Monday, November 22, 1971 - 9:10am - 10:22am
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Barry Goldwater
Oval Office

The President discussed his need for conservative support with National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger and Senator Barry M. Goldwater, R-Arizona.

[58:48 on 621C]

President Nixon: Let me tell you something, Henry. Let’s tell Henry something and tell you something, too, because he knows, he can back this up. You know, when I ordered that test on Amchitka-–

Barry Goldwater: Yes.

President Nixon: Did you tell him the story, Henry?

Henry Kissinger: Yeah, I told him the story.

President Nixon: We had over ten thousand wires in here against that test. Twenty-five for it. Twenty-five. Ten thousand, to twenty-five.

Goldwater: Hm.

President Nixon: At that point, they, you know, one of our little scary guys up here, says, “Oh, God, this terrible, terrible.” And he put it in my weekly news summary. I saw that count, and I know why they put it in. God, they had to, because they were against it. We’ve got mostly environmentalists, naturally, in the Domestic Council.

Goldwater laughs.

President Nixon: And so I said to him, and then so I [unclear] and they said the Supreme Court’s going to rule. And they said, it looks like it might go against. What are you going to do? And I said, I told Henry that morning, I said, “I don’t give a goddamn what the Court does. We’re going to go forward with that test because I found that if we didn’t, we’d drop a year behind in the ABM [Antiballistic Missile]. Also it could ruin our negotiations with the Soviets.” Not one conservative spoke up, saying, “Thank God that the President went ahead with that test.” I don’t mean [Senator] Barry Goldwater [R-Arizona]—what I mean—not [National Review Editor and Columnist] Bill Buckley, all these guys, what the hell’s the matter with them? Why don’t they attack the liberals?

Discussion of the President’s need for conservative support continued, with Goldwater urging him to “get on the horn” and ask for it.

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