Alexander Butterfield Reveals Existence Of White House Tapes

Alexander Butterfield’s appearance before the Senate Watergate Committee was a pivotal moment in the unfolding scandal.

From the moment Butterfield confirmed the existence of an Oval Office taping system, the hunt for the tapes began. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to surrender specified tape recordings, including the “Smoking Gun” tape that precipitated his resignation.

Butterfield’s confirmation came in response to a question from Fred Thompson, the committee’s minority counsel. Thompson went on to serve as a Republican senator from Tennessee from 1994 until 2003.

The committee’s chief counsel, Sam Dash, also questioned Butterfield.

  • Watch Butterfield, in response to Fred Thompson, confirm the existence of the tapes (2m)
  • Listen to Butterfield respond to a question from Sam Dash about how to find out what was on the tapes (1m)

Nixon’s First Watergate Speech

President Nixon used his first televised Watergate speech to announce the departure of several members of his staff.

The resignations of John Ehrlichman, Bob Haldeman, Richard Kleindeinst and John Dean were all announced in this speech. [Read more…]

Peace With Honor: Nixon’s Broadcast On Vietnam

This is the text of President Nixon’s radio and television broadcast announcing the initialing of the Paris ‘Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam’.

Nixon’s speech was broadcast at 10pm from the Oval Office at the White House.

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Text of President Richard Nixon’s ‘Peace With Honor’ Broadcast.

Good evening. I have asked for this radio and television time tonight for the purpose of announcing that we today have concluded an agreement to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia. [Read more…]

President Nixon’s Second Inaugural Address

Following a landslide re-election in November 1972, Nixon was inaugurated for a second term on January 20, 1973.

  • Listen to Nixon’s Second Inaugural Address (17m)
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President Nixon’s second inaugural address.

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Senator Cook, Mrs. Eisenhower, and my fellow citizens of this great and good country we share together:

When we met here four years ago, America was bleak in spirit, depressed by the prospect of seemingly endless war abroad and of destructive conflict at home.

As we meet here today, we stand on the threshold of a new era of peace in the world. [Read more…]

The Smoking Gun Tape

This is the transcript and recording of a meeting between President Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, in the Oval Office on June 23, 1972.

The conversation took place from 10.04am to 11.39am. The recording subsequently became known as the Smoking Gun and led directly to Nixon’s resignation.

The release of the tape was ordered by the Supreme Court on July 24, 1974, in a case known as United States v. Nixon. The court’s decision was unanimous.

President Nixon released the tape on August 5. It was one of three conversations he had with Haldeman six days after the Watergate break-in. The tapes prove that he ordered a cover-up of the Watergate burglary. The Smoking Gun tape reveals that Nixon ordered the FBI to abandon its investigation of the break-in. [Read more…]

The Moon Landing: An Undelivered Nixon Speech

Apollo 11On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.

The following speech, revealed in 1999, was prepared by Nixon’s then speechwriter, William Safire, to be used in the event of a disaster that would maroon the astronauts on the moon.

The speech was sent to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman. [Read more…]

Nixon’s First Inaugural Address

Richard Milhous Nixon was sworn in as the 37th president of the United States at noon on January 20, 1969.

  • Listen to Nixon take the oath of office (2m)
  • Listen to Nixon’s Inaugural Address (18m)
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Text of President Nixon’s first inaugural address.

Richard NixonSenator Dirksen, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, President Johnson, Vice President Humphrey, my fellow Americans–and my fellow citizens of the world community:

I ask you to share with me today the majesty of this moment. In the orderly transfer of power, we celebrate the unity that keeps us free. [Read more…]

Nixon Accepts The Republican Party Nomination for President

This is Richard Nixon’s speech accepting the Republican Party nomination for President.

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Richard Nixon’s speech accepting the Republican Party nomination for president.

Mr. Chairman, delegates to this convention, my fellow Americans:

Sixteen years ago I stood before this convention to accept your nomination as the running mate of one of the greatest Americans of our time or any time – Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Eight years ago I had the highest honor of accepting your nomination for President of the United States.

Tonight I again proudly accept that nomination for President of the United States. [Read more…]

First Kennedy-Nixon Debate

This is the full text of the first joint radio-television debate between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice-President Richard M. Nixon.

The debate took place in a CBS studio in Chicago, Illinois. The moderator was Howard K. Smith.

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Full transcript of the first Kennedy-Nixon debate.

Mr. Smith:

Good evening.

The television and radio stations of the United States and their affiliated stations are proud to provide facilities for a discussion of issues in the current political campaign by the two major candidates for the presidency.

The candidates need no introduction. The Republican candidate, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, and the Democratic candidate, Senator John F. Kennedy.

According to rules set by the candidates themselves, each man shall make an opening statement of approximately 8 minutes’ duration and a closing statement of approximately three minutes’ duration.

In between the candidates will answer, or comment upon answers to questions put by a panel of correspondents.

In this, the first discussion in a series of four joint appearances, the subject matter, it has been agreed, will be restricted to internal or domestic American matters. [Read more…]

Senator Richard Nixon’s Checkers Speech

In his 1952 Checkers speech, Richard Nixon was one of the first politicians to use the medium of television to defend himself against accusations of wrong-doing.

This speech came during the 1952 presidential election campaign. Senator Nixon was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice-presidential running mate. Accused of accepting illegal gifts, Nixon used his television appearance to deny the allegations and outline his personal financial circumstances.

Nixon referred to a cocker spaniel dog his family had been given. Black and white spotted, they called it Checkers. “And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.” [Read more…]