043-161

Date: 
Wednesday, February 21, 1973 - 8:10pm - 8:30pm
Participants: 
Richard Nixon, Billy Graham
Location: 
White House Telephone
Listen: 


President Nixon: Hello?

Operator: Reverend [Billy] Graham.

President Nixon: Hello?

Billy Graham: Hello, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Well, Billy, I've been having a little trouble reaching you.

Graham: Oh, my. Well, I apologize. I've been traveling all over the place.

President Nixon: Yes. I tried you in California, and you'd just left or started or something.

Graham: That's right, and I'm terribly sorry.

President Nixon: Fine.

Graham: I would return the call; they said you'd be in a meeting or someplace.

President Nixon: Yeah. Well, how have you been? You--

Graham: I'm just fine.

President Nixon: Fine.

Graham: Thank you, sir.

President Nixon: And you're back at your home now, huh?

Graham: Yes, I've arrived back. I've only spent four days at home since New Year's.

President Nixon: Oh, my.

Graham: I went down after the inauguration, and after President [Lyndon B.] Johnson's funeral, I went down to Caneel Bay for a couple of weeks and had a nice rest there.1

President Nixon: Oh, yeah.

Graham: And then I went to California.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.

Graham: I came home today because my only aunt is dying of cancer, and I wanted to see her before she slips into a coma.

President Nixon: Of course. Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Graham: Well, how are you?

President Nixon: Just fine, just fine.

Graham: I want to congratulate you on everything. I think that these prisoners [of war] coming back has just set a whole new mood in the country.2 And I think that your determination and perseverance and--my father-in-law told me today--I just talked to him when I came in--he said, "Tell the President if you talk to him that I was wrong and he was right."

President Nixon: Well, of course, there was no--

Graham: [Unclear] himself publicly.

President Nixon: There was no way for him or anybody else to know why he had to do what we did. But it was the only way to--as we--to prick the boil, you know. We had to get these people to come to terms, and that did it.

Graham: Well, you showed tremendous courage, and you never wavered and now the whole world--my son, who's in college, 21 years of age, and he was telling me, he said there's a whole new respect for you on the campuses.

President Nixon: Is that right? Yeah.

Graham: And he said that a lot of people that--he said they don't know what you're going to do next. They said, "Boy," he said, "that Nixon is some President." And Franklin [Graham] says you're the greatest President that we've ever had in the history of America. [Nixon chuckles.] And I believe it. I believe it's really tremendous.

President Nixon: Well, we got--

Graham: I believe the Lord is with you. I really do.

President Nixon: Yeah. You know, we've got--we've still got the problems. Wasn't that a horrible thing thing, those Israelis shooting down that plane?3

Graham: Especially with [Israeli Prime Minister Golda] Meir coming.

President Nixon: I've just been raising the devil about that because, I mean, it was so stupid. It was so stupid. I mean to shoot down an unarmed [Boeing] 707, good heavens. I mean, that's worse than what they did at the Olympics on the other side.4

Graham: Well, this'll be an embarrassment for her coming here next week, won't it?5

President Nixon: Well, I think it is, yes. But on the other hand, that's going to be her embarrassment, not ours. We didn't do it.

Graham: Right.

President Nixon: But we have to have her, of course. And she's--I've urged the Israelis, of course, privately, that they ought not only to express condolences but to indicate that they're going to pay reparations for this.6 They've just got to do it.

Graham: Absolutely.

President Nixon: They've just--a terrible thing to have happen, because--

Graham: Things seemed to be moving just a little bit better, at least from what I read.

President Nixon: Yes, and then--bing--they do this.

Graham: And here [Egyptian President Anwar El] Sadat was moving a little bit to the right, it seemed to me.

President Nixon: Yes. Now this will force him over again.

Graham: That's right. It sure will.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Graham: He'll have to listen to these extremists on the left.

President Nixon: Yeah. It'll probably stir up for a few days. I don't know. But anyway, we're not going to be--we can't be blamed for what everybody does, but I must--with Mrs. Meir, we're going to have to talk pretty straight to her about this sort of thing when she's here.

Graham: Well--

President Nixon: Now the Israelis, you see, what they do with a thing like this is they lose all of the support that they have in the world, you know.

Graham: That's right.

President Nixon: We're their only friends, anyway, you know. No other country is their any more. And now this just raises the--oh, it's just terrible.

Graham: Well, you see, there's two other points. One is the front page of papers over the weekend carried the story that they're talking about expelling all Christians from Israel.7

President Nixon: Oh, isn't that nice?

