of the top women in government with her on a ceremonial trip to Africa, she declined.59 But when he asked her to add Ghana to her itinerary, in response to a request from the Ghanaian ambassador, she quickly agreed.60 The President had to clear with the First Lady his plans to use the White House for state dinners, receptions, and working breakfasts, and she sometimes revised those plans.61 At best, however, these conversations provide only glimpses of her character and personality.

In another recording, the President felt the need to gently caution his daughter Tricia against overuse of government-owned JetStars. These aircrafts were generally viewed as a preferred mode of travel by wealthy businessmen, and the reason Nixon gave his daughter for limiting her use of them was political: “The press does a little checking into seeing how much we use them.”62

Nixon was famously uncomfortable with social occasions. He did, however, use them to reward friends.63 Before meeting with the Chowder and Marching Society, a group of then-young Republican representatives formed in the aftermath of the party’s defeat at the polls in 1948, he instructed a White House usher to serve them “double drinks.”64


In 1971, Congress passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, a measure that would have made day care an entitlement. But President Nixon had other ideas about childcare, proposing day care centers as a service to mothers who left welfare to join the workforce. He opposed the broader congressional program to provide day care, with tuition subsidies based on income, to any American family that determined they needed the service. His veto of the measure marked the last time the United States came close to establishing childcare as a universal right.65

Deceptive Tactics

The 1971 telephone tapes capture Nixon’s tactical maneuvers to stop legislation without opposing it directly. When the White House Conference on Aging came out for Medicare coverage of prescription drugs, Nixon did not publicly state his opposition to providing seniors with a key health benefit. Instead, he referred the proposal to Ehrlichman’s Domestic Council for study—that is, for a quiet, unnoticed death.66

Likewise, when Congress considered a campaign finance reform proposal that would add a checkoff to IRS tax returns to publicly finance presidential races, Nixon feared the effect that its supporters hoped for: the diminished influence of the business community on American political life.67 Nixon proposed an alternative—free network air time for the candidates—that he did not personally support. But his purpose was to divide supporters of reform, and the tactic worked. The checkoff did not start until 1973—after Nixon’s landslide reelection.68

Peaks and Valleys

The full spectrum of President Nixon’s enormous strengths and weaknesses as a politician appears in the 1971 telephone tapes. The recordings reveal Nixon’s great strategic and tactical intelligence, which he directed toward the goal of historic political success—nothing less than the realignment of American domestic politics by way of replacing the New Deal coalition with the New Republican Majority (which he referred to, in his most successful and memorable presidential address, as the “Silent Majority”). Even Nixon’s landmark diplomatic achievements—détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China—were calibrated with an eye toward their domestic political impact, as he enlisted Moscow and Beijing in his efforts to resolve the Vietnam War with a domestically palatable “decent interval.” Nixon pursued his goals with great resolve (or, some might say, obsession) through the days and nights of his presidency, shaping his policymaking, both foreign and domestic—even on matters of life or death. To achieve his ends, he used and abused power ruthlessly. This was the source of Nixon’s great triumphs as president and of his ultimate ruin.



A number of these Oval Office conversations are available online at, the University of Virginia Press companion website to Ken Hughes’s Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War, and the Casualties of Reelection (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015).


Conversation 001-091, 14 April 1971, 8:05–8:12 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 001-101, 15 April 1971, 7:31–7:33 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 001-076, 13 April 1971, 10:16–10:21 a.m., White House Telephone. Nixon even hired a television reporter, John A. Scali of ABC, to help sell the administration’s foreign policy initiatives to the news media (Conversation 042-055, 16 April 1971, 5:30–5:32 p.m., White House Telephone). Other conversations show Nixon handling the foreign and domestic complexities of the China initiative (Conversation 011-047, 11 October 1971, 9:26–9:34 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 011-075, 12 October 1971, 10:09–10:16 p.m., White House Telephone).


Conversation 002-052, 27 April 1971, 8:16–8:36 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 002-026, 21 April 1971, 7:47–7:54 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 012-081, 22 October 1971, 8:08 a.m.–3:05 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 012-117, 25 October 1971, 3:12–3:15 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 012-130, 26 October 1971, 8:49–8:55 a.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 013-012, 26 October 1971, 1:41–1:47 p.m., White House Telephone.


“We don’t want to let down Taiwan and—too hard,” Nixon told Patrick J. Buchanan, his conservative speechwriter (Conversation 001-138, 17 April 1971, 4:41–4:42 p.m., White House Telephone).


Conversation 013-008, 26 October 1971, 11:13–11:25 a.m., White House Telephone. When Reagan, already a leading figure in the GOP’s swelling conservative wing, politely but firmly turned down a plea from young conservatives that he run for president, Nixon thanked him personally—and let him know a federal shipbuilding project was headed to his state (Conversation 004-103, 9 June 1971, 4:50–4:55 p.m., White House Telephone).


Conversation 013-020, 27 October 1971, 12:23–12:26 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 014-049, 11 November 1971, 4:29–4:32 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 014-115, 15 November 1971, 7:23–7:26 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 003-110, 21 May 1971, 12:45–12:50 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 003-067, 19 May 1971, 1:18–1:29 p.m., White House Telephone.


