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In the Loop: Quinn Gillespie's Date With the Treasury

Richard Nixon, shown with Henry Kissinger in 1972, continues to have tape-related problems 15 years after his death.
Richard Nixon, shown with Henry Kissinger in 1972, continues to have tape-related problems 15 years after his death. (First Run Features Via Associated Press)

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Please RSVP to rsvp@qga.com or 202-429-6871 as space is limited.

Probably too late, but give it a try.

NO CUDDLING IN VIETNAM

Anyone who's spent hours listening to scratchy old recordings -- or trying to parse the oldie "Louie Louie" -- and then compared what you heard with written transcripts knows there are always discrepancies, sometimes major, sometimes not.

Even the State Department's official and authoritative history -- the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series -- recently acknowledged that its transcripts are not the final word on what, for example, was said in the Nixon White House.

"Readers are advised that the tape recording is the official document," the latest FRUS volume advises, "while the transcript represents solely an interpretation of that document."

Folks at the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy noted a few discrepancies from a volume the historian's office put out in 2006 that quoted taped conversations between President Richard M. Nixon and national security adviser Henry A. Kissinger about the Vietnam War.

According to the FRUS transcript, Kissinger says: "On the other hand, you and I know that you were going to go for broke against the North."

FAS has a "probable correction" that has Kissinger saying: "On the other hand, you and I know that you weren't going to go for broke against the North."

Seems like a notable difference.

And then, in the FRUS version, Kissinger says: "What they do is they're asking for, cuddling for, the things we are going to do anyway. Like troop withdrawals." We hadn't always thought of Ho Chi Minh as a cuddly sort.

FAS is thinking Kissinger actually said: "What they do is they're asking toughly for the things they know we're going to do anyway, like troop withdrawals."


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