Miller Center

President Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford on Antiwar Demonstrations

The last massive demonstration in Washington, DC, against the Vietnam War took place in May of 1971. The "Mayday Tribe" promised to disrupt the operation of the government by stopping traffic and thus preventing federal employees from getting to work. Police arrested literally thousands of people in dragnets that captured demonstrators and bystanders alike, detaining many in a football field. The charges against many were thrown out as illegal and unconstitutional, but Nixon was pleased. A few days later he had his press secretary tell reporters that Washington would handle similar protests in a similar way. In this May 5, 1971, conversation, Nixon discusses public reaction with House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford (R-Michigan), who would succeed Nixon as president, and Attorney General John Mitchell.

Date:  May 05, 1971
Participants:  Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, John Mitchell
Conversation Number:  492-003

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