August 21, 2013
Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Completes "First Pass" Through Nixon
339 Hours of Tapes
Released; 3,000 Hours Released to Date
First Pass Began in 1997;
Review of Final 700 Hours Remains
Nixon on China: "The
ablest people in the world in my opinion—potentially. We've got
to get along with them. It's no problem for the next 5 years,
the next 20 years, but it's the critical problem of our age."
"We head the two most
powerful nations...it is essential that those two nations, where
possible, work together...If we decide to work together, we can
change the world."
Press Coverage of This Release:
Fox News' "The Foxhole"
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Los Angeles Times
by Luke A. Nichter, co-author of
upcoming book The Nixon Tapes (with Douglas Brinkley)
On August 21, 2013, the Nixon Presidential
Library released approximately 339 hours of Nixon tapes originally recorded
between April and July 1973, when taping was discontinued. With this release, approximately 3,000 hours of
tapes have been declassified and released to the public out of a total of
approximately 3,700 hours recorded by the Nixon White House taping system. This release was a final sequel to the tape releases
that occurred on July 11, 2007,
2, 2008, June 23, 2009, and December 9, 2010.
With this release, the first
pass through the Nixon tapes is now complete. The National
Archives and Records Administration (NARA) began preparing the
3,700 hours of Nixon tapes for chronological release in the
mid-1990s, following the death of President Nixon in 1994. NARA
will next begin a review of the final 700 hours, in the hopes
that recordings restricted in one of the earlier releases are now
releasable under a more liberal deed negotiated when the Nixon
Presidential Library in Yorba Linda came under federal control
during 2007. Tapes once restricted for reasons such as national
security or privacy of a living person may no longer need to
remain restricted. NARA has not set a timetable for this second
The period in the Nixon
administration covered by these "Chron 5.5"
tapes was tulmultuous, to say the least:
- April 30:
accepted the resignations of his two closest aides, H.R.
"Bob" Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman. Counsel to the
President John W. Dean, III and Attorney General Richard
Kleindienst also left the adminstration that day. Alexander
M. Haig, Jr. became White House Chief of Staff, and Elliot
Richardson was nominated to be Attorney General. The
resignations forced Nixon to
make a public statement in which he took the blame for
- May 1:
The U.S. Senate passed a resolution establishing a Watergate
- May 14:
John W. Dean, III turned over highly sensitive records to
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge
John J. Sirica, including the Huston Plan, a blueprint for
- May 17:
The Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities,
aka Ervin Committee or simply the Senate Watergate
Committee, sat for the first time. Its chair was Senator
Sam J. Ervin (D-NC), accompanied by Chief Counsel Sam Dash.
Senator. The Ranking Member was Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr.
(R-TN), accompanied by Counsel Fred Thompson.
- May 19:
Former Kennedy administration Solicitor General Archibald
Cox was appointed Watergate Special Prosecutor.
- May 22:
issued a statement regarding the Watergate break-in and
- June 25:
Former White House Counsel John W. Dean, III began testimony
before the Ervin Committee that was the first to directly
implicate White House officials, including former Attorney
General John Mitchell and President Nixon.
- July 7:
issued a letter in response to an Ervin Committee request
for testimony and records of White House officials.
- July 12:
White House Chief of Staff Alexander M. Haig turned off the
Nixon taping system.
- July 13:
Former Deputy Assistant to the President Alexander P.
Butterfield testified in executive session before the Ervin
Committee and revealed the existence of the secret Nixon
taping system. Butterfield was one of only a handful of
people who knew taping took place from February 1971 to July
1973. The Ervin Committee immediately began the process of
requesting tapes as evidence.
The period coverered by this "Chron 5.5"
tapes release also included a number of non-Watergate related historic events:
- May 1-2:
West German Chancellor Willy Brandt
made an official visit
- May 24:
President Nixon hosted a
for returned Prisoners of War, which remains the largest
event ever held at the White House. The dinner was
recently commemorated at the Richard Nixon Presidential
Library by POWs who attended the original dinner 40 years
- May 29-31:
President Nixon and French President Georges Pompidou
held a summit
at Reykjavik, Iceland.
- June 18-25:
Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev
made an official visit
to the United States, following Nixon's visit to Moscow
during May 1972.
- July 1:
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
beginning America's "War on Drugs."
- July 9:
was sworn in
as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
nixontapes.org has obtained a copy of this new
tape release, and will be soon adding the complete audio, finding aids, and
analysis. The following are
some excerpts from the newly released tapes from April to July 1973.
