Miller Center

The Taping System Logistics

This recording is presented as part of the Watergate Collection.
Date: Monday, April 9, 1973 - 2:05pm - 6:33pm
Participants: Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman
Location: Oval Office


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An earlier transcript of this conversation appears in Stanley Kutler, Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes, (New York: The Free Press, 1997), p.297.

Bob Haldeman: On your other thing, the--we'll have it changed. And I've--I don't--I've got to find out what the date is that it will start. They're not sure, but I'll--then I'll look back and pull out what we want and get rid of the rest of it. Now, they have now--

President Nixon: Just tell them that it's national security. Just tell them [unclear] national security.

Haldeman: That's right. That's right, and we want to get rid of the rest of it.

President Nixon: That's right. [Unclear.]

Haldeman: And that you're, from now on--

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Haldeman: [Unclear.] The way it works--I'd forgotten--is that they have, you know, the Secret Service locator signal and it tells what office you're in. And that also activates this thing, so that it only works, for instance, in this office when you're in it or in the other office when you're in it. And it doesn't work at other times.

President Nixon: I'd rather not [unclear].

Haldeman: But from now on it will only be when you turn it on. The other thing that they have on there which was--I'd forgotten it, but we instructed it sometime quite a ways back--is your telephone here and in your Oval Office and, I think, in your Lincoln Sitting Room.

President Nixon: Oh, they record those?

Haldeman: On this same thing. It goes into the same thing. Well, we can take those off if you want to [unclear].

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

At this point in the conversation the recording is marred by frequent tape whipping sounds.

Haldeman: [tape whips] Or leave them on if you want to. [Unclear.] I remember now [unclear] conversations [unclear] your phone at Camp David. There's nothing [unclear].

President Nixon: [Unclear.] There I guess they've got the [Henry] Kissinger conversations. [Unclear.] They don't monitor--there's no way--they don't know who you're talking with?

Haldeman: No, there's nobody there. This is all done automatically. [Unclear.] If you want to, very simply, just--no-one would know [unclear] they'll only hear [unclear] and it's all built in. This machine comes on. [Unclear.] [Showing the President how to record phone conversations.] You put that like that. Yours isn't connected so it's just running, and it isn't doing anything. If it were connected to this phone it would record the phone conversation on one of these tapes. [Unclear] have that capability put on your phones which a number of us have. That's a standard and perfectly legal device. [Unclear.] So that if you were having a phone conversation you wanted to record you could [unclear] that when you start and it'll do it.

President Nixon: [Unclear] maybe now, not what we do for the future on the phone conversations. On the phone conversations I don't think I need this.

Haldeman: Well, I think they're just mixed in with the rest of the tapes, though. On the date, periods that I've pulled out it'll include your office and phone [unclear]. In other words, it just works in the chronology.

President Nixon: Well, that's what I would want--

Haldeman: So it'll be there on the old stuff. The question is what do you want to continue, whether you want to continue--

President Nixon: Well, good. Well, then you'll take the phone thing out then, right? And then let all the others [unclear]. I think in the future that I want to have a thing when I have to record my telephone conversations.

Haldeman: Taken off your phone?

President Nixon: [Unclear] very significant I'd just mark it and I'd say, "For this date keep the tape, and then all the rest you destroy."

Haldeman: [Unclear.] Oh, and the phone tapes?

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: In other words, record them all and then destroy them periodically?

President Nixon: Right. Right. Because I would just say, "Well, this tape I'd like to have recorded." I think that would be worthwhile.

Haldeman: All right.

President Nixon: Might [unclear] have an important call [unclear].

Haldeman: Well, and I don't think--see, you can put that thing on the phone anywhere and there's no problem. If you set up your other thing at Camp David, then the military know you have it as well as the Secret Service. I just don't think [unclear].

President Nixon: This one you just [unclear] on the phone line.

Haldeman: You can't see it. It's just a little wire that goes off the phone.

President Nixon: It plugs on there, then I put this on?

Haldeman: You just click it in the telephone whenever you want to record, and it records, and you turn it off when you don't.

President Nixon: Oh, it does? [Unclear] turn it off.

Haldeman: You have to turn it off

President Nixon: You--we'll put that in there, and otherwise I would do it the way that I've suggested.

Haldeman: All right.

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Haldeman: OK.