Conversation: 523-005Prev: 523-004 Next: 523-006
Start Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1971 8:30 PM
End Date: Wednesday, June 16, 1971 9:15 PM
Participants:Nixon, Richard M. (President); Butterfield, Alexander P.; O'Neill, John M.; Stephens, Melvin; Colson, Charles W.; Bull, Stephen B.; Sanchez, Manolo; Kissinger, Henry A.; White House operator; [Unknown person(s)]; Woods, Rose Mary;
Recording Device: Oval Office
Full Tape Conversation Start Time: 01:39:37
Full Tape Conversation End Time: 02:27:25
On June 16, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon, Alexander P. Butterfield, John M. O'Neill, Melvin Stephens, Charles W. Colson, Stephen B. Bull, Manolo Sanchez, Henry A. Kissinger, White House operator, unknown person(s), and Rose Mary Woods met in the Oval Office of the White House from 4:30 pm to 5:15 pm. The Oval Office taping system captured this recording, which is known as Conversation 523-005 of the White House Tapes.
Nixon Library Finding Aid:
Conversation No. 523-5 Date: June 16, 1971 Time: 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm Location: Oval Office Alexander P. Butterfield, John M. O'Neill, Melville Stephens and Charles W. Colson met. The President entered at an unknown time after 4:30 pm. Introductions -Oliver F. (“Ollie”) Atkins -John F. Kerry Attendance at meeting -Henry A. Kissinger Stephen B. Bull and Butterfield left at 4:31 pm. 18 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF Tape Subject Log (rev. 10/08) Manolo Sanchez entered at an unknown time after 4:31 pm. Refreshments Sanchez left at an unknown time before 5:15 pm. Vietnam -Polls on peace terms -Prisoners of War [POWs] -Characteristics of Americans -Nature of war in Vietnam -Media created attitudes -Condition of soldiers -Morality of government -Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy -Fashionable attitudes -Result of war's end -Reasons for criticism -Result of support for administration -US record in Vietnam -Presentation of Medals of Honor -Background -Treatment on talk shows -Dick Cavett -Scope of service -Kerry -Military -O'Neill’s educational background -US Naval Academy, Annapolis -Time frame -Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace -Membership -Reasons for criticism -"War crimes" talk -Possibility of negotiated settlement -Prospects -Reasons -Congressional role -Effect on talk prospects -Anti-war votes -David K.E. Bruce -Confidence of American people -O’Neill’s appraisal of President's standing 19 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF Tape Subject Log (rev. 10/08) -O'Neill's family -Background -Role of the President -Constraints -Critics of President -Edward M. (“Ted”) Kennedy -Hubert H. Humphrey -George S. McGovern Conv. No. 523-5 (cont.) -Edmund S. Muskie -Constraints -Nixon’s criticism of earlier policy -Use of air power -Overall implication of Vietnam -Effect on superpower relations -US and Europe -US and Soviet Union -US and Peoples Republic of China [PRC] -US prestige -O'Neill schedule -Speech to anti-war rally -Kerry -Effect -Passage of resolution -Margin -Public mood -Need for truth -Washington news -American Broadcasting Company [ABC] -Lack of consistency -Need for balance -Reception for O'Neill speech -Mayors of major cities -Results of ending war -Increase in funds for cities -Geopolitics -Kerry -Facing of problem -Regarding problem solving -Geopolitical problems -Problems of cities -Looking inward -Effect 20 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF Tape Subject Log (rev. 10/08) -Spokesmen for America -President’s appreciation for O’Neill’s efforts -Media -Eastern establishment -Yale -Kingman Brewster, Jr. -Kissinger analysis of political climate -Neville Chamberlain and Munich Agreement Conv. No. 523-5 (cont.) -Public perception of Chamberlain -Reflection in polls -Change -Replacement by Winston S. Churchill -Presidential leadership -Necessity -Polls -Cambodia -Comparison with Laos -Rationale -Press reaction -Military results -Casualty comparisons -Rationale -Presence in Cambodia -O’Neill’s experiences -Impressions at the time -Military rationale -Effect on North Vietnamese -Scope of operations -Bombing -Background -Effect -Attacks on Haiphong -Attacks on dikes -Effect -POW's -O'Neil recollections -Object of attack -Enemy jungle "Pentagon" -Objective -Use of "Pentagon" term in briefing -Supply caches -Casualty reduction 21 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF Tape Subject Log (rev. 10/08) -Laos operation -Results of US actions -Deterrence of North Vietnamese offensive Kissinger entered at 4:58 pm. Introductions Conv. No. 523-5 (cont.) Vietnam -O’Neill’s efforts -Appearance on the “Dick Cavett Show” -Psychological analysis -Kerry -Audience response -Editing from tape -O’Neill’s comments -O’Neill’s demeanor -Survival of America -Kissinger’s view -Need for truth -National reaction -O'Neill -Travels around US -Popular opinion -Exit from Vietnam -Demonstrators -Kerry -US history -Last election -Vietnamization -Vietnam veterans -Class reactions Pentagon Papers -New York Times -Perception of average man -Necessity of confidentiality -Effect on foreign affairs -Necessity of prosecution -Impact on government President's appreciation of O'Neill’s efforts 22 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF Tape Subject Log (rev. 10/08) -Morality of critics -[Unintelligible names] -New York City -Future -Attitude President's handling of press conferences -Use of laughter Conv. No. 523-5 (cont.) Presentation of gifts -Cuff links -Tie bar -Golf ball [The President talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 4:30 pm and 5:10 pm] [Conversation No. 523-5A] [See Conversation No. 5-93] Expressions of appreciation An unknown woman entered at an unknown time after 4:30 pm. Request for copy of Whitaker Chambers's book Witness The unknown woman left at an unknown time before 5:10 pm. Call from Egon Bahr to Kissinger -Nature of relations [Rose Mary Woods talked with the President at 5:10 pm] [Conversation No. 523-5B] [See Conversation No. 5-94] Alger Hiss case -Chambers's testimony -Hiss/Chambers friendship -Effect on "duty" 23 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF Tape Subject Log (rev. 10/08) -Hiss communist affiliation -Application to O'Neill efforts -North Vietnamese -Domestic critics -Support for war -Need for maximum effort -”Play to win” attitude -Pandering to the crowd Conv. No. 523-5 (cont.) -Eastern establishment -Media -Media composition -Education -Morality O'Neill, Stephen, and Colson left at an unknown time before 5:15 pm. West German and US relations -German comments to press -Willy Brandt -US role in German defense -Berlin -Michael J. (“Mike”) Mansfield Amendment -Muskie -Humphrey -Margin of Kurt Kiesinger loss in German election O'Neill meeting -John F. Kerry -O'Neill age -O'Neill qualifications Mood of nation -End of war -Strength of US Kissinger left at 5:15 pm.