- Also of interest may be the President's Daily
April 1-30, 1973 (pdf,
May 1-31, 1973 (pdf,
June 1-30, 1973 (pdf,
July 1-31, 1973 (pdf,
#1: June 4, 1973,
White House Telephone 039-087, 11:16 -
Kissinger conveyed the
message that President Nixon had been invited to visit
China again, following his first visit during February 1972. Nixon also extended an invitation to Chinese Premier Chou
En-lai to visit either Washington or New York, the site of
the UN. Nixon was concerned about whether he should visit
China again before a Chinese visit to the U.S. (The first high
level visit from the PRC did not come until 1979, with the visit
of Deng Xiaoping.)
To listen to an audio excerpt, click
With regard to Mao, you know, that is quite significant,
don't you think?
I think that's of enormous significant, Mr. President.
other thing I was going to say, though, that—
Because it means that they think that they are going to deal
with you for the foreseeable future.
Right. The other thing is do you think that we should get
in—well we can't do it before you leave—but if you could get
a message to the Ambassador here that we think it's very
important for Chou En-lai to come to the UN. Or do you want
to wait till August to do that?
I've already done that, Mr. President.
I did that—
I took the liberty of doing that in response—
You see, it's going to look rather strange if I go running
to China if he doesn't come here.
No, I've already done that.
How'd you do it?
I had already extended an invitation at your suggestion a
few months ago.
Yeah, I know, but recently?
I repeated it and I said we can do it in one of two ways:
either to go to the UN, or better yet just come to
Washington on a personal visit.
No, what he should do is come to the UN and then drop down
here and we'll give him a nice dinner, you know, without the
head of state thing, but it will be everything except the
Right. Well, I told him we could handle it either way. And—
And he's going to forward that to them, huh?
And he said—well, he didn't turn it down. You know, in the
past they could never do it as long as the ROC was—
Yeah, I know. I know. Yeah.
He said, well he's very busy and he'll look at his calendar.
Well in view of the Mao thing, you see, the Mao thing has to
be significant, because if it came from Chou En-lai that
would be one thing, but coming from Mao—
It came from both. It was a joint invitation.
And I don't know whether you noticed, Mr. President, when he
came that he said to you, "Mr. and Mrs. Mao."
Yeah! Yeah, I know.
Well, that was very significant considering her role in the
Yeah, and as a member of the Central Committee.
Yes, and of the Politburo.
Politburo, I meant. Yeah. Yeah.
So I thought it was an extremely significant event.
And also that they answered you within three days. I mean,
you only saw him last Wednesday.
And they also gave us a rather good message on Cambodia.
Oh, did they?
Yes, but we musn't refer to it in any sense.
Oh, no, no, no. Because they can't get caught at it, I know.
#2: May 8, 1973,
Oval Office 912-015,
12:34 - 12:56
In a twist on ping-ping diplomacy, Brazilian soccer great
Pele visited President Nixon for an exchange of greetings and
gifts. Pele discussed the sport's rising popularity in the
United States, and Nixon responded that the greatest
American players were at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Pele discussed his interest in forming cultural exchanges
between Latin America and the United States.
To listen to an audio excerpt, click
You are the greatest in the world.
Nixon a clipping from Sao Paolo while photographers take
you speak any Spanish?
No, Portuguese. It is all the same.
He always wins.
The national champions of soccer in the United States are
here in Washington, at Howard University. Here is a
clipping of my visit with Pele to Sao Paolo in 1967.
Soccer is very different from American football.
Do I know that! The main thing is to use your head.
Here is a film of soccer which I would like to present. I
know you are busy.
Sports films I watch.
It shows the world-wide soccer and the training that is
You have no sons, but maybe your grandsons will want to
learn from it. [Nixon handed out pens.]
Soccer is played more and more around the world and in the
United States. My aim is to send soccer technicians to the U.S.
and have your basketball technicians come to Latin America.
That is a great enterprise and I wish you well.
#3: May 3, 1973, Oval Office 911-009, 9:48 -
President Nixon met with Ambassador David K.E. Bruce, the Chief-Designate of the
U.S. Liaison Office in Peking (the precursor to the American Embassy,
which came into operation in 1979). Nixon asked Bruce to be active in
Peking socially so that he could observe the next generation of
political leaders likely to assume power from aging leaders Mao and
Chou. Bruce, one of the 20th century's most experienced American
diplomats, assured Nixon that he had experience with secret
negotiations and is willing to keep his work secret from the
State Department, which they both agreed had "non-existent"
To listen to an audio excerpt, click
Well, the great thing for you, as you know, substantively,
probably not a great deal will happen for a while.
