Wednesday, April 7, 1971 - 10:49pm - 10:50pm
Richard Nixon, Ronald Ziegler
White House Telephone


President Nixon: Hello.

Operator: [White House Press Secretary] Mr. [Ronald L.] Ziegler returning your call, sir.

Ronald Ziegler: Yes, sir?

Pat Nixon, the President's wife, and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, his daughter, can be heard indistinctly in the background.

President Nixon: Well, how did your people . . .

[aside] that's right.

[to Ziegler] I just got some of my family in here at the moment.

Ziegler: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: What about your people? Did they hold themselves or are they acting like a bunch of damned fools, as usual?

Ziegler: No, I think I sensed in the briefing that Henry [Kissinger] gave after they had read the text that a number of them are trying, of course, to get themselves back on track, because a lot of them were pretty far out on a limb.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Ziegler: But I think, you can sense when something, you know, significant is happening. There's a sort of a silence you sense in the room.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Ziegler: And I think they gathered the very clear significance of what tonight meant. In other words, your consistency and the fact that you were carrying through with something you firmly believed in. And I think they felt that—

President Nixon: The ending must have shook them a little, because they didn't expect that.

Ziegler: The ending, Mr. President, was great. Fantastic. [UPI White House correspondent] Helen Thomas had missed part of the ending so I had it replayed for her, and she, the reaction to that . . . You had every person in the country, I'm sure, just, you know, on the edge of their seat just in silence, because it was a very, very effective, moving thing.

President Nixon: Well, we ‘ll see what happens tomorrow. Fine.

Ziegler: Well I—

President Nixon: Just stand firm.

Ziegler: Yes, sir. I think the reaction has to be good.

President Nixon: Don't give them a goddamn inch.

Ziegler: I think it has to be good.

President Nixon: We defended the American service man, too. That was a good little passage.

Ziegler: Yes, sir. Right.

President Nixon: OK, boy.

Ziegler: Very effective, yes, sir.

President Nixon: Bye.

Original tape courtesy of the Nixon Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.