You need a team

Tuesday, June 1, 1971 - 1:38pm - 2:05pm
Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman
Oval Office

Editors' Note: An earlier version of portions of this transcript was published as: Stanley Kutler, Abuse of Power, p.15

President Nixon: I think you need a team. This is a big job. But you need a commander of the team and maybe--”

Bob Haldeman: Well, this was [Richard] Allen's point.1

President Nixon: Maybe--Incidentally, Allen should not be a commander, should he? All right. But shouldn't [Charles] Colson be, when you come down to it, Bob? Is this--”are we--”

Haldeman: Probably.

President Nixon: Are we putting too much of a load [unclear]? What is--”

Haldeman: Well, it's structured so he can get--”

President Nixon:
He's got a lot of people working for him, hasn't he?

Haldeman: Yeah. And he's got good people. And he's--”you know, that--”

President Nixon:
His instincts are particularly good.


Haldeman: All right.

President Nixon: I think we ought to consider this fellow. I think we ought to put him over here. You know, on temporary duty for the purpose of working on this.

Haldeman: Well, the beauty of this type of CIA guy is that--”

President Nixon: USIA.2

Haldeman: Oh, you're talking about this guy now?

President Nixon: Well, either one of them.

Haldeman: OK.

President Nixon: Both sound good.

Haldeman: The CIA guy, the fact he's working outside, we can just hire him as a consultant.

President Nixon:
Yeah. Right.

Haldeman: There's some merit to getting a guy from outside.

President Nixon: Right. Good. Fine.

Haldeman: If he knows his way around here.

President Nixon: Good.

Haldeman: We can get this guy, too.

President Nixon: This guy, just get him from [Frank] Shakespeare and bring him over. 3

Haldeman: Just have him assigned here.

President Nixon: I like the idea of a young bearcat who thinks there is a conspiracy. I'd put him on the conspiracy side, with the CIA guy, you know, on the declassification side.

  • 1. The President was interested in putting Republican foreign policy expert Richard Allen in charge of the administration's response to the leak of the Pentagon Papers.
  • 2. The acronym USIA stands for United States Information Agency.
  • 3. Frank Shakespeare was the director of the U.S. Information Agency.

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