Nixon: But the
most important thing about this is the symbolism. I mean,
symbolism sometimes is not important, but now it is enormously
The fact that—
The fact that you are there. Let me tell you one thing I
particularly would like to see. I know that the social world is
a total pain in the [neck], but to the extent that you can, if
you could get around, and have your colleagues get around and
give us an evaluation of the people on the way up who are there
You've got to understand, Mao will soon be leaving; Chou
En-Lai is in his 70s but he's as vigorous as can be—terrific.
You're really going to like him, you'll like them both. Chou
En-lai is an amazing man. But on the other hand, except for some
men in their 30s—late 30s and 40s—I don't see much coming up.
And I think, you know, you can do that. Look around, see who the
power is. That's the one thing that would be very important for
us to know. Isn't it?
Bruce: Well, I
think it is, yes. Because if they have sort of a collegial
The Russians have quite a few in their shop that you know might
And you know, an interesting thing, the Russians too
[unclear], so pretty soon we know in four or five years there's
going to be change there. But there will be a change in China.
And the world changes. Well, there's that. Then, of course, the
just, you know, your sense of the country, its people. I mean,
I'm really, really more interested in that than I am in the
routine cables, "Well, today we did this, or that, or the other
thing. We signed an agreement." You know, this is how we grow
Don't you agree?
I do agree.
We're trying to see what this great—I mean, we've got to get
along with this one-fourth of all people in the world. The
ablest people in the world in my opinion—potentially. We've got
to get along with them. It's no problem for the next 5 years,
the next 20 years, but it's the critical problem of our age.
Yes, I think it is.
The other thing is, if you could, constantly of course,
whenever you're talking, they're very subtle—and they're not
like the Russians, who, of course slobber at flattery and all
that sort of thing. But you should let them know how—two things:
one, from a personal standpoint how much I appreciated the
welcome while we were there. Second, we look forward to, some
time, returning. Third, I would very much hope that Chou En-lai
will see his way clear to come here to the UN.
Or something. I'd like to take him here, and it can be
worked out in proper way. And fourth, and I think this is the
most important, that I look upon the Chinese-American
relationship as really the key to peace in the world. Always
have in the back of your mind without playing it too obviously,
the fact that the only thing that makes the Russian game go is
the Chinese game. Always have in the back of your mind that if
you say anything pro-Russian, [unclear]. Always have in the back
of your mind that the Russians are their deadly enemies. And
they know it, and we know it. And that we will stand by them.
And that's the commitment that I have made. I have.
How we do it, I don't know. But that's what keeps. Because
David, what is probably in our time maybe that big collision
could occur, and collisions even between enemies these days will
involve all nations of the world, they're that big. So we want
to avoid that, too. But my point is the Chinese must be assured
they have one heck of a friend here. They hate the Indians, as
Well, they don't hate them as much as they have contempt for
them. They think that India is becoming a, you know, a sort of
satellite of Russia. And of course the Japanese, they have a
fear and respect for them as well. So with the Japanese,
sort of say the right thing in terms of we want to get along
with Japan and the rest. And it's very important that we have
our, that we maintain our, in other words the shield there,
because otherwise Japan goes into business for itself and that's
not in our interest. And the other point that they're fairly
interested in, looking at the world scene, another point, apart
from the fact they'll go through the usual jazz [unclear]
keeping revolutions in mind. That's fine. What they do in Africa
I don't care anymore. But Europe. They don't want us to get out
of Europe. Because they realize as long as the Russians have a
tie down in Europe, that—you see what I mean?
Oh, I do.
So some of our well-intentioned Congressmen go over there
and reassure them, "Oh, look, we're going to get out of Asia.
We're going to get out of Japan, we're trying to reduce our
forces in Europe." Well, that for the Chinese scares them to
Well, I was struck by the conversations that you've had, and
how they came back to the necessity about preserving forces in
Europe. They were very pro-NATO for their own reasons. It was
Well, I've got all those points in mind. Those conversations
that you had there I've read. I must say they really are quite
[unclear] fascinating to read.
Yeah. You're one of the few in the country who's read them.
