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Welcome back to the foxhole -- host James Rosen broadcasting to you live from the Washington bureau of Fox News.
We have today is subject that is close to my hardest some of you may know I've spent my adult life in fact -- -- to say.
A seventeen years working on a book about Watergate it's called the strongman John Mitchell and secrets of Watergate it was published five years ago.
But really to to to work on the subject of Richard Nixon and particularly the Nixon White House is -- life's work.
And that's because Richard Nixon made some 3700.
Hours of secret recordings in the Oval Office executive office building.
Various White House telephones.
Today all -- 700 hours of those recordings have been released to the public.
The last such release.
In installments dating back to 1990s occurred last week.
With the National Archives making 340 hours of those conversations available.
Up to and including the very last of the Nixon tapes July 12 1973 -- brief conversation.
Between the president and his secretary Rosemary woods.
-- talk about the Nixon tapes with the reigning expert on -- subject he's the author of two books.
They include biographies.
President Bush 43 and Lyndon Johnson George W.
Bush life of privilege leadership in crisis.
And Lyndon B Johnson pursuit of populism paradox and power.
My my friend and the historian associate professor of history Texas A&M university -- mr.
Who joins us from Austin, Texas Lou nice to have you fossil.
Though he's also the co-founder of a website called WWW.
Nixon tapes dot org when did you found that website and what did you do.
Well that website was started.
Not the same days -- the Nixon library and came under federal control during July of 2007.
And why did it it was never planned the website was never in the cards.
I was working on these tapes and first made offers to donate these materials to.
The Miller center of University of Virginia to the Nixon foundation into the Nixon library at the time.
But because they'd already done a lot of work come on these tapes and and there were no takers so I went out ended on my own.
Now -- -- you have to understand folks is the country's reigning expert.
On the Nixon tapes all of the newspaper and Internet coverage that you saw of this release of the Nixon tapes last week.
All the reporters who wrote those articles went to -- connector.
And said tell us where to go here and 340 hours obviously deadline -- reporters can't get them all themselves.
So I've asked -- to join us here in the fossil.
To review just a few of the most interest in tapes.
That were released last week we're gonna start with a conversation.
Between President Nixon and his national security advisor Henry Kissinger.
That took place in the oval office on May 21973.
The Watergate scandal was really starting to explode by this point.
Nixon had to force and accept the resignations of his two closest -- White House chief of staff.
Bob Haldeman and domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman Ehrlichman had been the leader of the group called the -- whose job of the Nixon White House.
Was to investigate leaks of classified material to the news media.
It was the -- that -- the break in at the office of the psychiatrist.
Of the Pentagon papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg and also the break in.
At the Watergate office complex into the office of the Democratic National Committee here in this conversation.
Which was transcribed by me with the help from -- Nixon and Kissinger are discussing some of the wiretapping activities in the -- scandals that plagued the Nixon administration in its first term.
Including -- situation involving -- Charles Radford.
Yeoman Radford in 1971.
Was -- 27 year old -- trains did not -- who was -- to the National Security Council staff of doctor Kissinger.
It leader was discovered by the plumbers those investigators news -- the -- -- -- secretly been rifling Kissinger briefcases.
His burden backs his waste paper -- -- the NFC and during wartime folks over thirteen month period in 1970 to 71.
Young yeoman -- had privately secretly routed 5000 documents to his superiors.
At the office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that's known as the more -- scandal it is still -- done relatively under reported story today.
I was one of the most sensitive secrets of the Nixon presidency let's listen as Henry Kissinger and nick Richard Nixon on May 21973.
Discuss all that.
-- -- Government.
We -- Yeah.
-- -- -- Go ahead.
-- Let me.
-- -- Yeah.
-- -- Shooters.
-- -- Yeah.
So that was just under five minutes of audio from the Nixon tapes of me to 1973 the president Henry Kissinger -- joined here in the fossil by -- connector.
The reigning expert on the Nixon tapes of Texas a M university he's joining us from Austin -- your impressions from -- recording.
Well they they discuss and think -- number of issues both contemporary issues in 1973.
But they're also reminiscent.
About issues from a couple years before.
And you know one of the things that I've listened to because I've heard enough of these tapes is there's really Nixon for every occasion.
There are many sides to Richard Nixon and depending on what he's talking about and and who takes part in a conversation with him that was recorded you see really different sides of this man.
And you know here's what they're talking about is the reminiscent restarting my reminiscing.
And the Nixon administration response.
