Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, Henry Kissinger
White House Telephone
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White House Operator: Sir.
President Nixon: Is [National Security Adviser Henry A.] Kissinger∇ coming over? Could you get me [White House Communications Director] Mr. [Herbert G.] Klein, please?
White House Operator: Yes, sir. And I have [Federal Bureau of Investigation Director] Mr. [J. Edgar] Hoover on the line.
President Nixon: All right, I'll take it. [Pause.] Hello?
J. Edgar Hoover∇: Hello, Mr. President.
President Nixon: Hello, Edgar. How are you?
Hoover: I can't tell you how grateful I am for the remarks you made last night.1
President Nixon: Oh, well, what the hell. I—
Hoover: They were terrific.
President Nixon: I always stick by my friends. You know that.
Hoover: You always have.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Hoover: And you certainly did it before a very effective audience, too—
President Nixon: Yeah. [Laughs.]
Hoover: —because they're the—
President Nixon: Well, you know, they're all badgering and so forth, but you know they nearly gave me a set-up question when this fellow said, “In view of the increasing attacks that Mr. Hoover is coming under, do you think he will now . . . resign?”
And I said, “No, it's going to have exactly the opposite effect,” I said, “He hasn't even discussed resignation with me.” And I said, “Certainly, when he's being under vicious and malicious attack, a man that's given 50 years of service is, isn't, and he certainly is not going to.” [laughing] You know, I thought that gave it a good chance.
Hoover: You know, as a matter of—
President Nixon: Well, it's true. Hell, I mean I—none of us are—I won't even—frankly, if they'd ever put it to me, I'd just say I wouldn't even consider it if I were in his place.
Hoover: It was wonderful of you, Mr. President. And you did magnificent on all the other questions.
President Nixon: You weren't there, were you?
Hoover: No, I listened to it on the radio.
President Nixon: Oh, you heard it. Yeah, well—
Hoover: On radio, and it came over excellently—
President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.
Hoover: —and you sounded more relaxed than you do on TV.
President Nixon: Well, it was more editors, so I could be a little bit—
Hoover: There were a few little jabs of humor that were very good, too.
President Nixon: Well—
President Nixon: —the main thing is, as they say, to let your friends support you in this and that—
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President Nixon: Fine, well, that's fine. I just—Edgar, I was just going to say, Henry Kissinger just walked in, and he disagrees. He says I shouldn't have defended you.
President Nixon and Hoover both laugh.
President Nixon: No, here he is. I'll let you say hello to him.
Hoover: Thank you so much. [Pause.]
Henry Kissinger: Hello?
Hoover: Hello, Doctor.
Kissinger: Mr. Hoover. Well, you know you have many admirers in this building.
Hoover: Well, I thought the President was magnificent last night. I just can't find words to express my appreciation for what he said.
Kissinger: Well, anyone who's done your service to the country, you should not be exposed to these sort of malicious attacks.
Hoover: Oh, but you did, and I am also . . . they are just trying to bait anybody who's a member of the establishment.
Hoover: I think that the statement of the President last night and all the answers he made—some of them were loaded questions—were magnificent.
Kissinger: Well, that's what I thought, and I thought it was—it came out very, very well.
Hoover: I thought it was excellent. And it's awful nice to have you tell me what you just said.
Kissinger: Well, it's a privilege to be able to work with you.
Hoover: Thank you so much, Doctor.