I'd forgotten—but I do think they're absolutely fascinating.
Yeah. A lot of history was made there.
It was indeed. I think probably the most significant
history, diplomatic history, of our time. No question about it.
And I don't see anything, which could really ruin it in the time
being. Without any hesitation I can tell you I always thought
the preservation of good relations should have sort of ordinary
courtesies and what not in the beginning, it'll probably be all
business, but you try and get to know as many people as
Let them think that we are strong, respected, and we're not
going to be pushed around by the Russians or anybody else.
Middle East—we have no answer there, as you know.
They haven't either. But I think the great irony is that
today the United States of all nations is China's most important
friend. [laughter] Romania? Tanzania? Albania? [unclear]
That's pretty good stuff.
My point is, with that in mind—would you like a little
No, I wouldn't like some. I just had some.
Oh, fine. I'll have a little, just a cup.
But this is the most fascinating development, I think.
It sure is.
We must replace the policies that have become so embedded
almost in the American consciousness that nobody in particular
complained about it, and nobody intended [unclear].
Look, for 20 years, do you know, we were sort of—now look,
I'm supposed to be the number one Red-baiter in the country. I
have earned that reputation for what you know very well. Had we
just continued the policy of just a silent confrontation and
almost non-communication with the PRC—
In the end we would reap a nuclear war. No question.
We just had to breakthrough.
Also, as I said, it was so important to the Russian game.
It must have [unclear]. How about does one explain to the
Chinese that we want to preserve a relationship that has great
importance to us, a meaningful relationship with Russia? The
Chinese are undoubtedly our favorites between the two. But—
The Russians are saying: Now look, this is very important.
That Nixon is having another meeting with Brezhnev. There's
going to be a lot of reasons for having that meeting. The
important thing there to remember is that Russia and the United
States are superpowers. That our interests do rub together in
the Mideast and in Europe, particularly. That their rubbing
together is a danger that is almost unbelievably great, and that
under these circumstances we feel what we have to do is try to
limit that danger as much as we can through communication. But,
on the other hand, we do not consider putting it quite bluntly
as between the two. We consider the Soviet, because of its power
and of its longer history of expansionism, we consider it more
of a danger that we have to deal with than we do China, which
has a longer history of, frankly, defense. Now, I think a little
of that is well worth saying. In other words—and also I'd be
very blunt about it. Just say you've had a long talk with the
President and there's no illusions—our systems are different.
They're better Communists than the Russians are today. But we
want to get back to our national interest. And the President
considers—he's a man of the Pacific. He considers that China and
America have a hell of a lot more in common than Russia and
America, and that is the God's truth.
Yes, that's true.
And that therefore, looking at the historical process, I
want to work toward that direction. And I think that's what we
have to do. But the Chinese-American relationship can be the
great lynchpin of peace in the world.
Well, I'll tell you that after you've talked to Brezhnev,
the Chinese will be filled in rather completely.
Totally. I've instructed, I'll have, of course we'll be in
touch with you, but we'll probably have Kissinger go over again.
Incidentally, I want to tell you one thing. Normally on these
visits when he goes, this is very important, he has sometimes
met alone. So far. But in this instance, I want you to feel,
David, that you are basically, not the State Department's
ambassador, you are the President's, and I want you to be in on
everything. You see what I mean? You've got to remember that we
cannot—there's parts of these games that we don't want to go to
the bureacracy. It's no lack of confidence in Bill or any of the
others. But you know how it is. So will you have this in mind,
I will, Mr. President. I certainly will. Because the
security of the State Department is, in my mind, non-existent.
No, I think that I understand that part of the [unclear].
And I think the back channel can be used [unclear].
Well, I want to use the backchannel. And also, when Henry
gets over there to do the briefings. I think it's very important
that you be with him.
Well, I would like that.
So that you can, you know, get the feel of the thing, too.
Yes, I think it would be on that occasion, good. They
offered when they came to Paris in connection with the Vietnam
peace talks taking me to secret meetings. And I was very
indisposed to do it. I think it would have been a great mistake.
I never would have been able to—
Oh, yes. When you were there.
Yes. But I think with China it's probably a different thing.
Well, in China [unclear]. I'll see that it's done.
All right, sir. I've only got one other thing, which I have
not [unclear]—because they are behind the times with what's
going on. This Cambodia thing, I wonder if it's possible to
I wish it were. We're willing to settle. China can have it.
