Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Andrew P. Miller yesterday called on his Republican opponent John W. Warner to disclose all of his contributions to past Republican presidential campaigns so "the people of this state can decide for themselves" if the donations helped him win his appointment as secretary of the Navy.
Four individuals involved in the 1968 Republican presidential campaign have said that the flow of money from Warner and his wife at the time, heiress Catherine Mellon, played a major role in Richard Nixon's decision to name Warner undersecretary of the Navy in 1969 and then Navy Secretary three years later.
Warner never has flatly denied that allegation though his campaign literature pictures him as "a surprisingly unpolitical man" who was "ask by the president" to lead the Navy and who helps political figures "without once asking for a tradeoff in return."
Warner has denied in interviews giving any money to Richard Nixon's 1968 campaign and has adamantly said that he "did not contribute on penny to campaign for his reelection" in 1972. "Not one single penny from my pocket, from my wife's at that time for from anybody else's," he said last month.
Finance records of the 1968 election show that "John W. Warner of Washington, D.C." contributed $2,500 to the United Citizens for Nixon-Agnew Committee, which Warner was heading at the time.His wife, Catherine Mellon Warner, according to the records, contributed another $2,500.
The same records, compiled by Citizens Research Foundation Los Angeles show that Warner's then father-in-law, Paul Mellon, contributed $41,000 to various Nixon campaign committees that year, and other family members contributed to a Mellon family total of $278,962.
The records show that Paul Mellong donated $50,000 to Nixon.
Additional records obtained by The Post this week indicated that Warner contributed $2,500 to the District of Columbia Finance Committee to Reelect the President on Sept. 26, 1972. The same records also show that "The Honorable John Warner" contributed another $2,500 to the Victory Dinner Committee to Reelect the President on Oct. 5, 1972.
Yesterday Warner's staff acknowledged some of the gifts. Miller challenged Warner to make full disclosure of his donation, the staff released of eight checks Warner wrote in 1972 to various Republican campaign committees. Theree of the checks, for a tatal of $3,600 went to three Nixon campaign committees.
This week, when confronted with the discrepancy between the 1968 campaign finance records and his own statements last month, Warner said he saw no contradiction between his statements.
He said he did not consider a contribution to the United Citizens for Nixon-Agnew the same as a contribution to Nixon. The former, he said, was "a national volunteer organization for citizens."
Miller has sought to make an issue of Warner's credibility, particulary the credibility of his statements about political money. Yesterday Miller told a Richmond press conferecce he could understand that Warner might have forgotten the amounts of his political checks, but "I can't see someone not remembering a contribution was made."
Warner was rather hazy about the Mellon contributions, although in the same interview last month he spoke of being "blessed with an almost photograpyic memory."
Asked "were the Mellons big givers?" in 1968, Warner replied:
"Paul had his own system of giving. To the best of my knowledge it was $5,000 or something like that. I'm not trying to be evasive. I just have no recolliction. But I know I did not handle any of the big gifts."
Warner said this week he also stood by his denial of giving money to Nixon in 1972. When confronted with his emphatic statement of having given "not one single penny" to the Nixon campaign in 1972, he recalled purchasing "two dinner tickets. I went to a dinner somewhere. I don't know what the price of the tickets were but I don't think it was a great deal of money."
Warner said this week he had "no recollection or knowledge" of the Mellon gifts in either 1968 or 1972. "I did not involve myself in the family giving campaigns in any significant way," he said.
The Mellon family has been a substantial contributor to Republican campaigns for years, according to Herbert E. Alexander, director of Citizens Researd Foundation, a nonpartisan campaign finance research group.
Four people high in Nixon's 1968 campaign, two of them involved in campaign finances say "there was a general understanding" that Warner would get "some kind of payoff" for his own and his father-in-law's largesse.
But three of the four - interviewed by The Post over the past two months - emphasized that other factors also contributed to Warner's past work for the party and his labor in Nixon's post-election transition office in 1968-69.
The fourth source, one of the campaign financiers, said Warner raised so much money in 1968 he became a sort of problem for the campaign.
"Technically, fund-raising wasn't supposed to be a big part of his job," the official said. But John was so gung-ho he kept running around raising money and raising money. He raised so much he started doing weird things with it . . . like ordering 10,000 bumper stickers in green and blue, or something, instead of in the regulation campaign colors."
All four sources said it was their "understanding" that Warner was responsible for a "very substantial" contribution to the Nixon campaign from the Mellon family in 1968.
Warner has spoken repeatedly of his continued "friendly relationship" with the Mellon family in the wake of a 1973 divorce settlement he has stated was largely arranged by the family lawyers.
Shortly after his marriage with Catherine in 1957, Warner has said, the family conferred on him a "very substantial" trust fund to which he ascribes most of his current wealth of $7.5 million.
When he was kidded last month about the vociferousness with which he denied giving money to Nixon in 1972, Warner said it was not anything to laugh about.
"This is John Warner," he said "and if you don't know it already, you are going to perceive in me a quality of character, be it good or bad in politics, that I am absolutely straight and honest."