Miller Center

You need a team

This recording is presented as part of the Watergate Collection.
Date: Tuesday, June 1, 1971 - 1:38pm - 2:05pm
Participants: Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman
Location: Oval Office
 

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Editors' Note: An earlier version of portions of this transcript was published as: Stanley Kutler, Abuse of Power, p.15

President Nixon: I think you need a team. This is a big job. But you need a commander of the team and maybe--”

Bob Haldeman: Well, this was [Richard] Allen's point.1

President Nixon: Maybe--Incidentally, Allen should not be a commander, should he? All right. But shouldn't [Charles] Colson be, when you come down to it, Bob? Is this--”are we--”

Haldeman: Probably.

President Nixon: Are we putting too much of a load [unclear]? What is--”

Haldeman: Well, it's structured so he can get--”

President Nixon: He's got a lot of people working for him, hasn't he?

Haldeman: Yeah. And he's got good people. And he's--”you know, that--”

President Nixon: His instincts are particularly good.

Pause.

Haldeman: All right.

President Nixon: I think we ought to consider this fellow. I think we ought to put him over here. You know, on temporary duty for the purpose of working on this.

Haldeman: Well, the beauty of this type of CIA guy is that--”

President Nixon: USIA.2

Haldeman: Oh, you're talking about this guy now?

President Nixon: Well, either one of them.

Haldeman: OK.

President Nixon: Both sound good.

Haldeman: The CIA guy, the fact he's working outside, we can just hire him as a consultant. 

President Nixon: Yeah. Right.

Haldeman: There's some merit to getting a guy from outside.

President Nixon: Right. Good. Fine.

Haldeman: If he knows his way around here.

President Nixon: Good.

Haldeman: We can get this guy, too.

President Nixon: This guy, just get him from [Frank] Shakespeare and bring him over. 3

Haldeman: Just have him assigned here.

President Nixon: I like the idea of a young bearcat who thinks there is a conspiracy. I'd put him on the conspiracy side, with the CIA guy, you know, on the declassification side.

  1. The President was interested in putting Republican foreign policy expert Richard Allen in charge of the administration's response to the leak of the Pentagon Papers.
  2. The acronym USIA stands for United States Information Agency.
  3. Frank Shakespeare was the director of the U.S. Information Agency.