Graham: And then the second point is that the Jews in this country are just raising a big--in speech after speech. Now, for example, this morning the front page of the Atlanta Constitution, its third major story on the front page was a rabbi denouncing what is called Key 73. Key 73 is the combination of all the major [Christian] denominations in the United States, including most Roman Catholics, for the first time joining together in an evangelistic effort. And they are damning Campus Crusade and damning so forth and [American Jewish Committee Director of Inter-religious Affairs Director] Rabbi [Mark] Tannenbaum is coming down here to see me this week about it.8 And of course, they're never calling my name because they know--

President Nixon: You're their friend.

Graham: I've been their friend, and they know that. But at the same time they are going right after the church, and there's a great deal of feeling beginning to rise in areas where they've had great friendship.

President Nixon: What'll happen now to this if they don't, you know--what I really think is that deep down in this country there is a lot of anti-Semitism, and all this is going to do is stir it up.

Graham: It's right under the surface and--

President Nixon: Oh, boy.

Graham: --right to the top.

President Nixon: That's right. Well, anyway--but I must say that in terms of the other things that nobody could have ever anticipated, that those great fellows in the POW [Prisoner of War]--how they would handle themselves, you know. They did it all on their own. Nobody planned it. They just came off there with their heads high. And if we hadn't ended the war in the right way, you know, with the--they wouldn't have come out that way. If, for example, we had done what so many were urging--just get out of the war--in other words, we withdraw if they give us our prisoners--they'd come down with their heads down.

Graham: Well, they surely would. And they came off those planes saluting and saying, "God Bless America" and "God Bless Nixon." It was tremendous. I told my son tonight--I hadn't seen him in quite a while--and I told him--he's 21--that I'm not very emotional, but I really cried when I saw those people.

President Nixon: Yeah. Well--

Graham: I just bawled--

President Nixon: I think the whole nation did, actually, yeah.

Graham: It was just a tremendous experience for this country. You know, the country, Mr. President, needed some heroes.

President Nixon: Exactly.

Graham: It got 'em. And if they don't get exploited now and the high pressure promoters use them and--

President Nixon: That's right.

Graham: The bad stories start coming out when they have to face problems at home. But--

President Nixon: Well, there will be some of that, but we won't exploit them, of course. We're going to wait 'til they all get back before we even have them here at the White house. But then we will.

Graham: Well, they deserve it, and they're a marvelous group of people. And it has brought a whole new wave of support in a very unique way to you because people say, "Well, he was right." In a very dark moment in December [1972] you were right, and they're going to trust you the next time in a way that they didn't in the past. And I think that you've got a tremendous groundswell of support for you.

Did you get a copy of the letter that I wrote to [Senator] Mark Hatfield [R-Oregon]?

President Nixon: Yes, I did. [both chuckle] I was--I, of course, I didn't get particularly stirred up about his comments.9 I just thought it was rather bad taste.

Graham: Well, it hurt him.

President Nixon: I thought a lot of people thought he was quite a bit out of line on that. No grace, no, you know--

Graham: Oh, it was terrible. I sat there so embarrassed, I didn't know what to do. And when he sat back down, I turned to him. I said, "Mark," I said, "I want to talk to you about that talk."

President Nixon: Did you?

Graham: [with Nixon acknowledging] And he didn't say anything, and I hadn't heard from him, so I wrote him a letter and told him that I just felt that it would've been a wonderful thing if he had turned to you and said, "Mr. President, thank you for getting us this ceasefire."

President Nixon: Yeah. And he didn't do it.

Graham: Instead of getting up [and] talking about the sins and so forth. It really was terrible.

President Nixon: Well, he's a strange fellow sometimes, isn't he?

Graham: I don't understand him. He is the big disappointment in political life--

President Nixon: He's playing--

Graham: --[unclear] politics that I've known.

President Nixon: What he's doing is, I think, unfortunately, playing to the radical groups on the campus and the rest, and he doesn't realize that they passed him by now.

Graham: Well, they're in the past. That was proven in [George] McGovern.10

President Nixon: That's right. And here he is still, you know, pandering to that group, which is very unfortunate.

Graham: [with Nixon acknowledging] Yes, but to use a platform like that in your presence at a Presidential prayer breakfast which we leaned over backwards all these years to keep non-political, and to get up and do a thing like that was just inexcusable. And if he has any part in it next year, I don't intend to go.

President Nixon: [Laughing] Well I won't, either.

