Friday, June 4, 1971 - 2:24pm - 2:33pm
Richard Nixon, John Mitchell
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Yeah.
White House Operator: The attorney general, Mr. President.
President Nixon: Hello.
White House Operator: The President.
President Nixon: Hello.
John N. Mitchell: Yes, Mr. President?
NARA Excision
Category: Personal Returnable
Duration: 2m 6s
President Nixon: Well, on our operation yesterday, I was very pleased with it. I mean, I was . . . You know, the fact that they had this flap over [New York City Police Chief Patrick] Murphy just made it a hell of a lot bigger story than it otherwise would have been.1
Mitchell: I think that's absolutely true--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: --”and of course the stories are now coming over the wire today where the chiefs of police are defending the fact that there wasn't any necessity to have Murphy or this other character [International Association of Police Chiefs Executive Director Quinn] Tamm there.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: So they're still stepping up to bat.
President Nixon: Well, we couldn't have everybody, and, you know, the room only holds so many. And any event, I think the controlling factor was that Murphy had criticized the chief here. The hell with him. I mean, we're not going to--”
Mitchell: Absolutely, absolutely.
President Nixon: I'm not going to have him in the room, because we had unanimous opinion on that, and otherwise with Murphy there, we would have had a sourball.
Mitchell: Well, in addition, that would have been an insult to Jerry Wilson to bring him down here.
President Nixon: That's right, that's right.
Mitchell: And whether it was done in the city.
President Nixon: Well, he isn't considered, John, is he, to be a great chief up in New York?
Mitchell: No, no place.
President Nixon: Good heavens.
Mitchell: No place. He's just a lib politician. That's all he is.
President Nixon: That's right. And one of a . . . and one of [New York City Mayor John V.] Lindsay's . . . Of course isn't it--”what do you think of this running battle between Rocky [New York Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller] and Lindsay? Is that just going to go on, or is that just part of the scenario up there?
Mitchell: No, it's going to go on. And as soon as that legislature is out of there, I understand that Nelson [Rockefeller] is interested in taking some definitive steps, such as taking over some of the functions possibly, or--”
President Nixon: Mm-hmm.
Mitchell: --”possibly putting a commission like the old Seabury investigation in there to see what he's doing wrong. I think he's going to stay with it.
President Nixon: Mm-hmm.
Mitchell: Because it's going to makes him a lot more credible.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: Rockefeller has been refusing to meet Lindsay's state aid request for the reason that Lindsay is not properly administering the city and expending his monies properly.
President Nixon: Mm-hmm.
Mitchell: So in order to make that credible after he gets this through the legislature, I think he'll take further steps along some lines to prove this to be true.
President Nixon: That's good, good. As a matter of fact, from all accounts, and of course I guess [Dr. Kenneth W.] Riland is a fellow that colors my comments [chuckles], but I think Lindsay has just been a lousy mayor.2
Mitchell: Oh, he's terrible.
President Nixon: He's a demagogue, and a poor administrator, and a--”
Mitchell: What he has done, Mr. President, that has caused him so much trouble, he has gone into this liberal community. There is not a single city employee that is working for him that is worth a damn, all the good ones have up and gone.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Mitchell: And he has got in all these do-gooders that are trying to run budgets and administer departments, and it just isn't working.
President Nixon: The good employees have left? The good, tough--”
Mitchell: Yeah, they've all gone. And he had some good ones at the beginning. I helped him get some of them, but they've all packed out here a couple of years ago.
President Nixon: And what does he have, then, just a set of a bunch of . . . intellectuals, so-called, or what?
Mitchell: Well, yeah. Take his top man. This [Unclear.] is a liberal Democrat who is one of the--”
President Nixon: Oh, boy.
Mitchell: --”complete do-gooders, and that's been siphoned on down all through his administrative organization and his advisory commissions and so forth, and they just don't have anybody there that knows anything about municipal government, or how to manage it, or have even a desire to do the right things. In other words, I'll take care of this welfare element and the liberal establishment and to hell with the city's finances and how you administer a city.
President Nixon: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Good. Well, we'll--”
NARA Excision
Category: Personal Returnable
Duration: 9s
Mitchell: --”and John Lindsay is going to make a commencement address in New Hampshire this weekend.
President Nixon: Lindsay is?
Mitchell: Yeah.
President Nixon: That's nice.
Mitchell: He's got three speeches, I understand. He's having quite a bit of difficulty deciding which one he is going to use.
President Nixon: [Chuckles.] You know up--”you mean in New Hampshire?
Mitchell: Mm-hmm.
President Nixon: Yeah. He'll probably kick us on the war.
Mitchell: Undoubtedly that, but he's got one of them that is real hard, and then a middle of the roader and a lighter one, and it may give some indication as to what he's got in mind.
President Nixon: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Mitchell: He hasn't got very many places to go, but his people are still toying with it, looking around.
President Nixon: Mm-hmm.
NARA Excision
Category: Personal Returnable
Duration: 1m 37s

1The White House had held a conference the previous day on police killings. New York City Police Chief Patrick Murphy had complained that he was not invited, but the head of International Association of Police Chiefs, Quinn Tamm, said it was his understanding that police chiefs from other cities had been invited. "Murphy Not Invited to Talks on Police Slayings," 3 June 1971, New York Times. ↑

2Riland was a confidant of the President as well as of Governor Rockefeller. ↑

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