Thursday, June 17, 1971 - 8:21pm - 8:24pm
Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Yeah.

White House Operator: Congressman [Gerald R.] Ford [R-Michigan], sir.

President Nixon: Yeah.

White House Operator: There you are.

President Nixon: Hello?

Gerald Ford: Hi, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Well, the boys did very well today, didn't they?1

Ford: They sure did.

President Nixon: They came through in great style.

Ford: We lost, I think, 21 or 22, and we won by 98 votes, which is a better margin than we won on a comparable vote a year ago.

President Nixon: That's really great, Jerry. That's a marvelous job.

Ford: Our guys did real well.

President Nixon: Right, right.

Ford: So . . .

President Nixon: Well, that's really great, and that, with the Senate vote, is really very heartening.

Ford: Well, it ought to tell the enemy that all this division--”

President Nixon: Yeah.

Ford: --”is superficial rather than real.

President Nixon: Yeah, well, it also shows that the men that lead are not going to just follow polls and all the rest. They're going to stand up, and we're ready, you know, to negotiate from strength rather than division.

Ford: Well, our guys did a good job. And I think if you have the time, a call to [Rep. F. Edward] Eddie Hebert [D-Louisiana] would be very appropriate.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah, I see. Uhuh.

Ford: Because he, you know, led the fight, carried the bill and without his full cooperation we would have had trouble.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah. Ha! Yeah. I'll be sure--”I'll give him a call, yeah. Well--”

Ford: That was a good presentation this morning, I thought.

President Nixon: Well, I think we got them shook up a little on that.

Ford: Yeah.

President Nixon: And now our people should really ride this issue, you know, not in a partisan way, but we can make it our issue. After all, this is, and mainly, just to not let it just be zeroed in on Vietnam. It's a national issue, and it'll be here long after Vietnam, and we're going to fight the drug traffic.

Ford: Well, it'll have a big public response.

President Nixon: And because, as I put it, it's public enemy number one, let's just think of it that way and crack it.

Ford: That's right.

President Nixon: Right, right.

Ford: Now we've just got to win H.R. 1 and--”

President Nixon: [Laughs.]

Ford: --”[unclear] we'll take that up next week.2

President Nixon: Yeah, that's next. Well, the--”what do you think of all this hullabahoo about the New York Times? Isn't that the goddamnedest thing?

Ford: Well, I have mixed emotions in some respect. I'd just as soon--”

President Nixon: Oh, yeah.

Ford: --”they were published.

President Nixon: Yeah, I know, I know. It really exposes the other side, I understand.

Ford: But that's not right.

President Nixon: But as you know, what they did, though, they really are trafficking in stolen goods--”

Ford: Sure, that's--”

President Nixon: --”and hurting the country. Boy, I'll tell you, they lost me with that one.

Ford: Well, it doesn't do any of their people any good, including [Sen.] Hubert [Humphrey H.] [D-Minnesota], et cetera.3

President Nixon: Yeah, Hubert's really crawling, isn't he? [Laughs.]

Ford: I think we ought to just sit back, other than the legal issue--”

President Nixon: Yeah.

Ford: --”we should sit back and--”

President Nixon: Let them fight.

Ford: --”let them explain.

President Nixon: Yeah, right. OK, Jerry.

Ford: All right, thank you Mr. President.

President Nixon: Great, great.

Ford: OK, good night.


1 The House had defeated, 254--“158, a Vietnam withdrawal deadline. New York Times, 18 June 1971, --œHouse, Like Senate, Bards Deadline in Troop Pullout.-- (↑)

2 Ford was referring to the administration's welfare reform bill. (↑)

3 Humphrey had been Johnson's Vice President. (↑)

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