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Archives for August 1974

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: [Read more…]

Nixon’s Resignation Letter

Nixon’s resignation letter was delivered to the Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger.

Click here to read the full text of Nixon's Resignation Speech


Nixon’s Final Remarks To The White House Staff

On the morning of his resignation as president, Richard Nixon addressed the White House staff.

Listen to extracts of Nixon’s remarks (1m):

Watch Nixon’s speech in full (21m):

Nixon’s speech, as issued by the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in 2014 (29m):

Text of President Nixon’s final remarks to the White House staff.

Nixon's Farewell to the White House StaffMembers of the Cabinet, members of the White House Staff, all of our friends here:

I think the record should show that this is one of those spontaneous things that we always arrange whenever the President comes in to speak, and it will be so reported in the press, and we don’t mind, because they have to call it as they see it.

But on our part, believe me, it is spontaneous.

You are here to say goodbye to us, and we don’t have a good word for it in English—the best is au revoir. We’ll see you again.

I just met with the members of the White House staff, you know, those who serve here in the White House day in and day out, and I asked them to do what I ask all of you to do to the extent that you can and, of course, are requested to do so: to serve our next President as you have served me and previous Presidents—because many of you have been here for many years—with devotion and dedication, because this office, great as it is, can only be as great as the men and women who work for and with the President. [Read more…]

Memorandum To Jaworski On Prosecuting Nixon

This is a memorandum prepared for the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworksi, on the day Richard Nixon resigned the presidency.

It was prepared by Carl Feldbaum and Peter Kreindler.

WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTION FORCE

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

MEMORANDUM

TO: Leon Jaworski, Special Prosecutor

DATE: August 9, 1974

FROM: Carl B Feldbaum & Peter M. Kreindler

SUBJECT: Factors to be Considered in Deciding Whether to Prosecute Richard M. Nixon for Obstruction of Justice

In our view there is clear evidence that Richard M. Nixon participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice by concealing the identity of those responsible for the Watergate break-in and other criminal offenses. There is a presumption (which in the past we have operated upon) that Richard M. Nixon, like every citizen, is subject to the rule of law. Accordingly, one begins with the premise that if there is sufficient evidence, Mr. Nixon should be indicted and prosecuted. The question then becomes whether the presumption for proceeding is outweighed by the factors mandating against indictment and prosecution.

The factors which mandate against indictment and prosecution are:

  1. His resignation has been sufficient punishment.
  2. He has been subject to an impeachment inquiry with resulting articles of impeachment which the House Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed as to Article I (the Watergate cover-up).
  3. Prosecution might aggravate political divisions in the country.
  4. As a political matter, the times call for conciliation rather than recrimination.
  5. There would be considerable difficulty in achieving a fair trial because of massive pre-trial publicity.

The factors which mandate in favor of indictment and prosecution are:

  1. The principle of equal justice under law requires that every person, no matter what his past position or office, answer to the criminal justice system for his past offenses. This is a particularly weighty factor if Mr. Nixon’s aides and associates, who acted upon his orders and what they conceived to be his interests, are to be prosecuted for she same offenses.
  2. The country will be further divided by Mr. Nixon unless there is a final disposition of charges of criminality outstanding against him so as to forestall the belief that he was driven from his office by erosion of his political base. This final disposition may be necessary to preserve the integrity of the criminal justice system and the legislative process, which together marshalled the substantial evidence of Mr. Nixon’s guilt.
  3. Article I, Section 3, clause 7 of the Constitution provides that a person removed from office by impeachment and conviction “shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to Law.” The Framers contemplated that a person removed from office because of abuse of his public trust still would have to answer to the criminal justice system for criminal offenses.
  4. It cannot be sufficient retribution for criminal offenses merely to surrender the public office and trust which has been demonstrably abused. A person should not be permitted to trade in the abused office in return for immunity.
  5. The modern nature of the Presidency necessitates massive public exposure of the President’s actions through the media. A bar to prosecution on the grounds of such publicity effectively would immunize all future Presidents for their actions, however criminal. Moreover, the courts may be the appropriate forum to resolve questions of pre-trial publicity in the context of an adversary proceeding.
Jaworski Memorandum 1

Jaworski Memorandum 2

Nixon Recalls His Last Full Day In The White House

In 1983, Richard Nixon recalled his last full day in the White House.

He recounted his memories of delivering his resignation speech, remarks by Dr Henry Kissinger and the reaction of his staff and colleagues.

Nixon also recalled a conversation with Vice-President Gerald Ford.

The interview was posted on YouTube by the Richard Nixon Library.

  • Watch Nixon (4m)

Nixon’s Resignation Speech

Richard M. Nixon addressed the nation at 9pm on August 8, 1974, to announce that he would resign the presidency at noon the following day.

Nixon became the only president ever to resign the office.

The video shows Nixon’s preparations for his televised resignation announcement. The official speech begins at the 7 minute mark:

  • Listen to Nixon’s resignation speech (16m)
  • Watch Nixon’s speech (23m)

Text of President Richard Nixon’s resignation speech.

Richard Nixon

Good evening.

This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the national interest.

In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.

But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged. [Read more…]

Nixon Resigns: ABC, CBS And NBC Television Coverage

President Richard Nixon’s resignation announcement came in a televised speech to the nation at 9pm on August 8, 1974.

The videos on this page are of the ABC, CBS and NBC television coverage of Nixon’s resignation speech.

The coverage is features Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Harry Reasoner, John Chancellor and Tom Brokaw. [Read more…]

Representative Is “Out of Step,” Clinton Charges

ARKANSAS GAZETTE

FLIPPIN — United States Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt of Harrison is wrong in opposing President Nixon’s resignation and is wrong in questioning whether the president has committed an impeachable offense, Bill Clinton of Fayetteville, Hammerschmidt’s opponent, said here Wednesday.

In the wake of the president’s admission Monday that he had lied about his role in the Watergate coverup, Hammerschmidt said, “We need to do our duty as quickly as possible. We should have done it a year ago.”

“I don’t see how in the world he can say that when a year ago he was saying we should forget about it and he voted against giving funds for the House Judiciary Committee staff,” Clinton said.

Hammerschmidt flatly opposed resignation. [Read more…]