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Q. Mr. President, earlier in the news conference you said that you gave Mr. Haldeman the right to listen to one tape because you wanted to be sure that "we are correct." I think I am quoting you correctly.

Now, you have indicated that you still feel that Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman are two of the finest public servants that you have ever known. You have met with their lawyer at least twice that we know of. Are you and Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman coordinating their and your defense and, if so, why?

The PRESIDENT. No, no, as far as my defense is concerned, I make it myself. As far as their defense is concerned, their lawyer has demonstrated very well before the committee that he can handle it


well without any assistance from me.

Mr. Theis.

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Mr. Homer.

Q. Mr. President, could you tell us your recollection of what you told John Dean on March 21 on the subject of raising funds for the Watergate defendants?

THE PRESIDENT. Certainly. Mr. Haldeman has tescified to that, and his statement is accurate. Basically, what Mr. Dean was concerned about on March 21 was not so much the raising of money for the defendants, but the raising of money for the defendants for the purpose of keeping them still-in other words, so-called hush money. The one would be legal-in other words, raising a defense fund for any group, any individual, as you know, is perfectly legal and it is done all the time. But if you raise funds for the purpose of keeping an individual from talking, that is obstruction of justice.

Mr. Dean said also on March 21 that there was an attempt, as he put it, to blackmail the White House, to blackmail the White House by one of the defendants. Incidentally, that defendant has denied it, but at least this was what Mr. Dean had claimed, and that unless certain amounts of money were paid, I think it was $120,000 for attorneys fees and other support, that this particular defendant would make a statement, not with regard to Watergate, but with regard to some national security matters in which Mr. Ehrlichman had particular responsibility.

My reaction, very briefly, was this: I said, as you look at this, I said, “Isn't it quite obvious, first, that if it is going to have any chance to succeed, that these individuals aren't going to sit there in jail for 4 years? They are going to have clemency; isn't that correct?"

He said, “Yes." I said, "We can't give clemency." He agreed. Then, I went to another point. I said, “The second point is that isn't it also quite obvious, as far as this is concerned, that while we could raise the nioncy”—and he indicated in answer to my question, it would probably take a million dollars over 4 years to take care of this defendant, and others, on this kind of basis-the problem was, how do you get the money to them, and also, how do you get around the problem of clemency, because they are not m50. stav in jail simply because their families are being taken care of. And so, that was why I concluded, as Mr. Haldem:in recalls perhaps, and did testify vcry cffectively, one, when I said, “Jolin, it is wrong, it won't work. We can't give clemency and we have got to get this story out. And therefore, I direct you, and I direct Haldeman, and I direct Ehrlichman, and I direct Mitchell to get together tomorrow and then ineet with me as to how we get this story out."

Ind that is how the meeting on the 22d took place.

Q. Nr. President, looking to the future on executive privilege, there arc a couple of questions that come to joind

Tire PreSIDENT. I thought we got past that. Clark; thai was a year ago.

l. But we have the future
THE PRESIDENT. All right, sine.

Q. Where is the check on authoritarianism by the executive if the President is to be the sole judge of what the executive branch makes available and suppresses? And will you obey a Supreme Court order if you are asked and directed to produce the tapes or other documents for the Senate committee or for the Special Prosecutor? Ind, if this is not enough-laughter)-is there any limitation

( on the President, short of impeachment, to compel the production of evidence of a criminal nature?

The President. Is there anything else?
Q. No, I think that would be enough. [Laughter]

The President. No, I was not being facetious but I realize it is a complicated question. The answer to the first question is that the limitation on the President in almost all fields like this is, of course, the limitation of public opinion, and, of course, Congressional and other pressures that may arise. As far as executive privilege is concerned in the Watergate matter and, I must say, the ITT file and so forth, that this Administration has, I think, gone further in terms of waiving executive privilege than any Administration in my memory, certainly a lot further than Mr. Truman was willing to go when I was on the other side, as you recall, urging that he waive executive privilege.

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Now, with regard to what the Supreme Court will do or say, the White House Press Secretary, Assistant Press Secretary, Mr. Warren, has responded to that already. I won't go beyond that, and particularly I won't make any statement on that at this time while the matter is still being considered by Judge Sirica. I understand his decision will come down on Wednesday, and then we will make a determination. But as far as the statement that Mr. Warren has made with regard to the President's position of complying with a definitive order of the Supreme Court is concerned, that statement stands.

