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Conversation: 726-001

Prev: 725-043 Next: 726-002

Start Date: 19-May-1972 10:30 AM

End Date: 19-May-1972 11:42 AM

Participants:

Nixon, Richard M. (President)Haldeman, H. R. ("Bob")Ziegler, Ronald L.[Unknown person(s)]Kissinger, Henry A.Agnew, Spiro T. (Vice President)White House operatorBull, Stephen B.Moorer, Thomas H. (Adm.)

Recording Device: Oval Office

Full Tape Conversation Start Time: 00:03:06

Full Tape Conversation End Time: 01:13:20

726a.mp3

726b.mp3

NARA Description:

On May 19, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon, H. R. ("Bob") Haldeman, Ronald L. Ziegler, unknown person(s), Henry A. Kissinger, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, White House operator, Stephen B. Bull, and Adm. Thomas H. Moorer met in the Oval Office of the White House from 10:30 am to 11:42 am. The Oval Office taping system captured this recording, which is known as Conversation 726-001 of the White House Tapes.

Nixon Library Finding Aid:

Conversation No. 726-1

Date: May 19, 1972
Time: 10:30 am - 11:42 am
Location: Oval Office

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

     Vietnam
          -Press coverage
                -Response
                -Spiro T. Agnew's speech
                      -Wording
          -New York Times
                -Kenneth W. Clawson response to Anthony Lewis column
                -North Vietnam propaganda
                -Ship movements
                -Administration response
                -Criticism of President's policies

     Henry A. Kissinger
         -Location
         -Jacob K. Javits
               -Dinner with Kissinger
               -Lack of support for President's policies
         -Dinner with Stewart J.O. Alsop
               -Joseph W. Alsop

      Pentagon
          -Bomb explosion
               -Suspects
               -"Weathermen"
               -Note
               -Telephone call
               -Washington Post

     Vietnam
          -Press reports on Soviet ships
                -Administration response
                     -Charles W. Colson
                     -Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
                     -Robert J. McCloskey
                -Coverage
                     -St. Louis Post-Dispatch
                                                2

                       NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                         Tape Subject Log
                                           (rev. Jan-02)    Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                       -New York Times
                       -Washington Post
                       -Wire reports

     West Wing waiting room
          -Current situation
               -Shared with a secretary
          -Separate room for distinguished guests

Ronald L. Ziegler entered at 10:36 am.

     Agnew's trip
         -Meeting with press
                -Tone
                -Content
                -Report on Saigon and South Vietnam

     George C. Wallace
         -President’s visit
               -Wire reports
               -Ziegler’s press briefing

Ziegler left at 10:38 am.

     Public support for President
          -Meeting with unidentified black woman
                -Vietnam
          -Possible trips throughout US

     Soviet trip
          -Television reports
                 -Charles W. Colson
                 -Administration response
                 -Speeches
                 -Articles
          -Press speculation

     Wallace
          -President's visit
                -Handling
                -Discussion
                -President's Soviet trip
                                              3

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)


******************************************************************

BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 1
[Personal Returnable]
[Duration: 1m 59s ]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 1

**********************************************************************


     Kissinger
          -Location

Haldeman talked with an unknown person at an unknown time between 10:38 and 10:48 am.

[Conversation No. 726-1A]

[End of telephone conversation]

          -Meeting with President and Agnew

     George S. McGovern

     Van Cliburn
         -Possible appearance
               -Soviet Union trip
         -Soviets' response
         -Carnegie Hall concert
               -Playing of Star Spangled Banner
               -Audience response
         -Possible appearance
               -President's dinner in Soviet Union
               -Parallel to dinner for Gen. Charles A.J.M. DeGaulle
               -Jascha Heifetz

     Radio Free Europe
          -Uses
                -Kissinger's views
                -Soviet Union
                -Poland
                                              4

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)               Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

          -Kissinger
                -Meeting with President
                -The President’s view
                -People’s Republic of China [PRC]
          -Poland
          -Soviet Union
          -Mention of freedom
          -President's trip
                -News reports
                -Wording
          -Poland
          -Mention of freedom, religion
          -Kissinger
                -The President’s view
                      -Briefing books

     Agnew's schedule

Haldeman talked with Kissinger at unknown time between 10:38 and 10:48 am.

