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Conversation: 724-008

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Start Date: Monday, May 15, 1972 9:16 PM

End Date: Monday, May 15, 1972 10:06 PM

Participants:

Nixon, Richard M. (President)Haldeman, H. R. ("Bob")White House operatorNixon, Thelma C. ("Pat") (Ryan)Connally, John B.Ziegler, Ronald L.Wallace, CorneliaKennedy, Edward M.Rossides, Eugene T.Butterfield, Alexander P.

Recording Device: Oval Office

Full Tape Conversation Start Time: 03:16:09

Full Tape Conversation End Time: 04:07:00

724a.mp3

724b.mp3

724c.mp3

NARA Description:

On May 15, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon, H. R. ("Bob") Haldeman, White House operator, Thelma C. ("Pat") (Ryan) Nixon, John B. Connally, Ronald L. Ziegler, Cornelia Wallace, Edward M. Kennedy, Eugene T. Rossides, and Alexander P. Butterfield met in the Oval Office of the White House from 5:16 pm to 6:06 pm. The Oval Office taping system captured this recording, which is known as Conversation 724-008 of the White House Tapes.

Nixon Library Finding Aid:

Conversation No. 724-8

Date: May 15, 1972
Time: 5:16-6:06 pm
Location: Oval Office

The President met with H. R. (“Bob”) Haldeman.

     President's schedule
          -Cancellation of meeting with John N. Mitchell
          -Meeting with John B. Connally
          -Blue Room reception
                 -Press coverage
                 -Thelma C. (“Pat”) Nixon's presence
                 -President's presence
                       -Disadvantages
                 -Mrs. Nixon's presence
                 -Press coverage
                 -President's presence

The President talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 5:16 and 5:21
pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8A]

[See Conversation No. 24-84]

[End of telephone conversation]

     George C. Wallace
         -Shooting
               -News story
                    -Cornelia Wallace

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -Effect of Wallace shooting
          -Connally announcement
                 -Possible postponement
                      -Pros and cons
                                             37

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)


     Wallace
          -Shooting
               -Press coverage
                    -Effect on Vietnam coverage
               -Bulletproofing
               -Events
               -Location
                    -Laurel, Maryland
                          -Bowie [Maryland] racetrack
               -Secret Service protection
                    -Possible complaints
                    -Edward M. Kennedy
                          -Connally's decision

     Connally
         -Tenure
              -George P. Shultz confirmation
         -Future plans
              -President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board [PFIAB]
              -Latin America trip
                    -Henry A. Kissinger
                    -Brazil
              -Support for the President
                    -Announcement
                          -Timing
                    -Democratic candidates
                          -Hubert H. Humphrey

The President talked with Mrs. Nixon between 5:21 pm and 5:23 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8B]

[See Conversation No. 24-85]

The President conferred with Haldeman during the telephone conversation.

     Connally's arrival

[End of conferral]

[End of telephone conversation]
                                                 38

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. Jan-02)              Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's presence
                       -Mrs. Nixon's advice
                             -Connally's views

Connally entered at 5:24 pm.

     Greetings

     Secret Service protection
          -Edward M. Kennedy
                -Connally's decision
                -Announcement
                      -Ronald L. Ziegler
                -Reasons
                -Connally's opinion
                -Eugene T. Rossides

Haldeman talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 5:24 and 5:30 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8C]

[See Conversation No. 24-86]

[End of telephone conversation]

     Secret Service protection
          -Edward Kennedy
                -Reasons

     Wallace
          -Condition
               -Press reports

     Connally
         -Wounding in John F. Kennedy assassination
              -Condition
              -Location
                    -Connally
                    -Idanell Brill (“Nellie”) Connally
                    -Jacqueline (Bouvier) Kennedy
              -Nellie Connally's view
                                               39

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                         Tape Subject Log
                                           (rev. Jan-02)                Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

                -Location
                     -Connally
                     -John Kennedy
                -Connally's actions

The White House operator talked with Haldeman at an unknown time between 5:24 and 5:30 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8D]

[See Conversation No. 24-87]

Connally talked with Rossides at an unknown time between 5:24 and 5:30 pm.