Two to the Pentagon papers into the the break in of Daniel Ellsberg psychiatrist.
And he -- used classic case for you get the different sides of Richard Nixon on the one hand.
You've got Nixon saying the break it was crazy.
And on the other hand when talking about other issues like the more Radford a fair and extremely sensitive issue from the Nixon administration and there are.
Many records and tapes today that have not yet been released by the government because it is still sensitive today.
On the other hand Nixon says if there are further leaks like he Ellsberg leaked like the Pentagon papers and Nixon says I'll do it again.
You can never send your questions or -- to meet you -- for -- connector.
By using your FaceBook or Twitter -- just just beneath me on your screen and we'd love to hear from you and whatever questions you have about the Nixon presidency of the Nixon tapes.
For a loop -- for me.
It seemed to me in that conversation -- that.
At this very sensitive juncture when -- is just had to fire his top aides.
And there's talk of a special prosecutor soon to be appointed.
It struck me that Nixon and Kissinger.
We're kind of circling each other -- early here trying to get a feel for how the other might testify if one or both were forced to do so.
The point we're Kissinger saying -- of course I never knew about these various break ins and investigations words that effect and -- -- doesn't make a difference.
And you don't run away from John Ehrlichman.
And it's and of course we should point out that very few people knew the president was taping Nixon knew.
But ultimately departed chief of staff knew and his -- some of his aides knew.
But Kissinger by all accounts did not know it seems to -- that conversation he seems to have a -- apprehension that he was being recorded do you agree.
I do agree and that's one of the things you see not just in this conversation but in these other 340 hours released.
This past week.
-- you -- -- like Kissinger who didn't know about the system chuck Colson didn't know about the system.
Nixon's top domestic advisor Ehrlichman did not know about the system.
I think the suspicions are beginning to rise.
About two -- -- Kissinger had as it was no secret that Kissinger had his own recording system in his own office.
So it wouldn't be out of the question.
That and there's nothing illegal about it at the time that Nixon might have his own recording systems so you right at the time when there's talk of the special prosecutor being set up.
He has the senate that Ervin committee the senate Watergate Committee is -- have kind of two competing investigations.
That are building momentum.
And it's kind of inevitable at the time in this conversation that White House records are going to be subpoenaed.
Current or former White House staff working for -- Nixon Kissinger.
Our business -- be -- for testimony.
So Nixon and Kissinger are are in -- that together then they share that concern but they also -- concerns differ a little bit because.
They kind of have different interest they have different points of their careers.
They have different futures ahead of them so they also have their own unique way that they're reacting to the events of 71973.
That are going on.
At the time of this conversation.
You make a great point -- about Kissinger also having done extensive telephone recording.
Of his talks with foreign leaders and and and a lot of those conversations have been publishing a book.
That was put up -- the national security archive I think it bears the title Kissinger telephones.
Let's move along toward next conversation all of that was the longest one that we're gonna play today folks by the way was just under five minutes.
The next five conversations we're gonna run through each about a minute long.
And we're gonna take to cook two segments.
From Mayo an Oval Office conversation that was recorded.
On May 31970.
Threes are really the day after the conversation we just heard.
And this features President Nixon talking with the ambassador dated -- Yeah -- just set this up you know dated -- Bruce was one of our most distinguished.
American ambassadors of the entire twentieth century.
He served Republican presidents democratic presidents he served as some of my biggest.
And the -- over season and he was basically retired by the time in this conversation and so Nixon -- some out of retirement -- -- into the Oval Office.
And says you're going to go work for me.
And you're going to be our first ambassador to China and you're gonna set up it wasn't yet called the embassy but you're gonna set up our our liaison office and -- -- In what was then called -- now obviously Beijing let's listen to Richard Nixon President Nixon talking with -- ambassador David Katie bruise on May third.
1973 in the Oval Office.
-- -- We or this or.
-- -- -- As you know historian -- connector joining us from Austin President Nixon pursued -- kind of triangulation strategy with the others with the two major Communist powers China and the USSR.
And the opening to China was part of that right.
That's right -- and I think what's interesting about this conversation this is and not just you that you have the kind of fly on the wall moment.
Here you have the the actual words that Nixon spoke as he was charging David -- and who was on -- -- to China.
But you have to make some kind of telling him in a sense how to do his job.
And here you have David Bruce who had been more or less a career diplomat going back to his OSS days during World War II.
And an operating in during that career under -- State Department protocol rules and Nixon's telling him when you go to China.