[Conversation No. 726-1B]

     Kissinger
          -Meeting with President and Agnew
               -Time
               -Message

[End of telephone conversation]

     Wallace
          -Harry S. Dent's analysis

     President's policies
          -Support
                 -Busing
                 -Welfare
                 -Vietnam
          -President's attitude
                 -Resignations

     Soviet trip
          -William P. Rogers
                 -Adele (Langston) Rogers
                                                5

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. Jan-02)    Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                      -Poland trip
                      -Soviet Union trip
                 -Future trips with President
                 -Adele Rogers's schedule

Kissinger entered at 10:48 am.

     President's message

Agnew entered at 10:48 am.

     Greetings

     Time

     Agnew's trip
         -Itinerary
                -Japan
                -Bangkok
                -Vietnam
         -Fundraiser
                -Tricia Nixon Cox
                -Leslie T. (“Bob”) Hope
         -Press briefing

Haldeman left at 10:51 am.

     Vietnam
          -North Vietnam offensive
               -Kontum
               -B-52 strikes
               -Number
               -Intelligence reports
               -North Vietnam attacks
               -Delays
               -Statements for Agnew
               -Loss
          -An Loc
               -Possible loss
          -Hue
               -Possible loss
          -An Loc
          -Kontum
                                     6

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                            Tape Subject Log
                              (rev. Jan-02)                    Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

      -Possible loss
      -Pleiku
-Casualties
-New York Times coverage
      -Lewis
      -The President;s view
-Blockade
      -Lewis column
            -Failure
      -New York Times article
            -Polish ship
            -East German ships
                  -Unloading difficulties in Haiphong
                        -Time in harbor
      -Polish ship
            -Date of arrival in Haiphong
      -Mining
            -Effectiveness
                  -Kissinger’s view
-Previous National Security Council [NSC] meeting
      -Melvin R. Laird
            -Pentagon
      -Rogers
      -Richard M. Helms
            -Intelligence community
      -Agnew
      -John B. Connally
      -Parallel To 1968 Report
            -The President’s view
            -Guerrilla war compared with mechanized war
            -Supply lines
                  -Sihanoukville
                  -Transport of war material to III and IV Corps
                  -Cambodia incursion
                  -Precision bombing of North Vietnam
-Blockade
      -Impact
      -Supplies
-Air strikes
      -Railroads
            -Destruction
      -Petroleum, oil, and lubricants [POL]
            -Destruction
                                   7

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                           Tape Subject Log
                             (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                  -Percentage in Haiphong, Hanoi and Environs
                       -Photographs
            -Pumping stations
      -Hanoi
            -Power Stations
      -Rails
            -Bridges to PRC
                  -Effect
                       -Trucking of POL
                             -Problems
-Blockade
      -Use of PRC ports
      -Destinations
            -Haiphong
            -Vladivostok
            -Odessa
-Agnew's use of information
      -Report from French Ambassador
      -India-Pakistan War
      -Reports from North Vietnam
      -Sources
-Soviet Summit
      -Impact on North Vietnam
-Air strikes
      -Bridge destruction
            -PRC response
                  -Chou En-lai
      -Limits
            -American pilots in PRC
      -PRC response
            -Soviet ships
            -Overland movement to North Vietnam
-Blockade
      -Public support for President
            -Poll percentages
      -Soviet Summit
            -Impact
      -North Vietnam morale
      -US troop morale
            -Television reports
      -South Vietnam Morale
            -Improvements
            -US press reports
                                         8

                NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                Tape Subject Log
                                  (rev. Jan-02)                   Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                -Nguyen Van Thieu
          -Impact on North Vietnam
     -North Vietnam offensive
          -Gains
                -Quang Tri
          -Limits
          -An Loc
          -Kontum
     -Impact of air strikes and blockade
     -Hue
          -US holding action
          -Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr. report
          -Kontum

