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National Archives Nixon Transcripts

Editor's note: The following transcripts come from tapes released in November 1996 by the National Archives. The conversations concern a 4/30/73 speech in which President Nixon addressed the Watergate controversy and announced the departure of aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

With H.R. Haldeman | With William P. Rogers | With Billy Graham

Conversation between Nixon and H.R. Haldeman
4/30/73 between 10:16 and 10:20 p.m.:

Nixon: Hello.

Haldeman: Hi.

N: Hope I didn't let you down.

H: No sir, you got your points over, and now you, now you're, you've got it set right and move on. You're in right where you ought to be.

N: Well, it's a tough thing, Bob. For you, for John, the rest, but Goddammit, I'm never going to discuss this son of a bitching Watergate thing again. Never, never, never, never. Don't you agree?

H: Yes sir. You've done it now. And you've laid out your position. You've laid out your, you've taken your steps. You've...

N: Interesting thing. You know we haven't heard. The only cabinet officer that has called , and this is 50 minutes after the thing is over, is Cap Weinberger, bless his soul.

H: Hmm.

N: All the rest are waiting to see what the polls show. Goddam strong cabinet, isn't it?

H: You'd better check and be sure, cause I, they may, you know, we've had a...

N: Nah, nah. No, no, no. They know. They know. They know to call, you know. They know they can get through. But in any event, I just wanted you to know that Cap called & he was all the way.

H: Good.

N: But let me say, you're a strong man, Goddammit, & I love ya.

H: Ha.

N: And I, you know, I love John, and all the rest, and by God, keep the faith. Keep the faith. You're going to win this son of a bitch.

H: Absolutely.

N: You notice what I said about the violence and so forth on the other side.

H: Yeah.

N: I mean there were some, there were some intricacies in this, that only (unclear) would understand.

H: I got those. And I want to get the (unclear word), cause there are some things to work on from there that.

N: All right.

H: That uh...

N: I thought it was good, too, to sort of end on what I deeply felt (unclear word) on a religious note, you know, God Bless America. I mean, I don't, I'm certain, I must have, have, you know, I must have driven you up the wall.

H: Didn't drive me up the wall, but I felt that way (crosstalk). I'm all for that. I completely agree.

N: I don't know whether you can call and get any reactions and call me back, like the old style. Would you mind?

H: I don't think I can, I don't, I don't.

N: No, I agree.

H: Puts me in kind of an odd spot to try and do that.

N: No. Don't call a Goddam soul. The hell with it. Let me just say, (unclear words)...from me, from you, I haven't heard from any cabinet officer except Weinberger an hour afterwards, and thank God, and no staff member.

H: Well, now, when I called the board said they were instructed not put any calls through, so...

N: The hell with that. I told them to put all the calls through.

H: Well, that may be why you haven't gotten them though. Because that's...

N: All right.

H: What told me.

N: All Right. I'll change it. I'll change it. Fine, but God bless ya, boy, God bless you, I love you. You, you know.

H: Okay.

N: Like my brother.

H: Oh, we'll...

N: All right boy.

H: We'll (unclear word) it up from here.

N: Keep the faith.

H: Right.

Conversation between Nixon and William P. Rogers
Sometime between 10:20 and 10:32 p.m.:

Nixon: Hello.

Rogers: Hi, Mr. President.

N: Hi, Bill.

R: Gee, that was terrific. Really superb.

N: Don't give me that shit, you know. You know.

R: No, I really mean it.

N: You and I (unclear)...kind of rough, you know, afterwards, I, I, shouldn't have done, done it, but, you know, I, uh, think, you know, the, the operators and the rest. All of a sudden, I sort of, sort of broke down a bit, and I, I don't, you know, I'm not that kind of a man.

R: Oh, hell (unclear). I tried to get you right away, but your damn system is tough to get through. I finally got through to Barker, but...

N: Been trying to get through to you all day. I mean I told Rose, Goddammit, any cabinet officer is to get through from, from the minute after the speech. And only one I've heard from is Weinberger. So I wondered what the hoot, what the hell's happened to everybody else.

R: I don't know what the Goddam system is. Anyway, I called. I tried to get Barker, I tried to get (unclear). I finally got Barker, and he took a message. Anyway, I thought it was superb, I don't know how you, I don't see how you good have done any better. I think it's the best delivery I've ever seen you give. I thought the delivery...

N: What, what parts of it did you like, Bill?

R: I liked all of it. I just thought it was great. I, um...

N: You didn't mind the God Bless America? That was my intuition (unclear) I just sorta felt that way.

R: No, I, I, I thought it was, you know, I thought it was great. I, uh, suppose some of the (unclear word) editorial writers may not like it, but the public is going to love it. That's what counts. Uh. And I thought the whole, the whole tone couldn't have been better. I didn't think it was, I didn't think it had any, any rough spots in it. I didn't think that you had any (unclear words) or anything of that kind. No, I thought it was superb. I couldn't improve on it. I just thought it was great. Adele was watching...

N: What did Dell think?

R: She thought the same thing. She, you know...

N: Smart woman.

R: She's critical.

N: You married a smarter wife that you, than you are. You know, like I did.

R: That's right. Now, how'd you think it went? I

N: I don't know anything about it. You know, I've, I've gotten. You know, I've been through a hell of an experience, you know. I was just reading, uh, Adams' memoirs, and Adams, you know, to his credit, did come in and say, look, I'll resign.

R: Yeah, yeah.

N: But Haldeman and Ehrlichman didn't. I had to tell them they had to resign. That was a Goddam, tough son-of-a-bitch.

R: Yeah.

N: You know.

R: I, I tell you this (unclear), you made a lot of improvements on the speech. I thought it was pretty good last night, but it was a hell of a lot better tonight. You must have done a lot of work on it today.

N: Worked all day on it. Yeah.

R: And, well, I, I just think you oughta be happy with the speech. I, I don't...

N: But, the cabinet thing, they were putting out Thursday, but (unclear) move to Wednesday. I think we ought to get it over quickly.

R: I think it's probably better.

N: Is that all right with you?

R: Right, right.

N: Because, you're, you're the cabinet now, Boy.

R: No, no.

N: No, I'm not givin' you any bullshit, you know that.

R: Incidentally, I, I think things look pretty good for Packard, I, if you still want him. I think you ought to give him a call. I thought the

N: I think I'll wait til tomorrow, though. I mean it's...

R: I don't want you, I don't want you to do it tonight, but I just mean...

N: Right.

R: I talked to (unclear), I talked to Mansfield, I talked to George Mahon.

N: What'd they say?

R: Well, they thought he'd be great. They thought he'd be great.

N: And they'll, they'll waive the...

R: Oh, we'll figure out something to do about that.

N: That's right, that's right. Good of you to call, Bill, you've been a...

R: That was a great speech, and get some sleep.

N: Great (tape cuts off)

Conversation between Nixon and Billy Graham
Between 10:20 and 10:32 p.m.:

Nixon: I had, I had, I had to tell Haldeman and Erlichman to resign, which they wouldn't do voluntarily, and that was tough.

Graham: Well, your sincerity, your humility, your asking for prayer, all of that, had a tremendous impact.

N: You really think so, Billy?

G: I really, I'm telling you the truth, and I'm not trying to just encourage you. I know you get all that. But I really mean it.

N: Well, that's good of you Billy. You've been a friend, and, and (tape cuts off)


Transcribed by Washington Post Staff researcher Barbara J. Saffir from tape Tape #197 RC-3, available at the National Archives.

© Copyright 1996 The Washington Post Company

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