Q. Mr. President, during March and April, you received from your staff on several occasions information about criminal wrongdoing and some indication that members of your staff might have been involved. My question, sir, is why didn't you turn this information over immediately to the prosecutors instead of having your own staff continue to make these investigations?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, for the very obvious reason that in March, for example, the man that was in constant contact with the prosecutors was my Counsel, Mr. Dean. Mr. Dean was talking to Mr. Petersen. I assumed that anything he was telling me he was telling the prosecutors. And in April, after Mr. Dean left the investigation, Mr. Ehrlichman was in charge. I would assume, and incidentally, Mr. Ehrlichman did talk to Mr. Kleindienst. That is why it was done that way. The President does not pick up the phone and call the Attorney General every time something comes up on a matter; he depends on his Counsel or whoever he has given the job to or he has given that assignment to to do the job. And that is what I expected in this instance.

Q. Sir, last week in your speech you referred to those who would exploit Watergate to keep you from doing your job. Could you specifically detail who "those” are?

The PresidENT. I would suggest that where the shoe fits, people should wear it. I would think that some political figures, some members of the press, perhaps, some members of the television, perhaps would exploit it. I don't im pute, interestingly enough, motives, however, that are improper because here is what is involved. There are a great number of people in this country that would prefer that I resign. There are a great number of people in this country that didn't accept the mandate of 1972. After all, I know that inost of the members of the press corps were not enthusiastic, and I understand that, about either my clection in '68 or '72. That is not unusual.

Iranily, if I had always followed what the press predicted or the polls predicted, I would have never been clected President. But what I am saying is this, people who did not accept the mandate of '72, who do not want the strong America that I want to build, who do not want the foreign policy leadership that I want to give, who do not want to cut down the size of this government bureaucracy that burdens us so greatly and to give more of our govemment back to the people, people who do not want these things, naturally, would exploit .any issue, if it weren't Watergate, anything else, in order to keep the President from doing his job.

And so I say I impute no improper motives to them, I think they would prefer that I fail. On the other hand, I am not going to fail, I am here to do a job, and I am going to do the best I can, and am sure the fair-minded members of this press corps and that is most of youwill report when I do well, and I am sure you will report when I do badly.

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9 Presidential Documents 1016-24




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Q. Mr. President, in association with the legal dispute going on over possession of the Presidential tapes relating to Watergate conversations in your office, you and your attorneys have said you would abide only by a definitive ruling of the Supreme Court in this case. As it moves along, the definitive ruling—an interpretation of "definitive ruling" takes on great importance. Would you elaborate for us what you mean by a "definitive ruling”?

THE PRESIDENT. No, Mr. Jarriel, that would not be appropriate. I discussed this with White House Counsel, and, as you know, the matter is now on appeal and the appellate procedure will now go to the Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia and, if necessary, further on.

The matter of definitive ruling is one that will be discussed in the appeal procedure and for me, in advance of the discussion, the briefs, the oral arguments, to discusss that would be inappropriate.

Q. Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. I think we should come to Mr. Rather

As far as I am concerned, I am simply saying that the President of the United States, under our Constitution, has a responsibility to this office to maintain the separation of power and also maintain the ability of not only this President but future Presidents to conduct the office in the interests of the people.

Now, in order to do that, it is essential that the confidentiality of discussions that the President has with his advisers, with Members of Congress, with visitors from abroad, with others who come in that those discussions be uninhibited, that they be candid, they be freewhecling.

Now, in the event that Presidential papers, or in the event that Presidential conversations as recorded on tapes, in my opinion, were made available to a court, to a judge in camera, or to a committee of Congress, that principle would be so seriously jeopardized that it would probably destroy that principle—the confidentiality which is so essential and indispensable for the proper conduct of the Presidency.

That is why I have taken the hard line that I have taken with regard to complying with the lower court's order.

Now, when we come to the Supreme Court, the question there is what kind of an order is the Supreme Court going to issue, if any. And as I have said, in answer to Mr. Jarriel, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on whether an order would be definitive or not.

will simply say that as far as I am concerned, we are going to fight the tape issue. We believe, my Counsel believe, that we will prevail in the appellate courts.

And so, consequently, I will not respond to your ques. tion until we go through the appellate procedure.


Q. Mr. President, if I may follow on to my colleague Tom Jarriel's question, while I can understand

THE PRESIDENT. It shows the two networks working together.

