The Watergate prosecutors have a one-page memo addressed to former White house domestic affairs adviser John D. Ehrlichman that described in detail the plans to burglarize the office of Pentagon papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, according to government sources.
The memo sent to Ehrlichman by former White House aides David Young and Egil (Bud) Krogh, was dated before the Sept. 3, 1971 burglary of the office of the Beverly Hills psychiatrist, the sources said.
The memo was turned over to the prosecutors by Young, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, the sources said.
The sources confirmed earlier reports that Young will testify that Ehrlichman saw the memo and approved the burglary operation.
Ehrlichman could not be reached directly for comment yesterday, but Frank H. Strickler, one of his attorneys, said: “It has been his consistent position that he had no advance knowledge of the break-in and Mr. Ehrlichman stands by that position.”
The burglary was supervised by Watergate conspirators E. Howard Hunt, Jr. and G. Gordon Liddy, who in 1971 were members of the White House special investigations unit called the “plumbers.”
The group which was directed by Young and Krogh, was charged with investigating leaks to the news media and had been established in June, 1971, after the publication of the Pentagon Papers by several newspapers.
The memo from Krogh and Young directly contradicts a statement Ehrlichman made to the FBI on April 27. According to a summary of that interview made public May 2, Ehrlichman stated that he “was not told that these individuals (hunt and Liddy) had broken into the premises of the psychiatrist for Ellsberg until after this incident had taken place. Such activity was not authorized by him, he did not know about this burglary until after it had happened.”
In an affidavit released last month, Krogh had given “general authorization to engage in covert activity” to obtain information on Ellsberg.
Reliable sources said that Krogh prepared his affidavit by referring to an incomplete copy of the memo that he and Young sent to Ehrlichman before the burglary. Missing from that copy, the sources said, was the bottom portion in which plans for the burglary were described.
The top portion merely made a general reference to covert activity and Krogh based his affidavit on that, according to the sources.
The sources said the prosecutors have the entire memo and that Krogh, now reminded of its contents, is expected to change his statement, thus adding to the damaging testimony against Ehrlichman.
The sources said that the bottom portion of the memo was apparently removed late last year or early this year to sanitize Korgh’s files before Senate confirmation hearings on his nomination as undersecretary of Transportation.
Krogh was confirmed without difficulty. He resigned last month after acknowledging that he approved the burglary operation on Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.
Young was a member of the National Security Council staff and had previously been the appointments secretary to foreign affairs adviser Dr. Henry A. Kissinger. He resigned in April.
Ehrlichman, one of the President’s closest advisers, resigned April 30.
In another Watergate matter, three government sources said that Ehrlichman and former presidential counsel John W. Dean, III taped telephone and personal face-to-face conversations with other figures in the Watergate affair beginning last January.
Ehrlichman taped one telephone conversation with former acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray III concerning some incriminating files removed last summer from the White House safe of Watergate conspirator hunt, the sources said.
In another instance, the sources said that Ehrlichman taped a telephone conversation with Dean about the same explosive documents that Gray later destroyed.
Dean taped several conversations, including a long interview with alleged political saboteur Donald H. Segretti in January, one source said.
Segretti, a California attorney, was allegedly hired to conduct political espionage and sabotage against Democratic presidential contenders by former presidential appointments secretary Dwight L. Chapin and was paid $40,000 by the President’s former personal attorney, Herbert W. Kalmbach.
In a related matter, two sources close to Dean said that the three months of recent Watergate disclosures were triggered in part by a request from Watergate conspirator hunt in mid-March for $130,000 to remain silent.
Hunt had received “hush money” before that, the sources said. They said the White House staff did not have $130,000 at hand and several persons, including Kalmbach and former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, were balking at raising additional money to buy the silence of seven original Watergate defendants.