Wednesday, April 21, 1971 - 1:12pm - 1:13pm
Richard Nixon, John Dean
White House Telephone


President Nixon: Yeah.
Operator: The President, sir.
President Nixon: Yeah.
John Dean: Yes, sir.
President Nixon: I want to be sure—I talked to the attorney general [John N. Mitchell] this morning—[Chief Domestic Policy Adviser John D.] Erhlichman was here—
Dean: Mm-hmm.
President Nixon: —that nothing is done on these veterans. 1 Is that understood?
Dean: Absolutely. We have—
President Nixon: Now, is the word out that they are not to touch them? They're not—
Dean: Correct.
President Nixon: —to do a thing? And if you're asked any questions, just say, “Well it came too late,” or “They're only going be here a couple days,” or—how are you handling it?
Dean: My thought is that we don't know what the Supreme Court is going to do yet.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Dean: We have a meeting scheduled at 3:00 over in [Deputy Attorney General Richard G.] Kleindienst's office—
President Nixon: Right.
Dean: —to kick it around and to see what we can do to—
President Nixon: You just kick it around and kick it around and kick it around and don't—
Dean: [Unclear.]
President Nixon: —do a damn thing. Get a hold of the District police. They're not to touch them. They're to do nothing. Just let them raise hell.
Dean: I agree, and we will proceed accordingly.
President Nixon: OK. OK.
Dean: OK, sir.
1 The Interior Department had denied the Vietnam Veterans Against the War permission to encamp overnight on the National Mall for a week-long protest, but the VVAW set up camp and filed appeals that they ultimately took to the Supreme Court. (↑)

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