Tuesday, June 22, 1971 - 10:24pm - 10:30pm
Richard Nixon, Ronald Ziegler
White House Telephone

Editors' Note: The sound quality of this recording is poor.

President Nixon: Hello.

Ronald L. Ziegler: Hello.

President Nixon: Hi, [White House Press Secretary Ronald] Ron [Ziegler]?

Ziegler: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: Did you get your story out all right?

Ziegler: Yes, I think it’s fine. We made CBS with the [unclear].

President Nixon: Henry [Kissinger] talked to you [unclear].

Ziegler: Right, CBS used the part [unclear].

President Nixon: Be sure to hit that.

Ziegler: Seriously jeopardize the negotiations.

President Nixon: Right.

Ziegler: That line—

President Nixon: We want to lay the foundation on that because [unclear] negotiating track falls down we’ll put the blame right on these bastards.

Ziegler: Right.

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ziegler: Well, I was glad that [CBS Anchroman Walter] Cronkite got that on the end of the show as a quote tagged to the story. The wires moved that out, too. [Unclear] I can’t find—

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ziegler: Then we issued the H.R. 1 statement. That was a good victory.1

President Nixon: I didn’t hear about it.

Ziegler: Well, H.R. 1 passed the House.

President Nixon: What was the . . .

Ziegler: Two-eight-eight to one-thirty-five, which was a very good vote, including, you know, section four, which was the Social Security [unclear]. We issued a statement.

President Nixon: Good. Prediction’s looking pretty good in the House, at least.

Ziegler: Absolutely. [Unclear.]

President Nixon: Yeah, yeah. Somebody tonight [unclear] Murphy [unclear] of the coverage of Atlantic City [unclear]. What was it, do you know?

Ziegler: I don’t know specifically because at that time—

President Nixon: You didn’t see it?

Ziegler: No. I was, you know, trying to—

President Nixon: Check it in the morning and see if there’s [unclear].

Ziegler: Yes, sir. I will.

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ziegler: [Unclear] played it straight. I don’t know what that could have been. But I’ll check in the morning. I talked to [White House Speechwriter Patrick J.] Buchanan briefly about it, and he said Atlantic City played all right, but [unclear]. He didn’t have it at the time I talked to him.

President Nixon: [Unclear.] Well, the courts are keeping the damn thing alive, aren’t they?2

Ziegler: Right, both New York and Washington. They both delayed it.

President Nixon: [Unclear.] They’ve asked for some of the real secret stuff [unclear].

Ziegler: Right. [Unclear.]

President Nixon: They might want to turn that thing over. Well, if they uphold it on the right ground, the people could turn on this. If they uphold it on the ground that it would jeopardize national security, these papers aren’t going to look so good.

Ziegler: Well, I mentioned, and I think Bob’s [Haldeman] figures have been referred to today [unclear]. I think people out in the country are a lot more concerned about mishandling of Top Secret documents then they are about the reflections [unclear] whether [unclear].

President Nixon: And yet they want the Open Door to come out [unclear] question [unclear].

Ziegler: Well, I think there’s mixed reactions. But I think if you asked someone about handling Top Secret documents, their emotions are going go [unclear] handling of Top Secret documents. Because, you know, it’s quite a big thing when someone thinks [unclear] United States government, a Top Secret piece of paper. I think they automatically react negatively [unclear].

President Nixon: Did that thing, the British get any play at all?

Ziegler: I did not see that. It didn’t get any—

President Nixon: Try to see that [unclear] can’t get that written [unclear] some out-of-state columns tomorrow and so forth. Will you?

Ziegler: All right [unclear] tomorrow. Yes, sir.

President Nixon: [Unclear] [White House Political Operative Charles W.] Colson’s group. All right?

Ziegler: OK.


1 The administration’s welfare reform proposal had passed the House. New York Times, 23 June 1971, “House Approves Welfare Reform by 288–132 Vote.” (↑)

2 Nixon refers to court cases over the administration’s attempt to restrain the New York Times and the Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers. (↑)

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