Frank Wills, Man Who Discovered Watergate, Dies, 52

Frank Wills, the man who discovered the Watergate burglary, has died in the United States, aged 52.

Wills was the security attendant who discovered taped locks in the Watergate office and apartment complex on June 17, 1972.

When Wills alerted the police, the capture of the Watergate burglars set off a train of events that resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon in August 1974.

Wills played himself in the movie All The President’s Men, but spent much of his life living in hardship. He suffered a brain tumor prior to his death.

Elliot Richardson, Watergate Hero, Dies, 79

Elliot RichardsonElliot Richardson, the Attorney-General who refused to comply with Richard Nixon’s order to sack the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, triggering a constitutional crisis known as the “Saturday Night Massacre”, has died in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 79.

Richardson was summoned to the White House on Saturday 20 October 1973 and instructed to dismiss Cox. The Special Prosecutor was seeking the release of secret White House tape recordings of conversations in the Oval Office.

Richardson refused to dismiss Cox and resigned on the spot. His deputy, William Ruckelshaus, also refused to carry out the order and was fired. Eventually, Cox was dismissed by Robert Bork.

The Saturday Night Massacre became a crucial turning point in the Watergate scandal. It turned public and press opinion against Nixon. Three days later Nixon released some tape recordings, one of which was found to have an 18 and a half minute gap on it.

Richardson’s stand on that night ranks as one of the great assertions of the independence of the judiciary and the sanctity of the separation of powers. In his book, “Reflections of a Radical Moderate”, Richardson wrote:

“The more I thought about it, the clearer it seemed to me that public confidence in the investigation would depend on its being independent not only in fact but in appearance.”

John Ehrlichman, Watergate Conspirator, Dead At 73

John EhrlichmanJohn D. Ehrlichman, jailed for his role in the Watergate scandal, has died, aged 73.

Ehrlichman died in Atlanta, Georgia, of natural causes.

Ehrlichman was President Richard Nixon’s Domestic Affairs Advisor from the start of Nixon’s term in 1969. Together with H. R. Haldeman, who died some years ago, Ehrlichman formed part of the “Berlin Wall” that protected Nixon.

Ehrlichman and Haldeman were both sacked by Nixon in April 1973. They had been summoned to the presidential retreat at Camp David after Nixon’s counsel, John Dean, implicated them in the cover-up of the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic Party’s National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington.

Nixon sacked Dean and called on Ehrlichman and Haldeman to resign.

Ehrlichman was convicted of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and perjury, and was jailed for four to eight years in October 1976. He spent 18 months behind bars.

Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, following the passage of 3 articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

Ehrlichman’s conviction arose from his false testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee and through his involvement in the burglary of the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist who treated Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg was the Defence Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.


Senator Bob Dole’s Remarks At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

Senator Bob Dole, Republican Minority Leader, spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral in California.

Senator Bob Dole

Remarks by Senator Bob Dole at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

I believe the second half of the 20th Century will be known as the age of Nixon. Why was he the most durable public figure of our time? Not because he gave the most eloquent speeches, but because he provided the most effective leadership. Not because he won every battle, but because he always embodied the deepest feelings of the people he led.

One of his biographers said that Richard Nixon was one of us. And so he was. He was a boy who heard the train whistle in the night and dreamed of all the distant places that lay at the end of the track. How American. He was a grocer’s son who got ahead by working harder and longer than everyone else. How American.

Nixon and DoleHe was a student who met expenses by doing research at the law library for 35 cents an hour while sharing a run-down farmhouse without water or electricity. How American. He was the husband and father who said that the best memorial to his wife was her children. How American. [Read more…]

Remarks By California Governor Pete Wilson At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

The Republican Governor of California, Pete Wilson, spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

Text of remarks by Gov. Pete Wilson at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

Richard Nixon has a beautiful family, and he was devoted to them. Anyone who ever saw them together knew that his beloved Pat, and his girls, Tricia and Julie were everything to him. He was so proud of them, of his sons-in-law, Edward and David, and his grandchildren. But he also had a much larger extended family, a family of those who worked for him and with him — and I was and am very lucky to be a part of that family.

I was one of the many young men and women in whom he inspired the same fierce loyalty that he gave to us. From the first, I was struck by the quality of his personal generosity. When we met in 1962, he’d already debated Khrushchev and President Kennedy. He’d already run for President. He’d been a major political figure on the world stage. But, still, he had time to talk to and to help an eager young advance man who could offer him little but energy and enthusiasm. [Read more…]

Remarks By Dr. Henry Kissinger At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

Nixon’s former Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, spoke at Nixon’s funeral.