Agnew's previous trip to Japan
    -Report to President
    -Japan
          -Reversion ceremonies
               -Agnew’s view
          -Eisaku Sato
               -Remarks
                      -References to US
                            -[Unintelligible]
          -[Emperor of Japan] Hirohito
               -Audience
          -Protocol for Agnew
          -Emperor Hirohito
               -Anchorage Visit
               -Possible visit to US
          -Support for the President’s Southeast Asia policies
               -Relations with US
                      -Sato
               -Takeo Fukuda
               -Kakuei Tanaka
                      -Fukuda
               -Liberal Democrats
               -Sato
                      -President's visit to PRC
                            -Impact on Japan
                      -Japanese-US ties
                            -Economic
               -Fukuda
                      -United Nations [UN] Security Council seat for Japan
                                  9

          NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                          Tape Subject Log
                            (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                        -US position
                  -Possible successor to Sato
                        -Tanaka
            -Foreign Minister
                  -Agnew's meeting
            -Tanaka
                  -Agnew's meeting
      -Future leaders
            -Stance toward the US
                  -Sato's report
      -Liberal Democratic Party
            -Strength
            -Opposition
                  -Communist and Social parties
            -Demonstrations
                  -Reversion
                  -Police handling
-Indochina
-Lt. Gen. T.N.J. Suharto visit to Japan
      -Sato
            -View of Indochinese
            -Agnew’s response
      -Suharto compared with Thieu
            -Thieu
            -Ellsworth F. Bunker's view of Thieu
      -Sato
      -View of Indochinese leadership
-Vietnam
      -Meeting with Thieu, Bunker, and Abrams
      -Meeting with Bunker and Abrams
            -Tan Son Nhut
            -View of Army of the Republic of Vietnam [ARVN] capacities
      -Thieu
            -Demeanor
            -Briefing on North Vietnam offensive
            -Response to North Vietnam
                  -Counter attacks
                        -Time
      -North Vietnam offensive
            -Strategy
                  -Territorial forces
                  -Political structure
                  -Quang-Tri
                                  10

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                          Tape Subject Log
                            (rev. Jan-02)                      Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                -Hue
                -An Loc
                -Kontum
                -Pleiku
                -Coalition government
      -Thieu
            -View of mining
                  -South Vietnam capacities
                        -Timing
      -Air Strikes
            -Effectiveness
            -South Vietnam morale
            -North Vietnam supplies and morale
            -B-52s
                  -Impact
                  -Effectiveness
      -Kontum
            -North Vietnam Losses
                  -Intelligence reports
                        -North Vietnam regiments
            -Thieu, Bunker and Abrams view on retention
                  -Pleiku Road
-Military Region One
      -Gen. Ngo Quang Truong
      -South Vietnam defense
      -Strategy
      -Air strikes
            -Surface-to-air [SAM] missiles
                  -Movement
                  -Hanoi, Haiphong, demilitarized zone [DMZ]
-Air strikes
      -Commando operations in North Vietnam
            -The President’s view
            -Discussion in State Department
            -South Vietnam force
            -Discussion with Thieu
      -Meeting with Thieu
            -An Loc, Kontum, Hue
            -Strike into North Vietnam
                  -Thieu's position
      -Air strikes
            -Bridges
                  -Haiphong, Hanoi, Paul Doumer bridge
                                              11

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)                   Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                     -Effectiveness
                     -POL
                     -Rail lines

The President signaled the White House operator at an unknown time between 10:51 am and
11:16 am.

[Conversation No. 726-1C]

[See Conversation No. 24-156]

                -Limits place on Air Force bombing

[The above portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation No.
726-1C].

                     -Reaction by US Air Force [USAF]
                           -Kissinger’s view
                     -Air Force Chief of Staff
                           -Kissinger’s view
                     -Kissinger’s orders
                     -Adm. John S. McCain, Jr.

The President talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 10:51 am and
11:16 am.

