Thursday, July 1, 1971 - 8:45am - 9:52am
Richard Nixon
Oval Office

President Nixon: Let me, before you say a word about him, let me tell you one thing I want you to know about Eastern people. I don’t like to go into old history, but in the Hiss case, Bob [Haldeman], the major problem I had was that [Alger] Hiss came from such a nice family. He was the boy chosen at Johns Hopkins to be the most likely to succeed. His family were just beyond reproach. One of the best, one of the better families in the hunt country. And he was graduated from Harvard Law School. [Whittaker] Chambers came from a bad family. That argument was made over and over again. I don’t want to hear this family shit any more from anybody. The guys from the best families are most likely to develop that arrogance that puts them above the law. Now, whether he did something or not, [unclear]. But Elliot [Richardson], Elliot [unclear]. They all are that way. All these Harvard people.


President Nixon: Remember that any intellectual is tempted to put himself above the law. That’s the rule that I’ve known all my life. Any intellectual, particularly—watch what schools they’re from. If they’re from any Eastern schools or Berkeley, those are particularly the potential bad ones.

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