One area where Nixon did let Rogers take the lead was in the Middle East, since the President considered Kissinger, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, to be biased pro-Israel (Conversation 456-024, 23 February 1971, 6:42–7:18 p.m., White House Telephone). Nixon’s own biases regarding Jews were frequently on display on his tapes. See Ken Hughes, Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014), 108–9, 122–23, 125–26, 137–40, 142–45.


Conversation 007-092, 11 August 1971, 7:58–8:04 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 001-010, 7 April 1971, 9:31–9:39 pm, White House Telephone.


Conversation 001-021, 7 April 1971, 10:21–10:27 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 001-014, 7 April 1971, 9:52–9:55 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 005‑002, 10 June 1971, 2:53–2:57 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 005-121, 17 June 1971, 8:21–8:24 p.m., White House Telephone. An interesting historical side note: Nixon’s chief ally in turning back end-date legislation in the House of Representatives was future president and then-House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford [R–Michigan].


Conversation 016-006, 5 December 1971, 7:56–8:03 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 016-010, 5 December 1971, 8:12–8:28 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 016-037, 7 December 1971, 11:31–11:41 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 016-064, 8 December 1971, 8:03–8:12 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 003-009, 12 May 1971, 10:25–10:35 a.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 003-067, 19 May 1971, 1:18–1:29 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 009-063, 17 September 1971, 4:28–4:32 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 011-040, 11 October 1971, 2:47–2:49 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 012-077, 21 October, 9:47–9:50 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 010-009, 24 September 1971, 7:15–7:24 p.m., White House Telephone.


H. R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House: The Complete Multimedia Edition (Santa Monica, CA: Sony, 1994), 2 October 1971 entry.


Conversation 016-027, 6 December 1971, 6:44–6:47 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 011-043, 11 October 1971, 5:43 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 010-042, 5 October 1971, 3:59–4:02 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 016-086, 10 December 1971, 5:18–5:20 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 005‑050, 13 June 1971, 12:18–12:42 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 005-059, 13 June 1971, 3:09–3:22 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 006-026, 29 June 1971, 5:03–5:06 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 005-068, 14 June 1971, 7:13–7:15 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 005-070, 14 June 1971, 7:19–7:22 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 006-084, 1 July 1971, 6:00–6:07 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 010-004, 24 September 1971, 1:52–2:02 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 006-111, 2 July 1971, 7:05–7:08 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 006-113, 2 July 1971, 7:13–7:14 p.m., White House Telephone. This was also the occasion of Nixon’s notorious order to count the number of Jewish BLS employees. See footnote 6 in the transcript of Conversation 006-113.


Conversation 006-129, 3 July 1971, 4:12–4:22 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 016-111, 18 December 1971, 1:40–1:46 pm, White House Telephone; Conversation 016-114, 18 December 1971, 3:05–3:09 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 016-118, 18 December 1971, 5:26–5:28 p.m., White House Telephone.


Hughes, Chasing Shadows, 143–45.


Conversation 007-019, 28 July 1971, 5:41–5:43 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 016-082, 10 December 1971, 4:36–4:42 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 013-075, 2 November 1971, 2:26–2:34 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 015-063, 20 November 1971, 10:24–10:27 a.m., White House Telephone.


To keep union leaders happy—or at least less unhappy than they would otherwise be—Nixon on one occasion pretended to be hard at work on issues of interest to them (Conversation 013-099, 3 November 1971, 12:22–12:23 p.m., White House Telephone).


Conversation 042-069, 28 April 1971, 4:49–4:50 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 011-014, 7 October 1971, 9:03–9:09 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 010-118, 7 October 1971, 11:07–11:08 a.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 016-053, 8 December 1971, 3:30–3:39 p.m., White House Telephone; Conversation 016-060, 8 December 1971, 5:08–5:14 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 001-081, 14 April 1971, 7:27–7:40 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 002-080, 4 May 1971, 7:49–7:52 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 002-023, 21 April 1971, 1:12–1:13 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 042-078, 29 April 1971, 10:48–11:08 a.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 010-116, 7 October 1971, 10:32–10:58 a.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 012-006, 20 October 1971, 3:40–3:42 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 013-124, 4 November 1971, 4:54–4:55 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 003-153, 27 May 1971, 8:09–8:11 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 013-020, 27 October 1971,12:23–12:26 p.m., White House Telephone.


For example, Nixon arranged a White House dinner for former Japanese prime minister Nobusuke Kishi, who had been kind to him during his years out of office (Conversation 012-092, 22 October 1971, 9:18–9:23 p.m., White House Telephone).


Conversation 006-011, 28 June 1971, 7:12–7:13 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 016-044, 6 December 1971, 6:44–6:47 p.m., White House Telephone; Emily Badger, “That One Time America Almost Got Universal Child Care,” 23 June 2014, Washington Post.


Conversation 015-191, 2 December 1971, 8:53–8:59 a.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 015-153, 29 November 1971, 11:53 a.m.–12:03 p.m., White House Telephone.


Conversation 015-176, 30 November 1971, 3:55–3:58 p.m., White House Telephone.