Q. No, not always, Mr. President.
The President. Thank heaven you are competitors.
Q. This is a question that we find a lot of people ask us.

Q. As you know, President Lincoln said, “No man is above the law." Now, for most, if not every other American, any Supreme Court decision is final, whether the person, in terms of the decision, finds it definitive or not. Would you explain to us why you feel that you are in a different category, why, as it applies to you, that you will abide only by what you call a definitive decision and that you won't even define "definitive”?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, Mr. Rather, with all due deference to your comment with regard to President Lincoln, he was a very strong President and, as you may recall, he indicated several times during his Presidency that he would move in the national interest in a way that many thought was perhaps in violation of law, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, for example, during the Civil War for 15,000 people, and other items, to mention only

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Q. Mr. President, to follow up on that Watergate question, you have referred repeatedly to having ordered a new Watergate investigation on the 21st of March of this year. Several high officials of your Administration, Mr. Petersen, Mr. Gray, and Mr. Kleindienst, have testified before the Senate committee that they didn't know anything about it, this investigation that you referred to.

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which I hope will be soon-hut as we move in those areas and as we move on the domestic front, the people will be concerned about what the President does, and I think that that will restore the confidence. What the President says will not restore it, and what you ladies and gentlemen say will certainly not restore it.

And I wonder if you could explain how it is that they apparently didn't know anything about this new investigation?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, because I had ordered the investigation from within the White House itself. The investigation, up to that time, had been conducted by Mr. Dean, and I thought by him working as he had been in close communication with the Justice Department.

I turned the investigation—asked Mr. Dean to continue his investigation as I, as you remember, said last week, 2 weeks ago, in answer to a similar question. When he was unable to write a report, I turned to Mr. Ehrlichman. Mr. Ehrlichman did talk to the Attorney General, I should remind you, on the 27th of March, I think it was the 27th of March. The Attorney General was quite aware of that and Mr. Ehrlichman, in addition, questioned all of the major figures involved and reported to me on the 14th of April, and then, at my suggestion--direction, turned over his report to the Attorney General on the 15th of April. An investigation was conducted in the most thorough way.

Q. Mr. President, you listed several areas of domestic


THE PRESIDENT. Now we have the three networks.

Q. Mr. President, to follow up on the tapes question, earlier you have told us that your reasons arc based on principle--separation of powers, executive privilege, things of this sort. Can you assure us that the tapes do not reflect unfavorably on your Watergate position, that there is nothing in the tapes that would reflect unfavorably?

THE PRESIDENT. There is nothing whatever. As a matter of fact, the only time I listened to the tapes, to certain tapes and I didn't listen to all of them, of course—was on June 4. There is nothing whatever in the tapes that is inconsistent with the statement that I made on May 22 or of the statement that I made to you ladies and gentlemen in answer to several questions, rather searching questions I might say, and very polite questions 2 weeks ago, for the most part, and finally nothing that differs whatever from the statement that I made on the 15th of August. That is not my concern.

My concern is the one that I have expressed, and it just does not cover tapes, it covers the appearance of a President before a Congressional committee, which Mr. Truman very properly turned down in 1953, although some of us at that time thought he should have appeared. This was after he had left the Presidency but it had to do with matters while he was President. It covers papers of the President written for him and communications with him, and it covers conversations with the President that are recorded on tape. Confidentiality once destroyed cannot in my opinion be restored.

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Q. You listed several areas of domestic concern in the message you are going to send to Congress, but it has also been written that one of the major problems facing your Administration now is rebuilding confidence in your leadership.

Do you share that view, and, if so, how do you plan to cope with it?

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Valeriani, that is a problem, it is true. It is rather difficult to have the President of the United States on prime time television-not prime time, although I would suppose the newscasters would say the news programs are really the prime time—but for 4 months to have the President of the United States by innuendo, by leak, by, frankly, leers and sneers of commentators, which is their perfect right, attacked in every way without having some of that confidence being worn away.

Now, how is it restored? Well, it is restored by the President not allowing his own confidence to be destroyed; that is to begin. And, second, it is restored by doing something. We have tried to do things. The country hasn't paid a great deal of attention to it, and I may say the media hasn't paid a great deal of attention to it because your attention, quite understandably, is in the more fascinating area of Watergate.