Graham: [with Nixon acknowledging] I told Doug Coe already about it.11 And Doug, of course, is very close. And you know the interesting thing about it is that [Senator] Harold Hughes [D-Iowa] is getting deep into this prayer breakfast thing and he goes to every single meeting. He's on every committee, and pretending to be, you know, a great Christian. And in my judgment there's something wrong, because the night that [Senator John C.] Stennis [D-Mississippi] was shot they asked me to come to a prayer meeting in the prayer chapel in the Senate--in the Capitol.

President Nixon: Right.

Graham: And Harold Hughes was there, and Mark Hatfield was there, and when Harold Hughes started to pray--he was going to pray out loud--he said that he could not pray because he had such hatred in his heart for you.

Nixon chuckles.

Graham: And so he really did, to his credit, he said, "Oh, God, forgive me." He said, "I want this out of my heart because," he said, "he's my President." And he went through this tremendous, strange experience in [unclear].

President Nixon: Yeah.

Graham: For me it was strange. And I just--

President Nixon: One of the problems is, Billy, with these people like Hughes and Hatfield, too, is it's a very personal thing with them. They were--they proved to be wrong on the war and now they just hate to give up. That's really what's part of it, don't you think?

Graham: And a lot of them--they hate to give up, but they also, some of them, hated that you were the one that got the thing [the war] over with.

President Nixon: Yeah, because they had been condemning it so much and said everything we were doing was wrong and then when it proved to be right then it's proved they were wrong, you see? You see?

Graham: Well, we're--all of your friends like me, we're just so proud and thrilled, and you just think back four years ago, where this country was and how far you've taken us. It's tremendous.

President Nixon: Yeah. Well, you're feeling pretty good, are you?

Graham: I'm feeling great and--

President Nixon: Fine.

Graham: [The President's secretary] Rosie [Mary Woods] talked to me about the possibility of coming to the dinner for [Israeli Prime Minister] Mrs. [Golda] Meir. I don't know whether you know that they were inviting us, but I don't know whether we should--whether you want us or not.

President Nixon: Oh, sure. Sure. You should come.

Graham: The dinner, but of course if we're invited, we'll be honored to come.

President Nixon: Sure. This incident, I don't think, is going to change that. I think we we just have to go forward. We're going to have the dinner; we have to. And I think your coming would be the right thing to do. Right?

Graham: It might be because of this religious situation that's coming up in the country.

President Nixon: Right, but I would be very, very tough with all of our Jewish friends in here, like Tannenbaum. You tell him he's making a terrible mistake and that they're going to get the darnedest wave of anti-Semitism here if they don't behave.

Graham: Well, that's exactly right and Mark Tannenbaum is probably the most outspoken and the most listened-to rabbi in America.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Graham: And he's going to come down here this week. And he wrote a letter to the New York Times defending me a few days ago. And he--I think if we can swing him over to make some strong statements, it'll have a great effect.

President Nixon: Right.

Graham: He's certainly one of the cleverest and most brilliant of the rabbis.

President Nixon: Right. Right.

Graham: And it was very much for you this past time. You know we tried to get him to lead the prayer--

President Nixon: I know.

Graham: --at the Republican Convention. But he felt he couldn't go quite that far.

President Nixon: No. Well, the thing that you've really got to emphasize to him though, Billy, is this: anti-Semitism is stronger than we think, you know. They just--it's unfortunate, but this has happened to the Jews. It happened in Spain, it's happened in Germany, it's happening--and now it's going to happen in America if these people don't start behaving.

Graham: Well, you know, I told you one time that the Bible talks about two kinds of Jews. One is called "the synagogue of Satan."12 They're the ones putting out the pornographic literature. They're the ones putting out these obscene films.

President Nixon: Like the thing in Time magazine.13

Graham: Terrible.

President Nixon: And then Newsweek.14

Graham: Ruth [Graham] canceled both of them.

President Nixon: Good for her.

Graham: We won't take Time or Newsweek.15

President Nixon: I'll tell you it's a disgraceful thing. And I think, really, they don't deserve to live.

Graham: And for Time to come out the week of your inauguration with that thing was so--

President Nixon: That's right.

Graham: --unbelievable.

President Nixon: Yeah. And that's the first time they ever covered an inauguration without having it on the cover.16

Graham: And [the late Time/Life publisher] Henry Luce would turn over in his grave.

President Nixon: I'll say he would. I'll say, well--

Graham: And they're going to go the same that Life went.17

President Nixon: They will unless they start shaping up.

