Thursday, June 17, 1971 - 2:42pm - 3:33pm
Richard Nixon, Charles W. Colson, Bob Haldeman, Ronald L. Ziegler
Oval Office

President Nixon: [b76:58] Have they questioned him yet?

Charles W. “Chuck” Colson: I’d assume they have.

H.R. “Bob” Haldeman: I don’t know. I assume so.

Colson: [UnclearThey’ll bring him in for Miranda?]

President Nixon: Yeah, OK, OK. Incidentally, I hope to God he’s—he’s not Jewish, is he?

Haldeman: [chuckling] I’m sure he is.

Ronald L. Ziegler: Ellsberg?

President Nixon: I hope not. I hope not.

Colson: With that name, I would [unclearoverlapping voices]—

Haldeman: All the spies up to now have been Jewish. Why the hell wouldn’t he be?

President Nixon: Oh, I know, I know, I know, I know. But it’s a bad wicket for us. It’s a bad wicket.

Haldeman: Well—

President Nixon: Maybe we’ll be lucky for once. Look, you can’t tell by the name. It might just be German or something like it. You see, the problem is that one of the things that really hurt us in the [Elizabeth] Bentley investigations, they were, we had the goods on all these people, but who the hell, Nathan Silvermine. John Abt. Also, Victor Perlo. They were all of them Jews. It was a whole Jewish ring. The only two non-Jews in the Communist conspiracy—the Gold—Goldberg, the Gold—which ones, [unclear] were Jews. The only two non-Jews were [Whittaker] Chambers and [Alger] Hiss. Many thought that Hiss was. He could’ve been a half, but back a ways, but he was not by religion. The only two non-Jews. Every other one was a Jew. And it raised hell with us. But in this case, I hope to God he’s not a Jew.

Haldeman: Well, I suspect he is.

President Nixon: [chuckling] I know, except you can’t tell by the name.

Haldeman: Mort Halperin.

President Nixon: Halperin is, yeah.

Haldeman: [Leslie] Gelb is.

President Nixon: Is Gelb a Jew? Hell, well, then, by golly, we’ve got to—what is [Melvin] Laird doing and what is [William] Rogers doing about cleaning up their own security situations?

Haldeman: Well, what are we doing about cleaning up our own here?

President Nixon: Well, that’s what I mean. I’m just—

Haldeman: No, I mean in the White House.

President Nixon: I mean Henry [Kissinger]’s shop. Exactly. Just don’t know when one of them’s going to run out and take a lot of papers. Haldeman: We are in no position to criticize State or Defense on security leaks or on disloyal personnel. And that’s a problem, I think.

President Nixon: You mean, right now. I thought we’d cleared them all out.

Haldeman: Well, we hope we have.

Colson: Didn’t we just—

Haldeman: [b79:07] But our track record’s pretty stinky.

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