Tuesday, June 1, 1971 - 10:30pm - 10:34pm
Richard Nixon, John Mitchell
White House Telephone

President Nixon: [Coughs.] Hello?
White House Operator: The Attorney General, Mr. President.1
John N. Mitchell: Mr. President?
President Nixon: Hello.
Mitchell: I'm sorry that the Justice Department gives you so many tough questions.
President Nixon: [Laughs.] No, as a matter of fact I think that it was good that they tried to keep that subject up because--”
Mitchell: Oh--”
President Nixon: --”we're on the side of the angels there.
Mitchell: You know it. You rammed it home three times, and I thought it was great.
President Nixon: Well, you know, really, this certainly exposes the press for what they are, though. Those bastards, they don't care about keeping the government going. They don't care about the . . . you know, slashing the tires, or trashing all over the city, or stopping the traffic. The bastards only care about what are we going to do about these poor, innocent, little bastards that are down here to demonstrate against the war.
Mitchell: Oh, I know. It wouldn't go over great around the country. The thing that concerned me about this the most: They all had speeches to make [unclear] questions--”
President Nixon: [laughing] They sure did, didn't they?
Mitchell: They really did, and--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: --”it . . . I'm sure to everybody that viewed this thing tonight it was so visible, it must have had a tremendous reaction.
President Nixon: We hope so, yeah.
Mitchell: Well, I would think so. I'm--”Somehow or other, I think the [unclear] is going to have to that press corps [unclear] press conferences they don't [unclear], diatribe, public debate. They ought to limit it to questions. But--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: --”here they were again on the same old, tired, worn subject--”
President Nixon: Right.
Mitchell: --”they thought they were going to make brownie points on. I'm so glad that you got off the question what was--”what should have been said to the public, and I think the public accepted it.
President Nixon: Well, anyway. The . . . we ought to have a good meeting on Thursday with these people and try to get something positive out of that--”
Mitchell: Well, I'm sure it will be.
President Nixon: --”because we really want to get this law and order and the dope thing, too. That thing, I've tried to put that in a context, as you noticed, not of just of Vietnam--”
Mitchell: Yep.
President Nixon: --”but of the nation.
Mitchell: Right.
President Nixon: Because we just don't want to . . . That'd be a bad wicket for us to say that the problem is only dope in Vietnam, which is ridiculous.
Mitchell: Well, certainly that's very true because Vietnam is a long ways away and most people are interested in what's going on at home. And I hope--”
President Nixon: But there are only 200,000 left over there.
Mitchell: Yeah.
President Nixon: And there are millions here that are exposed to the damn dope traffic.
Mitchell: That's absolutely right, and I'm sure that [Executive Director of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control] Bud Krogh and the rest of them are working on it. All of our departments are working on these programs [unclear], so I think that will be a real plus factor when it comes.
President Nixon: Right.
Mitchell: Hopefully it won't be too long, because this has become a--”they've really generated press [unclear] perhaps rightly so, because this is a serious problem.
President Nixon: Oh! It's a terrible problem. I mean terrible. And I was glad to get across the point of not legalizing marijuana. I had said it earlier in California, but, by gosh, it's time for the country to know that we're not going to crap around with these people.
Mitchell: Well, Mr. President, the [coughs] the--”Every bit of evidence that comes along [unclear] of course I'm not sure on detail, but every bit of evidence that comes along points very hard to the thinking that hard narcotics addicts come from their experimentation and--”
President Nixon: Sure [coughs].
Mitchell: --”and I'm convinced [unclear].
President Nixon: Yeah. Well, as a matter of fact, you can say it's kind of like cigarettes and cancer. You cannot prove that cigarettes lead to cancer, but all the evidence shows that those who smoke cigarettes are more likely to get cancer than those that don't.
Mitchell: Well, I--”
President Nixon: And so it is with this damn thing.
Mitchell: I think it's even closer in this instance, I really do--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: --”because that kind of [unclear] results from it--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: --”and go on to bigger and bigger bang [unclear].
President Nixon: Sure, sure. Well, of course, marijuana is an escapist thing. So they escape into the bigger escape.
Mitchell: Yeah, right. After they've tried that for a while and they don't have the bang out of it, they go on to bigger and harder [Unclear.] of course, but . . .
President Nixon: Well, anyway, we'll have a little meeting . . . a good meeting on Thursday, I hope.
Mitchell: Well, one of the fascinating things [unclear] big meeting I had [unclear] true, they had [anchorman John W. ] Chancellor on NBC, and my daughter was almost complimentary--”
President Nixon: [Laughs.]
Mitchell: --”and, yeah, this surprised the hell out of me--”
President Nixon: Yeah [laughing].
Mitchell: --”because you know he must have known the questions they were going to ask.
President Nixon: Sure.
Mitchell: [Unclear.] loaded, but this is [unclear] was.
President Nixon: Yeah. Well . . .
Mitchell: What are you going to do?
President Nixon: Well, keep slugging 'em.
Mitchell: We will. You've done it to them again. As I said, I'm sorry the Justice Department has all these problems.
President Nixon: Well, that's all right. That's fine. Well, just so that they make a plus for us.
Mitchell: Yeah. What do you got on for housing [unclear]?
President Nixon: [Laughs.] We [unclear], we said we're going to make a statement. [Laughs.] Later. OK.
Mitchell: That's the way to go.
President Nixon: Fine. Bye.
Mitchell: So, good show. Bye.

1John N. Mitchell was the attorney general. ↑

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