Graham: I was talking to [New York Stock Exchange Chairman and Republican campaign contributor Bernard] Bunny Lasker. He was down there taking a vacation while we were, and he was telling me about the great amount of advertising that Time has lost over the thing.

President Nixon: They really have.

Graham: That's what he said.

President Nixon: Well, they deserve it. They deserve it. The advertisers ought to be sick about this sort of thing.

Graham: Well, I saw you walked over to Trader Vic's--that's where I eat in Washington--had a nice time.

President Nixon: It's a wonderful place. Yeah. They're so nice, all those people. And the--

Graham: And I saw you riding around with Jackie Gleason.18 That was great.

President Nixon: Yeah. We had a great reception in South Carolina, too. That was--

Graham: Oh, yes. It's on the front page of every paper here [unclear].

President Nixon: Those people are--they were great down there, of course. That's good country. Good country.

Graham: This has become Nixon country down through here.

Both chuckle.

President Nixon: Well, we'll see you then next--is it Wednesday or Thursday? I guess Thursday.

Graham: Thursday I believe she told me.

President Nixon: Thursday, I guess. Right. The first [of March]. Well, we'll try to make her--we'll let her feel all right, but boy, I'll tell you, privately, we've got to be very strong with these people.

Graham: I'm going to have a real hair-letting with Rabbi Tannenbaum and find out exactly--and he, I think, basically, is our friend. And I want--

President Nixon: You could point out this: that there's nothing that I want to do more than to be, I mean, not only a friend of Israel, but a friend of Jews in this country, but that I have to turn back a terrible tide here if they don't get ahold of it themselves. And it's up to them.

Graham: And they better understand it and understand it quick.

President Nixon: Because there are elements in this country, you know, not just the Birchers but a lot of reasonable people that are now getting awful sick of it.19

Graham: They really are.

President Nixon: Don't you think so?

Graham: In the church, too. I think what has happened in the church in the last two months is almost--they've almost--these denominational leaders--I'm amazed. They are shaken by all this, because they have been so pro-Jewish.

President Nixon: Sure.

Graham: And the people that have been the most pro-Israel are the ones that are being attacked now by the Jews. And then to come out--

President Nixon: Can't figure it out.

Graham: --they're going to kick all Christians out of Israel is unbelievable.

President Nixon: Can't figure it out. Can't figure it out. Well, it may be they have a death wish, you know. That's been the problems with our Jewish friends for centuries.

Graham: Well, they've always been, through the Bible at least, God's timepiece and He has judged them from generation to generation, and yet used them, and they've kept their identity.

President Nixon: Yeah. Right.

Graham: And one of the things they're terribly afraid of is so many of these Jewish young people are turning away from Judaism.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Graham: They're turning away from Jewishness. They say they're remaining Jews, but they're becoming followers of Jesus. Well, that's just scaring them to death. You see--

President Nixon: [laughs] I see.

Graham: --they've set up all over the country these "Jews for Jesus" at the various universities.

President Nixon: Good.

Graham: They said they're remaining Jews, but they believe that Jesus was treated wrongly. And this is frightening Jewish leaders, and they're overreacting in this country. I'm talking about the rabbis.

President Nixon: Oh, I know. Sure. Sure. The professional Jews. But they're like the Episcopalians. They're losing any appeal to their own people.

Graham: Some time when I have--when you have a few minutes--I want to tell you a plan for organizing on a world scale, a counterpart to the World Council of Churches.

President Nixon: Boy, good.

Graham: Just for your knowledge, we're having a conference next summer in Lausanne with 4,000 world leaders--

President Nixon: Good.

Graham: --church leaders, bishops and so forth, that are sick and tired of the World Council.20

President Nixon: Well, you know, [Eugene] Carson Blake and these people have been--well, they're so totally overboard, you know, on everything that is decent. I mean, they do it in the name of pacifism and the rest, but they're really so close to the Communists it's unbelievable.21

Graham: Well, they are, and they say nothing against the Communists, ever.22

President Nixon: Never. Never. I know.

Graham: Always against us. It's against South Africa, it's against Greece, and so forth.

President Nixon: That's right. They say--

Graham: You can just--their stuff seems to be written on that side of the coun[try]--world.

President Nixon: Written right out of Moscow.

Graham: It sure does.

President Nixon: Right.

Graham: And just as you have changed the political picture, we hope to change the religious picture.

President Nixon: Well, listen, I'm all for it and--

Graham: It's going to be a bombshell when it comes.

President Nixon: When do you--That's going to be in the summer?