[Conversation No. 726-1D]

[See Conversation No. 24-157]

[End of telephone conversation]

                     -Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
                          -Location
                     -Targets
                          -Buffer zone
                               -Restrictions
                                     -Hanoi area
                          -Reluctance
                               -Reasons
                     -Moorer
                          -Meeting with President and Kissinger
                          -Location
                                               12

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)


Stephen B. Bull entered at 11:16 am.

Bull talked with Moorer between 11:16 am and 11:17 am.

[Conversation No. 726-1E]

[See Conversation No. 24-158]

[End of telephone conversation]

     Moorer
         -Location
         -Meeting with President and Kissinger

Bull left at an unknown time at or before 11:17 am.

     Agnew's trip
         -Vietnam
                -Air strikes
                -M-36s

[The above portion of the office conversation took place simultaneously with Conversation No.
726-1E]

     Vietnam
          -Air Force
                -Limits
                      -President's orders
                -The President’s view
                -Responsibility
                -Problems
                -Gen. John D. Ryan
                      -Replacement
                      -The President’s view
                -The President’s view
                -Attitude
                      -Compared with the Israeli Air Force

Moorer entered at 11:17 am.

     Greetings
                                      13

               NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                              Tape Subject Log
                                (rev. Jan-02)                    Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

Vietnam
     -Air strikes
           -Limits
                 -Comments from South Vietnam and Pearl Harbor
                       -Reports to Agnew
           -Ryan
                 -Replacement
                 -The President’s view
                       -Ryan’s son
           -President's orders
           -Restrictions
                 -Reasons
                 -Hanoi
                       -Distance
                       -Duration
           -Air Force
                 -Reasons For Performance
                       -The President’s view
                       -Press reports
                       -Reports to Agnew
           -Commanders
                 -Replacements
                       -Air Force Chief of Staff
           -President's orders
                 -Ryan
                 -McCain
           -Retrictions
                 -Reaction
                       -Reasons
           -Air Force
           -Performances
                 -Moorer’s view
                 -Reason
                 -The President’s view
           -Israeli Air Force
           -B-52s
                 -Location
                 -Abrams's report
           -Attitude
           -Support of President
           -Ryan
                 -Possible resignation
                       -The President’s view
                                                14

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Jan-02)                  Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

                -Hanoi
                     -POL
                -Comments to Agnew
                -Restricted areas
                     -Implementation
                           -Date
                -Changes
                     -Moorer's responsibility
                     -Time
                     -Methods

Moorer left at 11:22 am.

     Vietnam
          -Air strikes
                -Raids
                -President's orders
                -Attitude
                -Weather
                -Number of sorties in past week
                -Ceiling
          -Blockade
                -Reaction
                -Laird, Defense Department, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency
                      [CIA]
          -Air strikes
                -Air Force
                      -Changes
                            -Ryan
                            -Moorer
                -Restrictions
                      -Implementation
                            -Date and duration
                      -PRC border
                            -Bridges
                      -Hanoi
                            -Soviet Embassy
                            -Power plant

     Kissinger
          -Meeting with Congressional Leaders
               -Strategic Arms Limitation Talks [SALT]
                                            15

                       NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)                Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

     Vietnam
          -Air strikes
                -Authorization
                      -Power plants
                      -Hanoi
                      -Haiphong
                      -Restrictions
                      -Number of targets
                            -Time
                -Reason for action
                      -Losses
                            -B-52s
                            -Hanoi area
                                  -SAMs
                                  -Air Force responsibility
                                        -Compared with US Navy and Haiphong
                      -Air Force
                -Hanoi
                      -President's orders
                      -Haiphong targets compared with Hanoi targets
                -B-52 strikes
                -President's orders
                -Abrams's attitude

     Kissinger
          -SALT meeting

Kissinger left at 11:25 am.