Whether they can still get that [unclear] Sihanouk back in I
don't know. We don't care. The Cambodians don't want it at the
moment. What ideas did you have? I mean, anything we can do—God,
Cambodia is a terrible, terrible place.
#4: June 18, 1973,
Oval Office 943-008, Unknown between 11:31
am - 3:12
In the only record of this
conversation, President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary
Leonid Brezhnev met in the Oval Office. The only other person
present was an interpreter, Viktor Sukhodrev. At times, the
conversation is surprisingly personal, including a discussion of
Brezhnev's family and initial hesitation to visit Nixon's home
in California, the Casa Pacifica. Nixon and Brezhnev agree on a
future schedule of summits,to be rotated between the USSR and
the United States. They also discuss Brezhnev's schedule for the
rest of the week, including a visit to Camp David.
To listen to an audio excerpt, click
we have an omen in Russia that when it rains as you are leaving
on a trip it’s a good sign. And it was raining by chance at the
airport. It happened. But that, too—but that, too, is according
to the Russian folk tradition a good omen. And especially since
it was raining both in Moscow and in Washington, that makes it a
double, extra good omen.Oh,
I think that's of enormous significant, Mr. President.
President, because of the ceremonies and all the protocol, I
didn’t get a chance to say, and I want to do this right from the
start, to extend to you the very good, the best wishes,
good feelings of all my comrades, all my
associates who saw me off at Moscow airport. It’s ok if I may
Sukhodrev: [unclear] Is that ok? I’ll try it.
Nixon: Try it. Ok.
see, I have a cigarette box there. It has a special timing
mechanism and I can’t—I won’t be able to open it for an hour.
Oh, how's it open?
the mechanism, the timing mechanism is now working and I won’t
be able to open that for another hour. In one hour it will
[laughs] That’s a way to discipline yourself.
That’s right. Mr. President, on a personal level [unclear] I
need to just say that as I was being seen off at the airport in
Moscow, and all my colleagues and my comrades were there, and I
had a few words with them, and, well, I just said, “I thank you
all for your trust that you vested in me for this visit for my
talks with President Nixon, and I only hope that you will
support me in all that we do together with the President of the
United States.” And all of my colleagues who were there at the
airport said they were absolutely confident that these new
talks, at summit-level, between the Soviet Union and the United
States, would yield new and truly historic results. And with
those words, with that send-off, I climbed the steps up to the
plane and flew off to Washington.
That was really
a word-for-word—that was a word-for-word description of what
went on at the airport, and how the world may be changed. And,
also, last Thursday, when we had our regular meeting of our
leadership, the Politburo of the Party, where we had a free
discussion, a long discussion about Soviet-American relations,
about all that has been achieved already, and all that we want
to achieve in the future, and the prospects that we are aiming
at, there was complete unanimity of views as regards the basic
principles of the development of our relations and of the main
questions on which we have achieved already a preliminary
agreement and on those that we still have to discuss. Of course,
there are certain matters that I have not raised in that forum
before having had a chance to ask for your advice, consult with
With all this hope,
purely, personally, and at this meeting permit me to say that I
have certainly come to this country with very good feelings,
with good intentions, and with high hopes for these forthcoming
Although doubtless certain problems are complex, and they may be
difficult of solution for both yourself and myself, but I always
believe that there are no—there are no situations out of which a
way cannot be found, and there are no problems for which a
solution cannot be found.
And if I might just
make two personal points before we go over to official
you called it—the first thought I had [unclear] certain doubts
about the San Clemente visit—.
that’s why I came to you, to contact you through the Ambassador,
but then when I learned that, Mr. Nixon, that you were very
anxious for me to be there and go there. I am now—And I
immediately responded. And I am—let me say that I am now really
happy that I have revised my initial decision and I—and it was a
personal decision on my part, and I do believe now, especially
when I know that you—the symbolic—the symbolism that you put
into the name of that house in San Clemente—.
