Tuesday, April 20, 1971 - 4:04pm - 4:07pm
Richard Nixon, George Mahon
White House Telephone


President Nixon: [House Appropriations Committee Chairman George H.] Mahon [D-Texas]. Hello?

Operator: Yes, I have Congressman George Mahon.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: Mr. President.

President Nixon: Hello?

George Mahon: Mr. President.

President Nixon: Hi, George, how are you?

Mahon: Fine.

President Nixon: Fine. I don't want to bother you. I'm sitting here talking to [Agriculture Secretary] Cliff Hardin and [Office of Emergency Preparedness Director] Abe Lincoln. They're going down tomorrow to your country.

Mahon: Yes.

President Nixon: And they've got all the—they're going to—the authority they're going over down to talk to [Treasury Secretary] John Connally to see what further thing he has to report. They told me they'd invited you. You couldn't go. But I want you to know they're going to look at the thing and there's—anything the law allows, we're going to do.

Mahon: I think . . . I appreciate your calling, Mr. President. We are so involved that I didn't plan to go down—

President Nixon: Right.

Mahon: —particularly since they don't feel it's necessary to stop in my area at Lubbock, and I don't either.

President Nixon: Well, they're not going to stop at Lubbock?

Mahon: No, no.

President Nixon: Oh.

Mahon: They're going to stop at Amarillo.

President Nixon: Amarillo. I see.

Mahon: And [Representative] Bob Price [R-Texas] is going with them, which I think is very—

President Nixon: Price is—yeah that's the other. That's fine.

Mahon: Now, here is the thing: I don't think we ought to let my Texas friends stampede us on these matters.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.

Mahon: [with President Nixon assenting] We have not had rain for a long time, but we had a pretty general rain, and this may be the beginning of more rain. And I don't want to be talking against doing anything we properly can.

President Nixon: I understand. Well, what we're not doing, George—we cannot declare it a disaster area due—

Mahon: If you declare it a major disaster area, that's just going a little too far.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah. Well, what will happen, then, we'll have to declare Southern California, Florida—

Mahon: Yeah.

President Nixon: —and [chuckles] perhaps Arizona.

Mahon: Oh, yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: And you see, and then you're triggering, of course, unemployment insurance and a lot of other things that are very, very serious.

Mahon: Oh, yes. [with President Nixon assenting] Well, I think that—if—I believe that that Cliff and Abe ought to be interested and show concern and all that, but not over-commit us because—

President Nixon: Right. They're going to commit for everything short of a major disaster.

Mahon: Yes, I think that's fine.

President Nixon: In other words, loans and grain and all that sort of thing.

Mahon: And transportation.

President Nixon: Hay, to the extent we can find it. There's no hay in the country, though, I understand.

Mahon: That's a real problem.

President Nixon: Right.

Mahon: But if this—we have a little more rain—they'll begin to—what we haven't wanted to do was see the cattle market break.

President Nixon: Right.

Mahon: And this drought is going to help postpone any break in the cattle market, and some feed can be found. Not enough, I'm sure.

Mr. President, I appreciate you calling me and I'm really grateful that you're—

President Nixon: Right. Good, good, all right.

President Nixon: They say, incidentally, they could stop at Lubbock if you want them to.

Mahon: Well, no, I just don't think it's necessary.

President Nixon: All right. Fine. Good.

Mahon: It would be very inconvenient for me to try and go and I wouldn't want them to go unless I was there.

President Nixon: Swell. All right, swell. Well, anyway, I just wanted you to know we were thinking about you.

Mahon: You're always most kind.

President Nixon: Fine. All right.

Mahon: OK.

President Nixon: Thank you. Goodbye.

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