     Vietnam
          -Air strikes
                -Air Force responsibility

     Agnew's trip
         -Vietnam
                -Abrams
                     -South Vietnam bombing
                     -The President’s view
         -Thailand
                -Leaders
                     -Attitude towards blockade
                -US air bases
                     -Economic benefits
                                       16

                NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                               Tape Subject Log
                                 (rev. Jan-02)              Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

         -North East insurgency
               -US military aid
                     -Helicopters
                          -Congress
                                -Funds
                          -Agnew talk with Laird
                          -Need for action
                          -Agnew report to President
                     -Armored vehicles
                          -Number unused
                          -Significance
                     -Small unit communications equipment
         -Drug traffic
               -Opium
               -Lester L. Wolff
                     -Opium Destruction Program
                          -Credit
                          -Thais
                          -PRC
         -Military briefing by Agnew
         -Support for President's policies
         -Leonard Unger
               -Views on Vietnam
               -Replacement
               -The President’s view
               -Beliefs
     -Ambassador Bunker
         -Attitude toward President's policies
         -Attitude toward Thieu

Vietnam
     -Agnew's press briefing
          -President's policies
                -Success
                      -Vietnamization
          -North Vietnam offensive
                -Failure
                      -US Pacification Program
                      -Reason
          -President's policies
                -Success
     -Soviet Summit
          -Soviet attitude toward North Vietnam
                                       17

               NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                               Tape Subject Log
                                 (rev. Jan-02)     Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

          -Settlement
                -Failure
                      -Consequences
                           -Destruction of Hanoi
                           -Civilian casualties
    -Air strikes
          -Hanoi power plant
          -Report to Agnew at Guam
          -B-52s
    -McCain
          -Possible retention
          -Son [John S. McCain, III]
                -POW
          -Extension of command
    -Abrams
          -Agnew’s view
          -Meeting with Agnew
          -Attitude toward air strikes
          -Strategy
                -An Loc
                -Kontum
                -South Vietnam morale
                -Targets
                      -Thieu's position
    -President's policies
          -Blockade
          -North Vietnam bombing
    -B-52s
          -Use in South Vietnam
          -Number
          -Limitations
          -Carriers
          -Marine squadrons
                -Number
                -Japan
                -Thailand

Agnew's trip
    -Japan
    -Thailand
    -Consultations
           -Leaks
    -Japan
                                           18

                    NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                    Tape Subject Log
                                      (rev. Jan-02)                Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

         -South Vietnam, Saigon
         -Agnew's report to press
              -Success

    Wallace
         -President's previous visit
         -Possible Agnew visit
               -Timing
         -Condition
               -Paralysis
                     -Extent
                     -Doctor's reports
               -Attitude
         -President's visit
               -American flag
         -Possible Agnew visit
               -President's suggestion
               -Agnew's statement
               -Call to Cornelia Wallace
               -Arrangements
               -Dr. William M. Lukash
               -Purpose

    Agnew's schedule
        -Rest
        -A dinner
              -Tricia Nixon Cox
              -John Wayne, Francis A. (“Frank”) Sinatra, Hope, James (“Jimmy”) Stewart
              -Fundraiser


**********************************************************************

BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 5
[Personal Returnable]
[Duration: 22s ]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 5

**********************************************************************
                                             19

                     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Jan-02)                Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)

     Wallace
          -Gun control legislation
                -Herbert L. (“Herblock”) Block cartoon
                -Sick society
                -President's proposed legislation
          -Advocates
          -Sick society
          -Assassination attempt on Franklin D. Roosevelt and [Mayor Anton Cermak]
          -Assassination attempt on Harry S. Truman
                -Blair House
                -Killing of Secret Service agent
          -Shooting in House of Representatives
          -Price of free society
          -Dictatorships
                -Soviet Union
                      -Firearms
          -Sick society
                -Rebuttals
                      -Roosevelt
                      -Truman

     John B. Connally
          -Plans
               -Return to Texas
                    -Brother


**********************************************************************

BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 7
[Personal Returnable]
[Duration: 2m 48s ]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 7

**********************************************************************


     Agnew
         -Press briefing

[This conversation continues on Conversation No. 726-2]
                                              20

                        NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Jan-02)                   Conv. No. 726-1 (cont.)