House of Peace.
of Peace [unclear]. Exactly, and I do believe—I’m, as I say, I’m
happy that I am going there, and I do believe that thatsymbolism
will turn into reality. And that is something that I [unclear]—
the second point is a family—is a family one. Everything seemed
to be going very well and I had hoped to come here with some of
the members of my family, but, well, you see, my wife was not
well anyway. She got a little worse and she was put to bed. And
for a short time I hoped, but, anyway, that’s the way it
happened. And then, I also wanted to bring my son along, but
then he has his own kid. Now, the trouble is that his—my
grandson, his son that is, is finishing his high school this
And so he’s got his examinations, his
graduation examination, and then his entrance examination to
Moscow University. And so you know how parents are. I mean in
our country, especially, they insist on going, [unclear] to the
school [unclear] or to the university, and they insist on pacing
the corridors, waiting for the results of the examinations. I
keep saying that you can’t help them, anyway, but that’s what
they do. So, well, those are the circumstances that prevented me
from bringing any of the members of my family along.
there was really nothing I could do about it. But I—but I will
say that Tricia [unclear] and made a very big impression on my
children, and they still remember every minute of their meeting
and the way they went along together. Well, I assured them that
I will let them come to Washington to be able to spend some time
with Tricia, the other of your—younger—and your other children.
I will come. My son, my daughter, and my daughter-in-law wrote a
collective letter and asked that it be given to Tricia, so I
don’t want to give it to anybody else. I want you, as a father,
to give it to Tricia.
Well, I would like, Mr. Brezhnev, to extend from me, and
from Tricia and Julie, an invitation for the members of his
family to come here as our special guests. [That] we would like,
and we appreciate the very warm welcome that was given to Tricia
and her husband when she was in Moscow. We look forward to having
them here as our personal guests. Thank you. And at any time.
you. Maybe some time in the fall.
Brezhnev: It is
Tell him the weather is good. It’s good anytime.
They’ll be happy to hear that.
Right. Also, I want to say before the others come in is that
I very much appreciated the personal remarks that Mr. Brezhnev
has made. [unclear exchange] We, we both—we must
recognize, the two of us, that I for 3½ more years in this
office and the General Secretary, I hope, for that long or
longer, we head the two most powerful nations and, while we will
naturally in negotiations have some differences, it is essential
that those two nations, where possible, work together. And the
key really is in the relationship between Mr. Brezhnev and
myself. If we decide to work together, we can change the world.
That’s what—that’s my attitude as we enter these talks. Thank
you. [unclear; laughter] I know it’s all right.
Well, thank you very much. And, in fact, I did indeed have
two opportunities fairly recently to speak of you, Mr.
President. Once was during my meeting with a group of American
Senators, and I was speaking really from my heart—And,
incidentally, let me proceed here to say that when I did meet
the Senators, I was struck by the fact that they all, all of
them regardless of party affiliation, evinced sincere—what I
felt to be a sincere respect for you, Mr. President. And there
was no attempt in any way to kind of, to sort of needle you
through—in their—in the way they talked about you or in their
And in fact, after
the—After the meeting, Senator Hartke, who led the delegation,
he came up to me separately, and he said that he had never had,
just at the beginning of that conversation, and he had never
before had such hopes for a better atmosphere in relations
between our two countries as he now has after the foundation
made jointly by the President and by myself. Now, he spoke
really so highly, I was moved,I was deeply touched. Say, is he a
Republican or a Democrat?
Nixon: Democrat. Very partisan. [laughter;
But, you know, Mr. President, if he spoke that highly of you
always, well I’d live for nothing better. [unclear] And I was
just recalling that I was asked once, during my meeting with
President Pompidou at Zaslavl, one of the correspondents there,
and I met some of them at the airport, they were asking me about
my forthcoming trip to the United States and whether that was
still on. I said—at that time I said, “Of course it is,
certainly.” And then in Bonn, out walking with Chancellor
Brandt, there was also—we came across a group of correspondents
and one of them asked me, “Is your trip to the United States
still on?” I said, “Well,” I said, “what are you expecting? A
great big earthquake in the United States that will prevent me
from going and meet with the President?” [unclear] And of course
I would go, and, well, that made a big hit with them.
So, and—well, for the first time, as I say, that I spoke to
a group of Americans about my paying my respect for you was with
this group of Senators, and I really spoke from my heart. And
the second time was during my interview with the biggest group
of American correspondents that I’ve ever received. There were
eleven of them.
