Tuesday, June 22, 1971 - 5:09pm - 6:46pm
Richard Nixon, John Mitchell
Oval Office

President Nixon: [b116:43] You can never put, John [Mitchell], any person who is a Jew in a civil rights kind of case, or freedom of the press kind of case, and get even a 10 percent chance [as] a judge-—it can’t be done. It’s just something that—-you’ve got an exception in the [Henry] Kissinger. Basically, who the hell are these people that stole the papers? It’s too bad. I’m sorry. I was hoping one of them would be a gentile. But, geez, they’re all [hits desk on “all”]—

John N. Mitchell: Oh yeah. [Unclear.]

President Nixon: The [unclear] writers. The three Jews. You know? The three suspects.

Mitchell: Yeah.

President Nixon: The other fellow, all Jews. You—I go clear back to, as I said, the whole damn Communist thing. What really screwed us in that thing as much as any—[William] Rogers will bear it out—-was the fact that the [Elizabeth] Bentley testimony was a whole [unclear]: John Abt, Victor Perlo, Lee Pressman, Nathan [Witt], Silverster.1 Good God, they ran a whole photo shop. They ran off tons of documents and turned them over to the Communists. And . . . boy, if you think things are bloody now, you should have seen how bloody it was then, when they’d given the Soviet Union-—even though there was unpopularity—-‘witch hunt,’ ‘McCarthyism’ and so forth—-see, [Joseph] McCarthy’s—-the charge against McCarthy all started against me. He just was stupid or he wouldn’t have got killed.

Mitchell: I know. He made—-

President Nixon: We are [unclear]—

Mitchell: He made the mistake of making that speech down there in Wheeling, West Virginia [unclear—-overlapping voices].

President Nixon: Well in that state [unclear] awful quick. He came to see me in Los Angeles. I said, ‘Joe, you can’t say that. You can’t say there’s 64 Communists.’ I said, ‘There are more than that. But don’t use a number. Just say there are and mention the State Department. . . . [Exasperated] Aggh.

Mitchell: Yeah.

President Nixon: Anyway, what I’m getting at is this. You have the problem here and it’s—but it isn’t, it isn’t—and I say it isn’t—-it’s part of the background, the faith, and the rest. We’d probably be that way if we are a persecuted minority, concerned about suppression, police state, et cetera, et cetera, and they always come down that way. Almost always. You just can’t find many that don’t. I don’t know. But I’m sure you can find some else [unclear]. [b119:05]

Unclear exchange.

President Nixon: [Unclear] but he's not a judge, is he? [Unclear.]

Mitchell: Well, at least the Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the Jews couldn't get into our golf club.

President Nixon: Is that right?


1 President Nixon misidentifies either George Silverman or Greg Silvermaster as Silverster. (↑)

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