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.
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. (↑)