Wednesday, June 23, 1971 - 3:48pm - 3:49pm
Richard Nixon, Ronald Ziegler
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Yeah.

White House Operator: [White House Press Secretary] Mr. [Ronald L.] Ziegler. Ready.

Ronald L. Ziegler: Hello.

President Nixon: Hello.

Ziegler: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: How’d you get along? Get out that story all right?

Ziegler: Yes, sir. It seems to be moving well.

President Nixon: Fine. Fine. Yeah. Good.

Ziegler: And Defense has issued a statement this afternoon, too, indicating the fact [Defense Secretary Melvin R.] Laird is working it out with congressional leaders in a way that will maintain full security of the documents, so it doesn’t compromise any of the court proceedings.1

President Nixon: Right. Good. Good. Good.

Ziegler: But I think it moved as we had discussed.

President Nixon: And the main thing is to just keep our—be sure it doesn’t appear to be a defensive reaction on our part, that we have just—

Ziegler: I made it clear. I was asked the question, “Well, it appears that the President made this decision after the vote last night.”2 I said—I came back very quickly—I said “No, as a matter of fact, the President made this decision in Key Biscayne over the weekend. Period.”

President Nixon: Yeah. That’s right.

Ziegler: So it doesn’t seem that we’re reacting to any one event or anything particularly.

President Nixon: No.

Ziegler: You made it over the weekend in Key Biscayne, because you didn’t want confusion to exist in the minds of the Congress.

President Nixon: Yeah, well, we couldn’t have set up a breakfast that soon anyway.

Ziegler: That’s right, and you—

President Nixon: Right. OK.

Ziegler: Full assessment. I think, Mr. President, what the gentleman last night at the dinner was referring to in terms of the—he indicated a negative report.1 The news stories were very positive—

President Nixon: Yeah, yeah.

Ziegler: —I think on the AMA [American Medical Association]. I think what he’s referring to, NBC did a piece about the AMA attitudes toward—

President Nixon: Reform?

Ziegler: —health reform and so forth.

President Nixon: Oh, yeah. Well—

Ziegler: But it did not relate to your visit at all. I think that’s probably what he referred to.

President Nixon: Well, I would expect that, yeah. That’s all right. Fine. OK.

Ziegler: OK, sir, bye.


1 The White House had agreed to give Congress a copy of the Pentagon Papers study. (↑)

2 The Senate had voted to require the President to bring the troops home from Vietnam within nine months in return for release of American prisoners of war. (↑)

  • 1. Nixon had spoken the previous day to the American Medical Association in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

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