Graham: Next--summer after--in [19]74. We're going to have at least half of the Anglican Church, the Anglican world, with us from Britain.

President Nixon: Good.

Graham: We will have a third of the German Lutheran[s]. We will have the great majority of the American church.

President Nixon: Will you?

Graham: We'll have 90 percent of the Latin church. We'll have 75 percent of the Far Eastern church. And we're going to have--and we'll be better financed.

President Nixon: Now, what about the Catholics?

Graham: We don't know. They're going to come in great numbers as observers.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Graham: So far they would not be able to participate and--

President Nixon: Yeah.

Graham: You know, the Southern Baptists and groups like that wouldn't [unclear]--

President Nixon: Yeah. The trouble is that--

Graham: They couldn't, anyway.

President Nixon: The difficulty, too--the Catholics had better shape up a bit, too, or they're going to be losing their stroke because--

Graham: Oh, they're as divided as the Protestants.

President Nixon: You know, they're spilt right down the middle. They sure are. You've got the good guys like, you know, [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President John Cardinal] Krol in Philadelphia and [Military Vicar for Roman Catholics in the Armed Forces Terence Cardinal] Cooke in New York.23 And then there's this bad wing, that is, the Jesuits are just--who used to be the conservatives have become the all-out, barn-burning radicals.

Graham: I think quite a bit, by the way, of that fellow you've got working for you, [Father John J.] McLaughlin.

President Nixon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. The priest, yeah.24 He's good. You know, he's sort of a convert to our side. He came in a total, all-out peacenik--

Graham: [Unclear] about it.

President Nixon: --and then he went to Vietnam and changed his mind.

Graham: I'd never met him until I was over at our prayer breakfast over at the White House about a month ago.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.

Graham: He invited me up to his office, and I went over and spent about an hour with him.

President Nixon: He's a very capable fellow, bright as a tack. Well, anyway, we'll see you then on the first [of March].

Graham: Well, thank you, sir. I appreciate you calling.

President Nixon: Tell Ruth [Graham] we look forward to seeing her.

Graham: OK.

President Nixon: All right.

Graham: God bless you.

President Nixon: Bye.

Graham: Bye.

