Tuesday, April 13, 1971 - 11:14pm - 11:17pm
Richard Nixon, Charles Colson
White House Telephone


President Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: I have Mr. [Charles] Colson, sir.1

President Nixon: Yeah. Hello.

Chuck Colson: Yes, sir, Mr. President.

President Nixon: I'm meeting with [John] Scali and [Henry] Kissinger in a couple of minutes.2 You want to come down?

Charles Colson: Uh—

President Nixon: Are you free, or what are you doing?

Colson: Fine, I'll come right over.

President Nixon: Wait a minute. Where are you now?

Colson: I'm in my office, just . . .

President Nixon: Meeting with somebody?

Colson: No, sir. Just cleaning up some paperwork.

President Nixon: Fine. Fine. Fine. OK. Or do you want—think we should just—want me to see them alone?

Colson: Well, I suggest that Kissinger come in. I don't think it matters one way [unclear comment by President Nixon'] or another whether I'm there, but I think it's important that—

President Nixon: Well, Kissinger, I'm going to lay right into it. I only thought that . . . well, maybe not. Maybe you might pass at this time. You've had long talks with him before.

Colson: Oh, I've been working with John. I had John in here—

President Nixon: He's in good shape.

Colson: —almost all day yesterday, sort of getting him adjusted to the system and—

President Nixon: Sure. Sure. Sure.

Colson: I will be working closely with him. I felt, on this meeting, Mr. President, and I expressed myself this morning, that the great value that—would be for you to get these two fellows sort of tracking together, because—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Colson: —there'll be a normal tendency for a little rivalry, there.

President Nixon: I know. I know.

Colson: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: I'll talk to them alone. I'll talk to them alone.

Colson: I think there's value in that.

President Nixon: Yeah. I'll do that. Fine. Fine. Anything else from your shop?

Colson: I might just report to you, Mr. President, that [Louis] Harris did start the polling when he said he would.3 He started last Thursday.

President Nixon: Still polling, huh?

Colson: His people are through in the field tonight and their data starts flowing back in. We'll have a feel on the Harris figures this weekend.

President Nixon: But you gave him ours, did you?

Colson: Gave him yours. I gave him the ORC [Opinion Research Corporation] figures.

President Nixon: Good.

Colson: Which he, which he said he felt were—he said he felt the trend would be up. He wasn't surprised by the ORC figures.

President Nixon: That's good.

Colson: And we'll see how he comes out. He's—

President Nixon: [Unclear.] But you told him . . . yeah. So he knows we're watching.

Colson: Oh, yes.

President Nixon: Well, after all our ORC thing's published, too.

Colson: That's right.

President Nixon: So it keeps him a little bit honest.

Colson: He had seen that and then we discussed it in detail. He told me that he would call me over the weekend with his raw data and review it with me and that—

President Nixon: Right.

Colson: —and then what he will do is put that in the mail next Tuesday for—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Colson: —the following Monday's news stories. So we get the—the story on that one would come out two weeks from yesterday.

President Nixon: Yeah. Sure.

Colson: And I think it'll be good. If it isn't an up-tick, I think I can talk him out of publishing it.

President Nixon: [Laughs.] OK.

Colson: So, we'll stay on that. I also might report to you, because you asked me about it—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Colson: We've got the POW [prisoner of war] wives coming in. And—

President Nixon: Good.

Colson: Don Hughes has been doing a good job with these gals.4

President Nixon: I know. I know.

Colson: They did have a meeting with [Henry] Kissinger and it didn't come off quite as well as they would have liked, so we're going to—

President Nixon: Oh, it didn't?

Colson: Well, they—I think they got the feeling that he wasn't . . . Don can really relate to them.

President Nixon: Yeah. Then maybe you don't want—well, on the other hand . . .

Colson: No, I think what I—I think the—

President Nixon: You better—

Colson: I think it should be done, but Hughes—I'm arranging to have Hughes and Kissinger sort of do it together.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Colson: And Don is good at the hand-holding and Henry can—

President Nixon: Yeah. He was too blunt with them, then?

Colson: A little bit.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Colson: But I'll see that that comes about this week.

President Nixon: Yeah. Fine. Good. Good.

Colson: Thank you, Mr. [President]—


1 Charles W. Colson was a White House political operative. (↑)

2 John A. Scali was a communications adviser. Henry A. Kissinger was national security adviser. (↑)

3 Louis Harris was conducting a poll on reactions to the President's 7 April speech. (↑)

4 Lt. Gen. James D. “Don” Hughes was military assistant 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.