Wednesday, April 7, 1971 - 11:14pm - 11:21pm
Richard Nixon, H.R. (Bob) Haldeman
White House Telephone


Operator: Hello?

President Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: [White House Chief of Staff] Mr. [H.R. “Bob”] Haldeman. There you are.

Bob Haldeman: Hello?

President Nixon: Henry [Kissinger] just told me that [Clark] MacGregor was disappointed in the speech because I didn't announce more withdrawals.1 Now, if he's going to be that kind of a guy, we got to shuck him off goddamn fast. If he can't see this. Is that what he told you?

H.R. Haldeman: No. What he told me was [that] he was very enthusiastic on presentation and that he had hoped that we could, that we would withdraw, you know, a larger amount. But he's said that all along.

President Nixon: Yeah. But he really doesn't—has shown he doesn't have much guts.

Haldeman: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: You haven't heard from [Donald] Rumsfeld.2 You haven't heard from [Robert] Finch.3 And this is all you heard from MacGregor, so we've now found out who's who, haven't we? Right?

Haldeman: I don't know where Rumsfeld and Finch are tonight.

President Nixon: That's all right. They'd call if they felt—

Haldeman: I have heard from [John] Ehrlichman, who was very enthusiastic. And it was interesting, because he especially liked the close and he generally is one that's opposed to doing that kind of thing.

President Nixon: I know. Ehrlichman will be all right because he's with us, but I just—but Ehrlich[man]—but it seems to me, Bob, that MacGregor, Finch, Haldeman [?], and they've been under great pressures, I know, but goddamn it, if they don't stand up now, you know, I ain't going to talk to them. Screw them. I am not going to do it. They aren't going to come sucking around after they read the polls. You understand?

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: Or don't you agree?

Haldeman: Yeah, I do. I do. But let's, let me see what the story is on them, you know. They—

President Nixon: Yeah. All right. MacGregor, actually, should have stood up on this sort of thing. He should stand up and talk it up, rather than screw around. Jesus Christ, “we wish you'd announced a few more.” Well, goddamn it, he should say “this is the right thing; I'm for it.” That's what MacGregor's job is.

Haldeman: Well, that's what he is saying externally. He's trying to—he's playing it honest inside, though, and saying what he thinks.

President Nixon: I know. And what he thinks is that we haven't done enough.

Haldeman: And he understands why, though. He had hoped not, not because he wants an out but because he thinks it would do us more good, which, you know, with his—

President Nixon: Yeah, I understand. Yeah.

Haldeman: —area it would.

President Nixon: Rumsfeld you haven't heard from, right?

Haldeman: I haven't, no.

President Nixon: Well, nobody has. So he's playing his own little game. He may have—

President Nixon: I'm sorry.

Haldeman: He may have called in. Chuck [Colson] called—

President Nixon: No, I've checked it around. No, Rose hasn't heard from him and neither has Kissinger, so he hasn't called. It's all right. Did you get a hold of [John] Connally yet?

Haldeman: No, he was at the F Street Club or somewhere and had left, so he's going to call me as soon as he gets to his house.

President Nixon: Fine. Let me know what he thinks.

Haldeman: Right.

President Nixon: Fine.


1 Clark MacGregor was White House congressional liaison. (↑)

2 Donald H. Rumsfeld was counselor to the president. (↑)

3 Robert H. Finch was counselor to the president. (↑)

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