And I—in fact, I can—I spent a lot of time with them. Ican
send you a full transcript of my discussion and my interview
with them. And in that conversation I—twice in different sorts
of settings and different circumstances I mentioned and
emphasized what I see as the role and the significance of
President Nixon and his policies in the—in changing
relationships and improving relationships between the Soviet
Union and the United States. But you know, come to think of it,
12 or so years ago one former very—formerly very prominent
Soviet diplomat and statesman told me that, “Now you”—and I was
then—“you are just a sort of a newly-initiated statesman. You’re
an up-and-coming statesman,” he said to me—
—at that time, and—
—and he said, “Now, and I want to give you some advice.” He
told me, “Now, you’re new in politics but believe me that
personal, good relationships, even in grand politics, are at
times the most important thing for progress at any time.” And,
you know, I remember those words and I, personally, I agree with
them. And I do believe that personal confidence and loyalty to
even a gentleman’s agreement without setting down anything on
paper are the best thing for any relationships at any time. And
it’s with that hope that I come here, and in that spirit I want
to shake you hand.
Now, I believe that our personal relationships and the
respect which I certainly harbor, very sincerest regard for you
and I know it’s reciprocal, can be confirmed by two events and
that is: your arrival to Moscow last year, and mine in
Washington this year. This is not in any way to remember the bad
past or to emphasize anything out of the present, but, simply,
I’m giving an answer in substance and what is, I think, is
Yesterday, I had a very
pleasant conversation with Dr. Kissinger and I guess he must
have told you at least about it in general terms, but I want
to say now—I said this to him yesterday, and I do want to
say it now—that it is certainly my very earnest desire that
you should pay another visit to the Soviet Union some time
next year, in 1974. I think that would be very good—
For the election?
Sukhodrev: Yeah, pretty much.
You’ll come back in ’75 here.
Sukhodrev: That’s what he’s talking about
Nixon: Oh, go ahead. Please go on—
Let me say here that this is not something I just say in a
personal—only in a personal capacity. At the last meeting of the
Politburo, I suggested—made the suggestion that I should make an
official visit to—I should extend an official invitation to you
to come to the Soviet Union in 1974. That suggestion received
unanimous support by the entire Politburo, so it’s both a
personal and a unanimously-supported decision, and a considered
decision by our leadership. And then, you see, I think that new
meeting between us would a give new impulse to what has already
been done and it would be fully in accord with the
arrangement—the agreement, actually, that we entered into last
year that these meetings should be a regular, annual event. So,
today, I’m here with you in the United States, and I shall be
hoping that you will accept our invitation to visit us in 1974,
and then, if we get an invitation, we can come back to the
United States in ‘75.
Thank you. That’s right.
And then, in 1976, you come and pay us another visit. And
that will, I’m sure, that this series of meetings of this sort
will give continued—will give new and continuous impulses to the
development of a real, lasting relationship between our two
countries. Now, of course, I don’t have with me any brief or any
official or formal proposals as to the problems we could take up
for discussion next year or the agreements that we could sign
next year, but this is something that we could some day at a
point have a general discussion about, exchange views, consult
one another, but I believe that our experience, the experience
of preparing for last year’s meeting, and of preparing for this
one, shows that we can do some very fruitful work, preparatory
work together, and then, if we do that prior to the visit, there
is—there can be more, time can be spent on seeing, traveling
more through the country. You could go down south, see something
in the Caucasus, for instance, some other part of the country.
And, in short, we can prepare all of the business part of the
trip so well, in advance, as to leave the minimal time for
formal discussions and the settlement of various problems.
So—but we certainly seek to insure that the next visit is at
least as important as—each next visit is at least as important
as each preceding one. But we can talk about that a little
Well, I want to say before the others come in that I have
the same feeling of respect for and a very personal basis, for
the General Secretary, and of friendship on a personal basis.
He’s a very—as I have told people in this office, I’ve indicated
this: he is a strong man, and he represents a very strong
country. And my greatest desire is to have this personal
relationship, so that our two very strong countries can be a
force that’s working together, rather than like that. If they
work together, then the whole world benefits. If they work like
that, the whole world is greatly endangered. And Mr. Brezhnev
and I have the key, and I think that our personal relationship
will unlock the door for the continuing relationship between our
two countries, which will contribute to peace in the world.
Oh, thank you. And I should like in that connection to say
that I, for one, take pride in the fact that my country is a
very big and powerful one, that it’s got, has many millions—250
million-strong population. It’s got the vast mineral resources,
and agricultural and industrial potential. And all this is
something that heartens us. It cannot fail to do so. But, on the
other hand, I have never said that I regret the fact that the
United States is also a big, important, a very powerful and a
very strong, economically strong, country. And as, in fact, I
told the last plenary meeting of our Central Committee, the
ruling body of the—for our party and of the country, that the
United States is w orthy of the greatest respect as a major, as a
big world power. And I spoke of the role that our two countries
can play in strengthening world peace and in working together on
a basis of cooperation. Now, there are some people who keep
throwing in this idea of there being two superpowers in the
world who are out to dictate their, as they say, dictate their
will, to foist their will upon others, and so forth. Now, but,
are we to blame for being big? Are we to blame for being strong?