  • 1. Graham had spoken at the graveside service for the late President on 25 January 1973. New York Times, 26 January 1973, "Johnson Buried at Texas Ranch." Caneel Bay is a luxury beach resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the island of St. John.
  • 2. American POWs were starting to return from North Vietnam under the settlement the President had negotiated with Hanoi.
  • 3. On February 22, 1973, Israeli fighter jets shot down a Libyan airliner, killing 106 passengers. The head of the Israeli air force said that the passenger plane had flown over a secret base in Sinai, which was then occupied by Israel. "Israel: Didn't Mean to Shoot It Down," Washington Post, 23 February 1973.
  • 4. Terrorists murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. According to the Israeli government, its fighter jets fired on the Libyan airliner after its pilot had acknowledged warnings, "but had nonetheless ignored them." "Israelis Down a Libyan Airliner in the Sinai, Killing at Least 74; Say It Ignored Warnings to Land," 22 February 1973, New York Times. An Israeli pilot said he had exchanged hand signals with the airliner pilot, tipped his wings in an internationally recognized signal for the pilot to follow him, and fired warning shots before shooting at the airliner's wing to force it to land, not to destroy it. "Israeli Deplores Tragedy," 23 February 1973, New York Times. Libya's Minister of Information called the incident "premeditated mass murder." "Libyan Cabinet Minister Calls Downing of Airliner Deliberate," 25 February 1973, New York Times. After checking the airliner's "black box" flight recorder, the Israeli government said the Libyan pilot had flown off course, believed he was over Egypt and therefore thought the Israeli jets were Egyptian MiGs. "Israel Corroborates Egypt on Downing," 24 February 1973, New York Times.
  • 5. Israel's Prime Minister met with Nixon on 1 March 1973. "Nixon Assures Mrs. Meir of Aid," 2 March 1973, Washington Post.
  • 6. A few days later, the Israeli government announced plans to make humanitarian payments to the victims' families. "Israel to Pay Jet Victims' Kin," 26 February 1973, Washington Post.
  • 7. According to the 16 February 1973, Chicago Tribune, "A government source today said Israel may bar the work of many or all of the 1,000 Christian missionaries in the country because too many Jews have abandoned their faith." The source said "adoption of such a proposal is almost a foregone conclusion." ("Christian Missionary Ban Eyed in Israel") The report was greatly exaggerated, but the "Jews for Jesus" movement had become controversial in Israel. Rabbi Meir Kahane, head of the militant Jewish Defense League, threatened violence, and copies "of the New Testament were destroyed in an attack on a Christian bookshop." "Christian Missionaries Pose Israeli Dilemma, Especially 'Jews for Jesus' Movement," 26 February 1973, Los Angeles Times.
  • 8. With the slogan of "Calling Our Continent to Christ," Key 73 raised fears among some American Jews of "denigrating images of Judaism" and "unbridled proselytization of Jews." But the American Jewish Committee issued a report soon after this phone call concluded saying that Key 73 had yielded a "decidedly positive response on the part of many Christian leaders" and clarified that the multi-denominational evangelical drive would "'reach the unchurched,' not those already having a meaningful faith." "Jewish Group Calls Christian Drive 'Positive,'" 2 March 1973, Washington Post; "High Pitch, Low Key," 14 January 1974, Time.
  • 9. "Today, our prayers must begin with repentance," Senator Mark O. Hatfield, R-Oregon, said at the 1 February 1973, National Prayer Breakfast. "Individually, we must seek forgiveness for the exile of love from our hearts. And corporately, as a people, we must turn in repentance from the sin that has scarred our national soul." "'Beware Misplaced Allegiance,'" 2 February 1973, Washington Post.
  • 10. Senator George S. McGovern, D-South Dakota, the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee who led congressional efforts to force Nixon to bring the troops home from Vietnam faster than the President's election-oriented timetable allowed, had lost to Nixon in a landslide.
  • 11. Doug Coe headed the Fellowship Foundation, sponsor of the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
  • 12. Graham uses a phrase from the King James Bible's translation of the Book of Revelation 2:9: "I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." It is a favorite passage of anti-Semites, and what Graham may have meant by the phrase or his subsequent reference to Jews as "God's timepiece" has been the subject of discussion, speculation and debate since the recording of this conversation was released on 23 June 2009. Historian Steven Miller, author of Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), attempted to provide some context in the Religion in American History blog, http://usreligion.blogspot.com/2009/06/billy-graham-nixon-and-jews-as-go....
  • 13. The 22 January 1973 issue of Time had a cover story on Bernardo Bertolucci's newest movie, Last Tango in Paris, reporting, "It has been called a 'pornographic Elvira Madigan' as well as a work of 'constant beauty'; a piece of 'talented debauchery that often makes you want to vomit' as well as an 'authentic moral and psychological Apocalypse.'" Bertolucci was raised Catholic, not Jewish.
  • 14. Newsweek, like Time, also ran a cover story on Last Tango in Paris.
  • 15. Time's editor-in-chief was Henry Grunwald, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. Newsweek's editor in chief, Osborn Elliott, described himself as "a WASP from the Upper East Side" of New York City. Elliott had two executive editors working for him, one Jewish and the other Irish Catholic. "Kermit Lansner, 78, Former Newsweek Editor," 22 May 2000, New York Times.
  • 16. Time put Nixon's inauguration on its 29 January 1973 cover.
  • 17. Life magazine had stopped publishing.
  • 18. Jackie Gleason was a comedian.
  • 19. The President refers to the John Birch Society.
  • 20. "Lausanne, Switzerland, July 25--A new worldwide fellowship of evangelical Protestants, pledged to an alternate style of faith and life from that of the World Council of Churches, was formally launched today as the outgrowth of the International Congress on World Evangelization." "Evangelical Protestants Organize," 26 July 1974, Washington Post.
  • 21. Eugene Carson Blake was the former executive director of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the former general secretary of the World Council of Churches. He was a leader of the Protestant ecumenical movement, an active participant in the civil rights movement and an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War. He was not a pacifist.
  • 22. The World Council of Churches supported President Harry S. Truman's intervention in the Korean War.
  • 23. Two months earlier, John Cardinal Krol had issued a statement deploring Nixon's "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam. As the Washington Post reported Krol's statement: "Cardinal Krol, who has maintained a close relationship with President Nixon, has previously avoided any comments on the war that could be construed as critical of the administration. In a sermon in the White House East Room last Sunday, the cardinal avoided direct reference to the conflict beyond a call for prayer for its victims." "Many Church Leaders Assail New Bombings," 23 December 1972, Washington Post.
  • 24. Later known as the conservative television host of The McLaughlin Group and John McLaughlin's One on One, McLaughlin was at the time a Roman Catholic priest in the Jesuit order working in the White House as a Nixon adviser.

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