[The following portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation
No. 724-8D]

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's presence

Connally conferred with the President and Haldeman during the telephone conversation.

     Secret Service protection
          -Shirley Chisholm request
                -Duration
          -Edward Kennedy
                -Priority
          -Candidates
                -Wilbur D. Mills
                -John N. Ashbrook
                -Chisholm
                -Edward Kennedy
                      -Request

[End of conferral]

[The following portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation
No. 724-8D]

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's presence
                                             40

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)    Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

[End of telephone conversation]

     Secret Service protection
          -President's anticipation
          -President's decision
          -Duration
          -Edmund S. Muskie
          -Reduced coverage
          -President's coverage while Vice President
                -Caracas, Venezuela incident
          -Wallace's coverage

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -Connally's advice

Ziegler entered at 5:30 pm.

     Secret Service protection
          -Announcement
                -Ziegler
                -Connally
          -Edward Kennedy
          -Chisholm
          -Offer to others
                -Reduced coverage
          -Kennedy
                -Debate
          -Chisholm
                -Request
          -Announcement
                -Ziegler
                -Connally
                -Ziegler
                      -Wording
                            -Edward Kennedy
                            -Chisholm
                            -Mills
          -Analogy to Robert F. Kennedy shooting
          -Presidential order
                -Edward Kennedy
                -Chisholm
          -Possible questions
                                            41

                     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                    Tape Subject Log
                                      (rev. Jan-02)                 Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

          -Possible answers
          -Need
                -Edward Kennedy
                -John W. Gardner
                -Edward Kennedy
                -Wallace
          -Notification of Edward Kennedy's office
                -Rossides
                -James J. Rowley
          -Advisory committee
                -Members
                      -Hugh Scott
                      -Michael J. Mansfield
                      -Thomas Kuchel
                      -Carl B. Albert
                      -Gerald R. Ford
                -Criteria
                      -Edward Kennedy's inclusion
          -Legal opinion
                -Judge Allin Hugh Pierce’s view
                -Copies to Mansfield and other committee members
          -Presidential decision
                -Legal basis
                -Precedents
                      -John Foster Dulles
                      -Lyndon B. Johnson
                -Edward Kennedy
          -Notification of Edward Kennedy
                -Call from Connally
          -Notification of unknown person [Chisholm?]
                -Call from Rowley

Haldeman talked with with White House operator at an unknown time between 5:30 and 5:38
pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8E]

[See Conversation No. 24-88]

[End of telephone conversation]

          -Senate action
               -Mansfield
                                                  42

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

                 -Resolution
                       -Decision-making authority
                       -Purpose
                             -Edward Kennedy protection
                 -House action
           -Instructions for Rossides

The White House operator talked with Haldeman at 5:38 pm.

The President talked with Cornelia Wallace between 5:38 and 5:41 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8F]

[See Conversation No. 24-89]

[The following portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation
No. 724-8F]

     President's statement

     Mrs. Nixon

     Wallace shooting

[End of telephone conversation]

     Wallace
          -Shooting
               -Call from Cornelia Wallace
               -Effect on forthcoming election
               -Condition
               -Effect on Maryland primary
               -Effect on Michigan primary

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's attendance
                 -Mrs. Nixon's attendance
                 -Clement E. Conger's role
                 -Effect of Wallace's condition
                 -Conversation with guests
                 -President's remarks
                 -Press coverage
                                               43

                       NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)               Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

                 -President's remarks
                       -Call from Cornelia Wallace
                       -Change in plans
                 -Press coverage

The White House operator talked with Haldeman at an unknown time between 5:41 and 5:45 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8G]

[See Conversation No. 24-90]

[End of telephone conversation]

     Edward Kennedy
         -Location
              -Georgetown
         -Delay in protection
         -Connally’s view
         -Location
         -New car

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -Press coverage
                 -President's remarks
                       -President's and Mrs. Nixon's attendance
                       -Appreciation to donors

     Wallace
          -Shooting
               -President's statement for press
                     -Preparation
                           -Raymond K. Price, Jr.

Ziegler left at 5:45 pm.

