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But this practice was only sometimes followed, and it was, in any case, an inadequate expedient.A third reason why Nixon wanted an accurate record of his presidency was for his eventual use in preparing his memoirs and other writing projects that he might undertake after his term of office was over.
Nixon abhorred the idea of taping the president's meetings and telephone conversations.
He ordered the equipment removed immediately when he came to the White House, as he did Johnson's triple television monitor system and his ticker-tape machine.
Something had to be done, both Nixon and I agreed, to ensure that we possessed an accurate record of what was said in meetings. We tried for a time including a note-taker in meetings. Nixon was opposed to it from the beginning, and trying it only confirmed him in his dislike.
He had had note-takers forced on him by the State Department during his foreign travels as vice president.
I want to use the proximity of this important occasion to put forward, in a fuller way than I did ten years ago in was necessarily focused on Watergate, and it was unfortunately sensational in many instances where I would have preferred it to be more reasoned and thorough.
Watergate Scandal Essays
This essay is for me the first step in what I anticipate will be a much larger project of my recollections of and reflections on the men and events that made up the presidency of Richard Nixon.Sometimes the error was honest; Nixon often knew much more about a subject than the person he was meeting with, and misunderstanding sometimes resulted from this.More often, though, the inaccurate reports had more self-serving motives.How could one be sure the translations were accurate, and that the president and the foreign leader knew what one another was talking about?Nixon often took with him into such meetings some staff person—not a translator, but someone perhaps from the National Security Council who properly belonged in the meeting—who knew the other language and could assure him after the meeting was over that the translation had been accurate.It was hidden in the upper part of a closet just next to the fireplace.The electronic gear was really quite imposing to two such technical tyros as Nixon and me, and we naturally supposed that quite a lot of the business of the Johnson White House had been tape recorded.It is the first of what in the next several years will be a series of openings.The time has finally come, almost fifteen years after the end of the Nixon administration, when one may reasonably look forward to hearing at least the unclassified and otherwise un-restrictable portions of the White House tapes.The National Archives' processing of the tapes is virtually complete, and the agency is nearly ready to go forward with a schedule of phased openings.The opening of the entire four thousand hours of the White House tapes is—at least in scholarship's geological sense of time—just around the corner.