454-009

Date: 
Saturday, February 20, 1971 - 10:58am - 2:43pm
Participants: 
Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman, Peter Flanigan
Location: 
Oval Office
Listen: 


President Nixon: [26:31] [ERM note: Transcript seems to start in middle of a conversation; reconsider starting point as previous dialogue is interesting about Nixon's views on environmentalists] Except that I’d be able to make Russell ambassador to New Zealand. You’ve got Shakespeare’s man out there. We’ve done enough for him.

Peter M. Flanigan: I quite agree. The guy’s a disaster.

President Nixon: What was his name?

Flanigan: Franzheim. Kenneth Franzheim.

President Nixon: Franzheim. From Texas?

Flanigan: Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, why is he a disaster? What’s the trouble?

Flanigan: Because he just hasn’t, according to the State Department—according to MacComber —I’ve reviewed all of our people and they’ve been—

President Nixon: MacComber’s a good man. That’s at State.

Flanigan: That’s right. He says that this fellow just hasn’t caught on. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he’s completely inept at the job. He’s the number one guy they think has been a disaster—

President Nixon: Well—

Flanigan: —and they’ve been very flattering about most of the others.

President Nixon: MacComber?

Haldeman: Well, we’ve made some pretty good appointments.

Flanigan: Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, the matter is [unclear] the best political appointment. Could Russell do it?

Flanigan: He can probably. Yeah.

President Nixon: His hard-ass attitude out there.

Flanigan: Probably the right kind of a guy for those people.

Haldeman: Yeah.

Flanigan: I think he’d be all right. No wife—you know, living in New Zealand, it’s quite a long way away.

President Nixon: Oh, that’s fine. He’ll love those New Zealand babes.

[Flanigan chuckles.]

President Nixon: The guys that went down there in World War II said that they were easier than the Australians. They’re easy.

Flanigan: Russell will have a fine time.

President Nixon: That’s what I’ve heard.

Flanigan: I don’t know—

President Nixon: I never got there. You should have heard them. That’s where they took their leave from the Solomons. They went down there on planes, and they’d go eat at the bars. I’d go up and see those pilots, you know, after they’d fly up there, when they’d all go to the city. When they come back, they were practically gibbering idiots. [Laughter.]

President Nixon: Well, anyway, try to—throw Franzheim out of there. Why do we even—we don’t owe him anything. It's already two years.

Flanigan: Two years.

President Nixon: Gave him three years for $25,000?

Flanigan: A hundred.

President Nixon: He gave a hundred?

Flanigan: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: Well, that’s pretty tough.

Flanigan: He still ought to go. I mean, you now I—

Haldeman: Three years for a hundred.

Flanigan: I think if a fellow doesn’t measure up, he’s been given his chance. That’s what he was—got for his hundred thousand dollars. [b02818]

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