Miller Center

If It Blows, It Blows

This recording is presented as part of the Watergate Collection.
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 1972 - 10:33am - 11:50am
Participants: Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman
Location: Oval Office


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Extracted from Conversation 758-011

Bob Haldeman: It’s too early to say, but it would appear that—and given a very difficult situation and no cooperation from Justice-

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: Either FBI or [Richard] Kleindienst-

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: --that our guys have done a--and these two lawyers that the committees hired, have done a superb job in really keeping this thing--

President Nixon: Cool up to this point [unclear]--

Haldeman: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: Let’s be--let’s just be fatalistic about the goddamn thing.

Haldeman: If it blows, it blows.

President Nixon: And if it blows, it blows. And so what?

Haldeman: And we’ll ride it out.

President Nixon: We didn’t have to kick [Spiro] Agnew off the ticket, did we? So what is this?

Haldeman: Exactly. We’ll ride it out.  

President Nixon: So what is this? I’m not that worried about it, to be perfectly candid with you.

Haldeman: Well, it’s worth a lot of work to try and keep it from blowing.

President Nixon: Oh, Christ, yes. I still don’t like the idea.

Haldeman: But if it blows, we’ll survive. It isn’t something—

President Nixon: After all, [John] Mitchell’s gone. And as we’ve all pointed out, nobody at a higher level was involved, the White House not being involved and all that stuff. The Cuban crap in there. The Cubans are going to plead not guilty, too? Or are they going to--

Haldeman: I don’t know. But everybody’s satisfied. They’re all out of jail. They’ve all been taken care of. They’ve now all . . .

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: They’ve done a lot of discrete checking to be sure there’s no discontent in the ranks. And there isn’t any.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: They’re all--

President Nixon:  All out on bail.

Haldeman: [Howard] Hunt’s happy.

President Nixon: At considerable cost, I guess?

Haldeman: Yes.

President Nixon: It’s worth it.

Haldeman: It’s very expensive. It’s, it’s a costly—

President Nixon: That’s what the money’s for.

Haldeman: --exercise. But that’s better spent than . . .

President Nixon: Well, they took a hell of a risk and they have to be paid. That’s all there is to that.

Haldeman: Yep.

President Nixon: They have to be paid. Although, I must say that--and I know I am kind of second guessing--but whoever made the decision--

Haldeman: Was pretty damn stupid.

President Nixon: --was about as stupid a thing as I ever heard. I mean, that [unclear].

Haldeman: But whoever did has suffered for his sins.

President Nixon: I know. Oh, no, don’t--

Haldeman: Bloodied.

President Nixon: Never blamed. The poor son of a bitch--what the hell--got such a stupid goddamn idea. He must have gotten it from Hunt. Sounds like him, does it not? Hunt—[Gordon] Liddy, I mean. I can’t think of anybody in our, in that organization . . . [Jeb] Magruder wouldn’t think up such a damn thing. He isn’t--

Haldeman: I can’t conceive that he would.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: I think it’s Liddy. Liddy apparently is a guy that just, you know-

President Nixon: Hates them.

Haldeman: Well, lives on this kind of stuff.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: He loves …

President Nixon: Now, he’s resigned?

Haldeman: Long time--No, he was fired.

President Nixon: Fired, for not cooperating?

Haldeman: He was fired for not cooperating with the FBI. Long time ago, right at his, right at his first--

President Nixon: He will be—he will be--That’s already been printed, hasn’t it? And Hunt, it’s been printed that he’s refused to talk to anybody. That’s right.

Haldeman: I don’t know where Hunt stands.

President Nixon: [Unclear] not here. You know, they might just be so silly they’re thinking of putting [Larry] O’Brien on there, putting him on this committee—this case [unclear] case about the Watergate and so forth.

Haldeman: That’d be very [unclear] that.

President Nixon: There’s not that much--I don’t know of--I never discount the kind of crap that the press will put it to us on a thing like this. But Bob, it does not, we’ve, we have stayed completely away from it. I’ve stayed completely away from it. And we will-- [Clark] MacGregor, of course, will take a, as he should, a holier-than-thou attitude. I will.

Haldeman: [Unclear.]

President Nixon: Right?

Haldeman: Yeah. And we’ve kept [Charles] Colson clear of it, which is—

President Nixon: Yeah. [Unclear] knowing everybody is difficult.

Haldeman: And if we can hold up this civil thing then they won’t get – see they, they’ve served Ed Wilson.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: On a discovery deal. But they’ll-- 

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: The motion will be made on a civil suit to suspend all activity on that, pending the outcome of the criminal action.

President Nixon: We are still trying, are we, to--doing our best to be sure that the various groups that are [unclear] political hanky-panky are kept under indictment, or whatever it is, or charged, until after the election, on the other side. Know what I mean? That veterans group, down there in Florida [unclear]. You remember? 

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: The [unclear] stuff. In the end you’ve got have the veterans. You’ve got to pardon everybody.

Haldeman: Yeah. Well, what we’re trying to do is get some more. Some other actions on the other side that—so you’ve got some--

President Nixon: It’s hard to find them. Well, not necessarily.

Haldeman: Well, I think we’ll find some more.

President Nixon: They’re going to be doing something.

Haldeman: They’ll be doing something.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: And maybe catch some on some bad raps. 

President Nixon: You mean, like what?

Haldeman: Where they appear to be doing something. We may get some pretty good chances at the Republican Convention.

President Nixon: Oh, you mean, of course, riots and that sort of thing? Yeah. And violence.

Haldeman: Yeah. Then we’ll hang on to that for a while and then let them all go.