Perhaps that will now change. Perhaps as we move in the foreign policy initiatives now, having ended one war, to build a structure of peace, moving not only with the Soviet Union and with the PRC—where Dr. Kissinger incidentally will go, after he is confirmed by the Senate,

Q. Mr. President, could I ask you one more question about the tapes. If you win the case in the Supreme Court

THE PRESIDENT. That's the fifth one.

Q. and establish the right of confidentiality for Presidents, then would you be willing voluntarily to disclose the tapes to dispel the doubt about their content?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, again I would like to respond to that question in a categorical way but I shall not due to the fact that when the matter, as it is at the present time, is actually in the appeal process, White House Counsel advise that it would not be appropriate to comment in any way about what is going to happen during that process. You put that question to me a little later, I will be glad to respond to it.

HELEN THOMAS (UPI). Thank you, Mr. President. NOTE: President Nixon's thirty-third news conference was held at 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5, 1973, in the East Room at the White House. It was broadcast live on radio and television.

9 Presidential Documents 1049,


Throughout this week, the Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, at my instance, has been holding discussions with Specal Prosecutor Archibald Cox, looking to the possibility of a compromise that would avoid the necessity of Supreme Court review. With the greatest reluctance, I have concluded that in this one instance I must permit a breach in the confidentiality that is so necessary to the

conduct of the Presidency. Accordingly, the Attorney Availability of Information From General made what he regarded as a reasonable proposal

for compromise, and one that goes beyond what any Presidential Tapes

President in history has offered. It was a proposal that

would comply with the spirit of the decision of the Court Statement by the President Announcing Procedures.

of Appeals. It would have allowed justice to proceed unOctober 19, 1973

diverted, while maintaining the principle of an independent executive branch. It would have given the Special Prosecutor the information he claims he needs for use in the grand jury. It would also have resolved any lingering thought that the President himself might have been involved in a Watergate coverup.

The proposal was that, as quickly as the materials could be prepared, there would be submitted to Judge Sirica,

through a statement prepared by me personally from the For a number of months, there has been a strain subpoenaed tapes, a full disclosure of everything contained imposed on the American people by the aftermath of in those tapes that has any bearing on Watergate. The Watergate, and the inquiries into and court suits arising authenticity of this summary would be assured by giving out of that incident. Increasing apprehension over the unlimited access to the tapes to a very distinguished man, possibility of a constitutional confrontation in the tapes highly respected by all elements in American life for his cases has become especially damaging.

integrity, his fairness, and his patriotism, so that that man Our Government, like our Nation, must remain strong did indeed include fairly and accurately anything on the

could satisfy himself that the statement prepared by me and effective. What matters most, in this critical hour, tapes that might be regarded as related to Watergate. In is our ability to act—and to act in a way that enables tapes that might be regarded as related to Watergate. In

return, so that the constitutional tensions of Watergate us to control events, not to be paralyzed and overwhelmed would not be continued, it would be understood that there by them. At home, the Watergate issue has taken on over- would be no further attempt by the Special Prosecutor tones of a partisan political contest. Concurrently, there to subpoena still more tapes or other Presidential papers are those in the international community who may be of a similar nature. tempted by our Watergate-related difficulties at home I am pleased to be able to say that Chairman Sam Ervin to misread America's unity and resolve in meeting the and Vice Chairman Howard Baker of the Senate Select challenges we confront abroad,

Committee have agreed to this procedure and that at I have concluded that it is necessary to take decisive their request, and mine, Senator John Stennis has conactions that will avoid any possibility of a constitutional sented to listen to every requested tape and verify that crisis and that will lay the groundwork upon which we the statement I am preparing is full and accurate. Some can assure unity of purpose at home and end the temp- may ask why, if I am willing to let Senator Stennis hear tation abroad to test our resolve.

the tapes for this purpose, I am not willing merely to subIt is with this awareness that I have considered the mit them to the court for inspection in private. I do so decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Co- out of no lack of respect for Judge Sirica, in whose dislumbia. I am confident that the dissenting opinions, which cretion and integrity I have the utmost confidence, but are in accord with what until now has always been re- because to allow the tapes to be heard by one judge would garded as the law, would be sustained upon review by create a precedent that would be available to 400 district the Supreme Court. I have concluded, however, that it judges. Further, it would create a precedent that Presia is not in the national interest to leave this matter un- dents are required to submit to judicial demands that resolved for the period that might be required for a re- purport to override Presidential determinations on review by the highest court.

quirements for confidentiality.

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