004-050

Date: 
Monday, June 7, 1971 - 10:24am - 10:40am
Participants: 
Richard Nixon, Frank Fitzsimmons
Location: 
White House Telephone
Listen: 


President Nixon: [to White House Chief of Staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman] He said the bigger buildup for [Unclear.] . . .
White House Operator: Yes, sir.
President Nixon: Did you call?
White House Operator: I have [Teamsters President] Mr. [Frank E.] Fitzsimmons, sir. I reached him here in Washington.
President Nixon: Yeah.
White House Operator: The President.
President Nixon: Hello?
Frank E. Fitzsimmons: Hello.
President Nixon: Mr. President, I wanted to congratulate you!1
Fitzsimmons: Well, thank you, Mr. President.
President Nixon: I followed it in the papers, and apparently everything went very well. I kind of feel I had a prelude, because it seemed to me that you thought you were going to win when you were here in my office here.
Fitzsimmons: Yes, I had the same feeling I'm sure that you have right now.
President Nixon: How do the people . . . how do the members feel generally? Are they in pretty good spirits?
Fitzsimmons: Great.
President Nixon: Good, good. Right.
Fitzsimmons: I've had, oh, I would say at least 300 wires--”
President Nixon: Wonderful, wonderful.
Fitzsimmons: --”of congratulations and what not.
President Nixon: Good, good, good.
Fitzsimmons: Well, Mr. President, it's a great honor to be called.
President Nixon: Well, you know you're now a member of an exclusive club. A few of us [have] got to form a union! What do you think, huh?
Fitzsimmons: I'm ready!
President Nixon: All right. This is a union where there are no dues.
Fitzsimmons: That's right.
President Nixon: But a lot of obligations.
Fitzsimmons: Well, that's one of the unfortunate situations about this.
President Nixon: [Laughs.] Right. Well, congratulations, and you tell all the other members of the board I congratulate them.
Fitzsimmons: Well, thank you, Mr. President. And Mr. President, I talked to [Assistant Labor Secretary for Labor-Management Relations] Bill Usery as well as [Office of Management and Budget Director] George [Shultz].
President Nixon: Good. Good, good.
Fitzsimmons: I hope and pray that you can give us a few moments at the [Teamsters] Convention.
President Nixon: Where is that?
Fitzsimmons: We're holding it starting July the 5th in Miami, Florida, and we're holding it for five days there.
President Nixon: Oh. The 5th to the 10th?
Fitzsimmons: Yes.
President Nixon: Let me tell you, there's a major problem then, which is in . . . I'd do it in a minute except for the fact that I will be traveling at that point.
Fitzsimmons: Oh, goodness.
President Nixon: I can't tell you what, where, or anything, and you wouldn't want to know anyway. But if you were a week earlier or a week later, I could do it.
Fitzsimmons: Well . . .
President Nixon: But I know you can't change your convention.
Fitzsimmons: No, we can't.
President Nixon: Let me ask you to . . . of course next year is an election year, and that wouldn't be good. But is there any other kind of a meeting . . . would you be having a meeting of your executive board or anything that I could do?
Fitzsimmons: Yes, we will.
President Nixon: Well, I'll tell you what I'll do. Because I know I can't do this. Frankly, I got this--”I got something I can't tell you about. You won't hear about it for two weeks, but then you'll know that you and I talked about it. And you'll see the reason that I couldn't do it. But let me say that I'd like to come to the next meeting of your executive board, wherever it's--”you know, if it's convenient. How's that sound? Is that all right?
Fitzsimmons: That'd be wonderful.
President Nixon: And you can . . . and I will send a message to this if it would be worthwhile.
Fitzsimmons: I'd appreciate that.
President Nixon: And is there anybody else that you'd like to have from our side? That we could . . .
Fitzsimmons: Well . . .
President Nixon: Well, anyway . . .
Fitzsimmons: Let me say this . . .
President Nixon: Any other Cabinet officer?
Fitzsimmons: . . . let me talk to one or two of our people, and then I'll get back with Mr. [White House Aide George T.] Bell.
President Nixon: How about [Attorney General] John Mitchell? He's a pretty good fellow.
Fitzsimmons: As far as he is concerned . . .
President Nixon: He's a pretty good man.
Fitzsimmons: Yes, he is.
President Nixon: Strong man.
Fitzsimmons: Yes, he is.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Fitzsimmons: You know my feelings for John.
President Nixon: Yeah, yeah. Darn it, I just . . . you know, I'd just love to do this. It's the only time that the first--”I'll tell you, from about the 4th of July until the 14th, I'm dead. And that's just one of those things.
Fitzsimmons: Some things happen.
President Nixon: Right, right.
Fitzsimmons: Things happen.
President Nixon: Right. Well, we'll send a message. And second, I'll come to your next executive board meeting if it's a time when we could both work it out. Fair enough?
Fitzsimmons: Let me . . . maybe I can get our schedule of it before we actually set it and then maybe we could adjust our schedule to yours.
President Nixon: Right, right, sure. If you could do that that'd be great.
Fitzsimmons: All right.
President Nixon: See, my problem is that between the July-August-September and so forth is a difficult time for me. But if it fits in the right periods, I can do it. Like I'm going to do the VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] Convention in August.
Fitzsimmons: Yeah.
President Nixon: But I'm just flipping out there, and then I have to take another trip. OK?
Fitzsimmons: Let's do it that way.
President Nixon: Fine.
Fitzsimmons: Well, thanks, Mr. President.
President Nixon: All right.
Fitzsimmons: My pleasure [Unclear.].
President Nixon: Well, congratulations, and good luck.
Fitzsimmons: Thank you very much.
President Nixon: Bye.
Fitzsimmons: Bye-bye.

1Fitzsimmons had been elected president of the Teamsters Union following the announced by Jimmy Hoffa, then in prison, that he would not seek reelection. ↑

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