You know one of the most important things are not going to be your your official duties which are -- official duties and you should be very active socially.
And what I'd like you to do is if you look at the aging Chinese leaders chairman -- at -- time and premier -- -- line.
It their all and there's no success -- -- then.
Publicized her hand picked there's no kind of next up and coming generation of Chinese young political -- And it averted a Nixon says to it to Bruce that I'd like you do kind of on the social -- kind of feel out.
What we can expect in terms of future Chinese leaders and it likely to report back to me and I'd like you to do so by not going through the State Department.
He's a back channel communication and reported only to -- you are to be my ambassador not the state department's ambassador.
Well in fact.
We have a photograph that shows ambassador Bruce.
With Henry Kissinger in what was then called taking -- with the Chinese -- -- on line.
And obviously this oppose -- of the conversation we just -- let's play another clip from the Nixon brief conversation.
Are -- -- in fact.
The president makes just the sentiments you just described -- Really -- giving voice to the president's deep suspicions.
About the State Department let's listen.
-- -- Okay.
-- Very briefly Lou Y was President Nixon suspicious that the State Department.
Well I think he was suspicious -- Because.
You hear what you have -- are very sensitive -- -- -- being collected on Chinese political leadership.
And I think obviously just it's it's -- common sense I think that the more hands that information passes through.
If it goes up -- -- liaison office over to the State Department and then back down.
Into Washington in the White House the more hands information passes through the greater the likelihood there are leaks.
And this case Nixon's -- not concerned so much for the -- would embarrass him it's that the leaks would embarrass the Chinese.
And this momentum that Nixon has at this stage with the Chinese and building relations.
He doesn't want -- to jeopardize that and it take any chance at all that that that vs assignment would do that.
I think also it's fair to say that Nixon suspicion the State Department dated back to his pursuit of State Department official Alger Hiss.
As a spot a conviction.
In which Nixon was ultimately validated by historical evidence that was released.
So in subsequent -- let's move along -- -- but we're gonna keep our focus on the president's.
The dealings with China.
Here's a conversation from a month later June 41973.
-- certainly on the White House telephone system which is a lot easier to hear.
With Henry Kissinger once again and they're discussing the fact that chairman Mao had invited President Nixon.
To make a second visit to China let's listen.
-- -- -- You know I don't -- significantly I think.
Think that's -- video.
On the significance that red leather thing I was going to -- because it created they're -- they're -- -- -- recuperate.
What it would benefit.
Politically and -- was terrible burden that it had been competitive equity ambassador here.
We think it's very important because when I had a couple of pretty.
Yeah a little bit stronger.
The president and is that I would say that but it's doing that is good.
I think he's a total of eleven straight driver and China and I think everything.
Oh I thought I -- it done.
-- -- That I had a verdict that President Clinton it's good because if you let her go you know but couldn't I had created -- we can do it is a lot of two way.
That could go to the UN rule that they get.
Just come to look at unapproved product.
What I've done it say about that discussion -- connector historian of the Nixon tapes from Texas -- and university joining us from Austin.
Was -- Henry Kissinger.
Tells the president.
That chairman -- invitation for Nixon to visit China second time.
Shows that they intend to deal with the Nixon for the foreseeable future that's almost a kind of a reassurance that Kissinger was trying to give the president he's gonna survive Watergate.
He wouldn't think that most presidents need quite that much bucking up which is one of those certainly one of the -- from this release.
But yeah -- it's important I think for.
Listeners and viewers to.
Can you really have to put yourself in the 1973.
Mindset not a -- thirteen mindset there Dixon hasn't resigned Watergate is kind of just beginning to accelerate.
And in Nixon and Kissinger clearly planning on what are we gonna do this year what are we gonna do next year with the Chinese and the Russians.
And there really mapping out the next three and a half years confidently.
Meanwhile kind of privately because these tapes -- private Nixon obviously needed some reassurance to keep going.
You know on April 30 1973.
Nixon again as -- had mentioned had forced an accepted the resignations of its two closest White -- all the mineral and he -- I prayed that he would die during the night before having to do that Camp David.
He understood I think that his presidency.
Had essentially ground to a halt and that the rest was simply an end game in which he would fight it and eventually to to try to keep control his team to lose.
-- -- so it's kind of remarkable that despite all that.
Here he is talking to David Bruce talking to Henry Kissinger.
-- on the day to day affairs of the presidency and with his particular interest in foreign affairs.
Let's move -- a really special tape recording which you were among the first to.
