Melvin R. Laird (1969–1973) - Secretary of Defense [cite this] ↑Richard Nixon Home Page Melvin Laird was born on September 1, 1922, in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College, Minnesota (1942) and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He succeeded his father in the Wisconsin State Senate (1946-1952) and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1952-1969), eventually becoming chairman of the House Republican Conference. Laird served Nixon as secretary of defense (1969-1973) and as counselor to the president on domestic affairs (1973-1974). He resigned during the Watergate crisis and later worked as senior counselor for national and international affairs for Reader's Digest. Richard Nixon Essays Life in Brief Life Before the Presidency Campaigns and Elections Domestic Affairs Foreign Affairs Life After the Presidency Family Life Impact and Legacy [ print all essays ] Richard Nixon Home Citation Information Consulting Editor Ken Hughes Mr. Hughes coordinates the team of scholars reviewing and transcribing President Richard M. Nixon’s White House tapes, as part of the Presidential Recordings Project at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. American President has changed! Click here to take a short survey and tell us what you think!