What can we do about it? That is the way it is. I mean, what do
these people want us to do, become countries—?
I am praising those
who have made their nations strong. What are we to be? What
are we to do? To turn ourselves into some kind of Guinea, or
a country like that? And, surely, the main thing is the
factthat we have—we are strong, but we don’t intend to use
that strength against either one another or against any
other third parties. Now—and there are—and people—except
there are some people who keep reproachingus that we—that
that is exactly what we allegedly want to do. But those—I
think that is a deliberate attempt to spoil relations thrown
in by certain people on the side. Now—but, and doubtless,
neither the United States nor the Soviet Union can turn
themselves into a Luxembourg where the entire army is made
up of 78 policemen.
Well, so far I’m taking a kind of
tolerant, patient attitude towards those who propagate that
theory, the superpower theory, but I think that some time
later I will make a big, serious speech and deal with that
theory, I mean the so-called superpower theory, and really
strike out against it, so as to crush that theory. And in
that speech I’d certainly emphasize the constructive role
that our two countries can make.
And, finally, that we should take up for
discussion and endeavor to solve not only various current
problems, but, also, we should endeavor to look far ahead,
because if we can look ahead we can really create a basis of
stable relationships and peace. And, as they say, if you
don’t look ahead, you will inevitably lag behind and fall
back, and I want us both to look forward together to a
peaceful—a more peaceful, and a stronger future.[unclear
Well, I think the key is personal friendship plus respect
for each other’s peoples. Those two added together mean a
constructive and positive relationship. And we have that.
Now, as regards the schedule and the general protocol of our
meetings, I’m happy to go along with any suggestions that you
might make, with all those that you have made already, and any
that you might make—wish to make in the future with regard to
any minor changes or adaptations, or alterations, or anything—
I realize that—
Anything you suggest, I’m happy to go along with. I like the
gaiety of Camp David.
We’ll have a good meeting up there.
It’s quiet, peaceful.
And he’ll like San Clemente, too. That’s very quiet. All you
hear there is the ocean waves. You’ll like that.
The same goes for me. I like them—I like hearing the sound
of the sea.
Well, should we invite—would you like to invite Gromyko?
As—as you wish, Mr. President—
—as protocol dictates [unclear] protocol [unclear].
Right. I think the—I think that we should have Gromyko,
Rogers and Kissinger, and [unclear] Soviet Union, sort of—we can
have a sort of, as we did in Moscow, a plenary session.
Well, yeah, for this sort of plenary meeting I’d like to
have Gromyko in, certainly, and it’s natural if our two other
Ministers, Patolichev and Bugayev,6 just for the first one.
Would you like them, too, today? We were going to have—I
thought that tomorrow we’d have an economic meeting.
And then—I fully agree—and then, the—our—we have most of our
other meeting times, I guess, could be held in [unclear].
That’s right. That’s right.
If you will take Gromyko on our side, and—
—or—and some of them might be just personal.
Yeah, that’s right. I’d like to have that, too. We can talk
on the plane, we can talk at Camp David. That’s all right.
Now, I wanted to consult you on this—
On the question of the prevention of nuclear war, this
plenary session we say that, “well, so”—we call it the first
question, so we have—we say something like, “Well, we have
reached an understanding on this first question of ours,” and
then [unclear]. Things like that now.
Going into it?
So as to prevent any leaks to the press in advance.
[unclear] Right from the start.
We don’t want anything said about that, no.
And—well, Mr. President, what’s your—do you have any ideas
as to how we should conduct this first—
I think we—[unclear exchange]
—[unclear] session, how do we start out—?
What I would suggest is that I will ask—that Mr. Brezhnev
being the guest—I will ask him to talk first, and he can talk
generally about our relations. [unclear] And I will respond. By
that time it’ll probably be about—we’ll run a little over, but
That’ll be fine. I’ll use the lunch break to have a little
—because I’m still a little weak.
That’s good that [unclear].
our time difference.
if we take Moscow time, tonight’s dinner will end at something
like 5 a.m. [laughs]
Well, we’ll break him of that. I would
happy to go on with any of you—
now for maybe 45 minutes.