Wednesday, June 9, 1971 - 4:55pm - 5:00pm
Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Yeah.
White House Operator: [Chief Domestic Policy Adviser] Mr. [John D.] Ehrlichman returning your call, sir.
President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.
White House Operator: There you are.
John D. Ehrlichman: Hello?
President Nixon: Hi, John.
Ehrlichman: Yes, sir.
President Nixon: I talked to [Office of Management and Budget Director] George [Shultz], and George said that he was . . . wanted to get together with you or me and maybe [Treasury Secretary John] Connally, et cetera, do a little talking about budgets so that we could get some thinking with regard to these bills and so forth.
Ehrlichman: Mm-hmm. Right.
President Nixon: And John--”[White House Chief of Staff H.R.] Bob Haldeman had the idea that we weren't going to be ready for a week or so, but I got a different impression from George. Are we ready to have such a talk?
Ehrlichman: Well, I'm not so sure but what these may be two different things that we're talking about here. The thing that--”
President Nixon: No, he isn't talking about the--”he isn't talking about the July meeting. That's something else.
Ehrlichman: That's right.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: Now, the thing that we were talking to Bob [Haldeman] about this morning was putting on a full dress review--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: --”of the present posture of the '72 budget and setting our legislative strategy--”
President Nixon: Right.
Ehrlichman: --”based on that. Now that should take, I would guess, a half a day or so.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: I don't know but what this conversation with Connally might be something more immediate than that.
President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah. Well, we're going to have a Quadriad meeting, but that's something else. Along this, though, but--”would you want to have this full dress review of this before the San Clemente meeting?
Ehrlichman: That's right, because of the fact that we're going to get these two big bills down here in about two weeks.
President Nixon: Well, I might have that done in Maine when I go up there.
Ehrlichman: Well, that's fine, unless you want to just take the time off there.
President Nixon: Oh, I don't know. I could take off--”I can always use a half day anytime.
Ehrlichman: Well, that's up to you.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: We should figure on doing it--”
President Nixon: Maybe this week.
Ehrlichman: --”within two weeks or so.
President Nixon: Oh, I know. I see. Well, we could do it next week. First of next week, whenever you're ready. The other thing, though, John, I don't really want to look at that until you have done a little more thinking with regard to that proposition you were discussing about what creates jobs, you know.
Ehrlichman: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Well--”
President Nixon: And what does not create jobs.
Ehrlichman: Ah--”
President Nixon: I just called [Governor Ronald W.] Reagan [R-California] on the phone and told him that we were going to give him that contract and that we would be announcing it later, you know, and so forth, and that we'd want him to come if we had it in Washington or in San Diego--”
Ehrlichman: Yeah.
President Nixon: --”whatever the case may be. And he's delighted. But my point is that I think that . . . I think that--”that kind of analysis is necessary because, for example, one thing that Maury . . . that [Commerce Secretary] Maury Stans had been bugging Shultz on and I turned Stans down on was the $200 million for a . . . for a--”
Ehrlichman: A census.
President Nixon: --”a census.
Ehrlichman: Yeah.
President Nixon: No, goddamn it, that's one--”I mean we just can't . . . you've got to stop someplace.
Ehrlichman: Yeah. Yeah.
President Nixon: And . . .
Ehrlichman: Well, I had--”
President Nixon: Don't you agree?
Ehrlichman: --”I had--”
President Nixon: And I said . . . I put it straight to--”I told it straight to Shultz, I said, "How many jobs does it create?" and he said, "None."
Ehrlichman: Yeah.
President Nixon: Well, it doesn't create . . . if it created frankly 15,000 jobs, it's worth doing. But if it's just a question of costing a lot of money, to hell with it.
Ehrlichman: [Office of Management and Budget Director Caspar] Weinberger and I had [General Service Administration Director Robert] Kunzig in today--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: --”and we went over possible building projects with him.
President Nixon: Good.
Ehrlichman: And we're going to hear back from him shortly.
President Nixon: Well, there must be other things. There must be maybe some defense things we can do.
Ehrlichman: Right.
President Nixon: There must be other areas. But it's . . . I think everything must be oriented in that direction, and--”
Ehrlichman: Well, I would, I would say this--”
President Nixon: You won't be ready for that.
Ehrlichman: No, but I would say that this . . . the legislative strategy on what we do about accelerated public works and public service employment and military pay raise and these other things--”
President Nixon: Yeah . . . right. Yeah.
Ehrlichman: --”need not wait for this as long as we know that we're going to be able to do some job things as a collateral to the general statement you make about the budget--”
President Nixon: Yeah . . . yeah.
Ehrlichman: --”and the deficit and so on.
President Nixon: Well, just so I know there are some job things and where they're going to go.
Ehrlichman: Right. Well, I've got the whip to these fellows on this study, and we'll have it just the first minute we can.
President Nixon: Now, Kunzing isn't the only one that's got money, though, I mean--”
Ehrlichman: Oh, no.
President Nixon: --”Transportation's got money--”
Ehrlichman: Sure.
President Nixon: --”[Housing and Urban Development Secretary George] Romney's got money, all these people.
Ehrlichman: Well, and I'm gradually getting around to these fellows one by one.
President Nixon: Damn it. Right.
Ehrlichman: I'm going to have Romney over and we're going to . . . we're going to--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: --”go into this whole business of what we can do instead of building Afro-museums under Model Cities.
President Nixon: To hell with Afro-museums. By golly, don't put it in New York City [Ehrlichman laughs]. You know what I mean--”put it in Rochester.
Ehrlichman: Well, that's . . . and we've got--”
President Nixon: And I understand New York State's all right, but not, not . . . not where it isn't going to help us.
Ehrlichman: We've got pockets, and we've got to hit those pockets.
President Nixon: Hit the pockets. Exactly. There are pockets. And there are other places that aren't bad.
Ehrlichman: Right.
President Nixon: And . . . OK.
Ehrlichman: All right, sir.
President Nixon: Then you talk to Bob, then--”
Ehrlichman: I will. I'll call him right now.
President Nixon: I'm willing to do--”to have the meeting anytime.
Ehrlichman: OK.
President Nixon: I'll even meet, you know . . . well, you won't be ready Saturday, will you?
Ehrlichman: Well, I'll let you work that out with Bob--”
President Nixon: Well, I mean--”
Ehrlichman: --”on the time and place. We won't--”no, Saturday's too soon.
President Nixon: Fine. All right. Fine. Sometime next week.
Ehrlichman: Right.
President Nixon: Fine.

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