Remarks by Dr. Henry Kissinger at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

During the final week of Richard Nixon’s life, I often imagined how he would have reacted to the tide of concern, respect, admiration and affection evoked by his last great battle. His gruff pose of never paying attention to media comment would have been contradicted by a warm glow and the ever-so-subtle hint that another recital of the commentary would not be unwelcome. And without quite saying so, he would have conveyed that it would mean a lot to him if Julie and Tricia, David and Ed were told of his friends’ pride in this culmination to an astonishing life. [Read more…]

Remarks By Dr. Billy Graham At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

Richard Nixon’s funeral was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham.

Remarks by Dr. Billy Graham at Nixon funeral.

On behalf of the family of Richard Nixon, I welcome you who have gathered to join with them in paying final respects to the memory of Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States.

Today, in this service, we remember with gratitude his life, his accomplishments, and we give thanks to God for those things he did to make our world a better place.

Through this service, may our dedication to serving others be deepened, and may our eyes be lifted to that which is eternal. Let us hear the word of the Lord, our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and Earth. Our God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. [Read more…]

Remarks By President Clinton At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

President Bill Clinton spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral at Yorba Linda.

Remarks by President Clinton at funeral of Richard Nixon.

President Nixon opened his memoirs with a simple sentence: “I was born in a house my father built.” Today, we can look back at this little house and still imagine a young boy sitting by the window of the attic he shared with his three brothers, looking out to a world he could then himself only imagine. From those humble roots, as from so many humble beginnings in this country, grew the force of a driving dream — a dream that led to the remarkable journey that ends here today where it all began. Beside the same tiny home, mail-ordered from back East, near this towering oak tree which, back then, was a mere seedling. [Read more…]

President Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Address

Following Nixon’s resignation, the Republicans suffered heavy losses in the 1974 mid-term congressional elections.

In 1975, the little known Democratic Governor of Georgia, James Earl Carter, announced that he was running for president.

Carter’s insurgent outsider’s campaign propelled him to victory at the 1976 presidential election, defeating Gerald Ford.

  • Watch Carter’s Inaugural Address (15m)
  • Listen to Carter (15m)

President James Earl (“Jimmy”) Carter’s Inaugural Address

January 20, 1977

For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.

In this outward and physical ceremony we attest once again to the inner and spiritual strength of our Nation. As my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, used to say: “We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.” [Read more…]

Remarks By Gerald Ford On Taking the Oath Of Office As President

Nixon’s resignation letter was delivered to the Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, at 11.35am on August 9, 1974, by Assistant to the President, Alexander Haig.

Ford was sworn in shortly afterwards. The President spoke at 12:05 p.m. in the East Room at the White House following administration of the oath of office by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. The oath of office and the President’s remarks were broadcast live on radio and television.

  • Listen to Ford take the Oath of Office and to his Following Remarks (10m)
  • Watch Ford (11m)

Transcript of President Ford’s inaugural remarks.

Ford Swearing In Ceremony

Mr. Chief Justice, my dear friends, my fellow Americans:

The oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every President under the Constitution. But I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.

Therefore, I feel it is my first duty to make an unprecedented compact with my countrymen. Not an inaugural address, not a fireside chat, not a campaign speech–just a little straight talk among friends. And I intend it to be the first of many.

I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many.

If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman–my dear wife–as I begin this very difficult job.

I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.

Thomas Jefferson said the people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. And down the years, Abraham Lincoln renewed this American article of faith asking, “Is there any better way or equal hope in the world?

I intend, on Monday next, to request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the privilege of appearing before the Congress to share with my former colleagues and with you, the American people, my views on the priority business of the Nation and to solicit your views and their views. And may I say to the Speaker and the others, if I could meet with you right after these remarks, I would appreciate it.

Even though this is late in an election year, there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people’s urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.

To the peoples and the governments of all friendly nations, and I hope that could encompass the whole world, I pledge an uninterrupted and sincere search for peace. America will remain strong and united, but its strength will remain dedicated to the safety and sanity of the entire family of man, as well as to our own precious freedom.

I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad.

In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.

My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.

Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.

As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.

In the beginning, I asked you to pray for me. Before closing, I ask again your prayers, for Richard Nixon and for his family. May our former President, who brought peace to millions, find it for himself. May God bless and comfort his wonderful wife and daughters, whose love and loyalty will forever be a shining legacy to all who bear the lonely burdens of the White House.

I can only guess at those burdens, although I have witnessed at close hand the tragedies that befell three Presidents and the lesser trials of others.

With all the strength and all the good sense I have gained from life, with all the confidence my family, my friends, and my dedicated staff impart to me, and with the good will of countless Americans I have encountered in recent visits to 40 States, I now solemnly reaffirm my promise I made to you last December 6: to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best I can for America.

God helping me, I will not let you down.

Thank you.