     Connally
         -Resignation
              -Announcement
                    -Timing
                    -Effect of Wallace condition

     Wallace
                                               44

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)                   Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

           -Condition
                -Reports
                      -Problems
                            -Dr. William M. Lukash
                            -Location
                -Offer of services
                      -Bethesda Naval Hospital

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's remarks
                       -Call from Cornelia Wallace
                       -President's and Mrs. Nixon's attendance
                             -Receiving line

     Wallace
          -Condition
               -Length of hospital stay
          -The President’s view
          -Cornelia Wallace
               -The President’s view
               -[Ruby ("Big Ruby") Folsom Ellis Austin]
                     -Connally’s view
               -Call from the President
                     -Theodore Roosevelt assassination attempt
                           -Outcome of election

The White House operator talked with Haldeman at an unknown time between 5:45 pm and 5:52
pm.

Connally talked with Edward Kennedy at an unknown time between 5:45 pm and 5:52 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8H]

[See Conversation No. 24-91]

[The following portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation
No. 724-8H]

     Secret Service protection
          -Edward Kennedy
                -White House announcement
                                              45

                        NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

Ziegler entered at 5:52 pm.

[End of telephone conversation]

                 -Acceptance
                 -Duration
                 -White House announcement
                      -Connally's call to Edward Kennedy

Haldeman talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 5:52 pm and 5:54
pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8I]

[See Conversation No. 24-92]

[End of telephone conversation]

                        -Duration
                        -President's orders
                        -Edward Kennedy's acceptance
           -Necessity

The White House operator talked with Haldeman at an unknown time between 5:52 pm and 5:54
pm.

Connally talked with Rossides at an unknown time between 5:52 pm and 5:58 pm.

[Conversation No. 724-8J]

[See Conversation No. 24-93]

[The following portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation
No. 724-8J]

                 -Number of agents assigned
                 -Statement for the press

Ziegler left at 5:54 pm.

     Wallace's condition [?]

     Donald McI. Kendall
                                                46

                       NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                          Tape Subject Log
                                            (rev. Jan-02)       Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)


     President's schedule
          -Call from Haldeman

[End of telephone conversation]

     Wallace
          -Shooting
               -Visit from Humphrey
               -Visit from George S. McGovern
               -Possible visit from the President
                     -Time
                     -Call
                     -Disadvantages
               -Services offered by the President
                     -Lukash
               -Condition
                     -Location of wounds
               -Other victims
                     -Secret Service agent
                           -Wounds
          -The President’s view
          -Assassination attempt
               -Compared with Robert F. Kennedy assassination
                     -Causes
               -Compared with Abraham Lincoln assassination
               -Effect on other victims
                     -Secret Service agent
                           -Condition
               -Visit from Humphrey
                     -Time
               -Visit from McGovern
                     -Location
               -Condition

Alexander P. Butterfield entered at 5:58 pm.

                       -Lukash's report

Butterfield left at 5:59 pm.

     Connally's wounding
         -Bleeding
                                                47

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. Jan-02)    Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)

          -President's reading of reports
          -Nellie Connally
          -Location
          -Care
          -Details
          -Surgeon
                -Background
                -Location
                -Operation
          -John Kennedy's condition
                -Connally's awareness
                -Nellie Connally
          -Condition
          -Surgeon
                -Background
                -Wound
                      -Severity
                      -Consequences

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's attendance
                       -Mrs. Nixon's knowledge

     Connally's schedule
         -Nellie Connally
                -Arrangements to meet
                -Location

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room reception
                 -President's attendance
                       -Time

Connally left at an unknown time after 5:58 pm.

     Connally
         -The President’s view
              -Domestic Council

     President's schedule
          -Blue Room
                 -President's preparation for reception
                                                48

                       NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)    Conv. No. 724-8 (cont.)


Connally entered at an unknown time before 6:06 pm.

     Blue Room
          -Described
          -Mrs. Nixon's role

     Dining room
          -Light fixture
               -Change
               -Described
               -Tricia Nixon Cox
          -Redecoration
          -Light fixture
               -Problem

     Office
          -Panelling

     Dining Room
          -Light fixture
               -Change
                      -Time needed
               -Alternative

The President, Haldeman, and Connally left at 6:06 pm.