To understand the importance of and and flag for the rest of us -- this is the only known recording.
In American history.
Of a US USSR summit.
This features President Nixon in the Oval Office talking -- did the Soviet general secretary.
Basically the head honcho of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev.
Along with the only other man present the interpreter.
Victor's car drove.
On June 181973.
So there you have the head of the Soviet Union later -- Brezhnev reassuring President Nixon again at a time where his political troubles are mounting over Watergate.
That the senators the American senators the president had spoken to weren't needling him.
-- -- And again you know using -- 1973.
Frame of reference and 2013.
-- -- now we have a whole generation of of young Americans who the Cold War is ancient history they have no living memory of this.
This conflict forty years fifty year conflict between the US in the Soviet Union.
In this conversation you've got to -- the two most important leaders in the world president of the United States.
You have -- general secretary of Soviet Union the only two leaders in the world capable of destroying the world.
And and their first of all the talking they're getting along they're talking they're negotiating.
And the -- right this recording which was released last week.
And there's no other record -- -- you can hear in the conversation I mean there are no note takers there are no aides present so in this recording was released last week.
You know showing them Nixon and Brezhnev kind of book choreograph -- presence -- upcoming weeklong summit.
This was the first time that we have a record of this conversation and it's it -- not going to be another one like this it's fascinating.
Give me fifteen to twenty seconds on this -- we can fit in our final tape recording -- Conservatives today look back on this kind of following US US is our relations over which President Nixon and Henry Kissinger presided so called -- As a kind of on a dark period.
And did they prefer to celebrate.
Ronald Reagan for taking a more aggressive posture seemed.
Collapsing the Soviet Union your thoughts.
Yes that is -- -- -- that's kind of an arc of history but I think you know as records like these become available.
You know you know Nixon knew at the time and -- still.
True in many ways today Nixon at the time was criticized by those on the right analyzed for what he did and he really had.
-- took a lot of risk in these initiatives to -- in the Soviet Union because he had no constituency any longer.
And -- what these records -- show and -- more records become available.
I think what we're seeing that -- in all likelihood.
-- Reagan era was not possible without the Nixon era.
And what these records show is is an enormous foundation.
A deep foundation that was laid in terms of US Soviet dialogue and with the Chinese that was necessary for the Reagan era.
Speaking Ronald Reagan our final Nixon -- we're gonna play today.
Is the telephone conversation between President Nixon.
And then California governor Ronald Reagan.
This was recorded April 301973.
After Nixon had fired his works -- the resignations of his top aides and middle.
A lengthy televised speech on Watergate.
And this was recorded at around 10:45.
PM at night on that evening let's listen.
-- whatever it's worth.
I think Obama.
We're still behind you out here and -- I wanted to know if you're at Harvard.
-- very significant.
Let me tell you this if that we get -- -- He -- because it's different religion you know there has got them wrong.
We have got to build peace in the world and that's what -- -- you know.
Even if you're -- and -- accumulation will appreciate you're probably in good morning.
Grew -- -- -- city where you -- where it is pretty girl and I.
And I heard her pull -- out.
I think reluctant.
To that I -- -- politic here.
Everywhere about my little girl.
Maybe we didn't do what she writes speeches and I did very much so there.
Just based on this sound of his voice it's my suspicion which we will never probably confirm that.
President Nixon might have a couple car just before that call.
He's clearly not himself in this conversation he just made the most difficult decision of this presidency.
He let -- Haldeman Ehrlichman.
He told David Frost later that was like losing your son's cutting off your right arm and cutting off your left arm.
So he was not himself and and not just Reagan but numerous other officials called Nixon that night to kind of bucked him up keep going.
I kind of a similar tone of them the earlier conversation with Henry Kissinger.
Blue connector associate professor of history in Texas -- and university is presently co editing with the prestigious historian Douglas Brinkley.
A new volume on the Nixon tapes when will that be out.
We -- Is a lot of work and the release of last week gives me even more work to do.
But -- -- aiming for August 9 2014 Soviet fortieth anniversary of Richard Nixon's resignation.
-- Douglas Brinkley passed guest here on the fox holes well -- Victor thanks so much for.
Taking time to right over -- -- and to dissect some of these fascinating recordings with us.
Also folks if you want to read more about this you can check out on the foxnews.com website or Fox News politics dot com.
And you can see my article.
About these tapes that we've just played with -- -- Thanks so much for visiting us here in the fox -- and James Rosen from Washington.
Seen a couple of weeks.
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