By Stanley Kutler
Richard Nixon stated he sought after his management to be "the top chronicled in history." but if Alexander Butterfield disclosed the life of a voice-activated taping method to a Senate committee in July 1973, Nixon's White residence and its recordings fast turned the main notorious in American historical past. The tapes ruled the ultimate years of Nixon's presidency, and nearly single-handedly pressured his resignation.
But simply 60 hours have been truly made public within the Nineteen Seventies. Many hundreds of thousands of hours remained mystery and in Nixon's fingers, and he fought fiercely to maintain them that approach correct as much as his dying. eventually, due to a lawsuit introduced by means of historian Stanley I. Kutler with the advocacy crew Public Citizen, a landmark 1996 payment with the Nixon property and the nationwide files is bringing over 3,000 hours of tapes to mild. The preliminary free up in November 1996 of over 2 hundred hours of fabric comprised all these conversations bearing on abuse of strength -- each Watergate-relate...
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But what I mean is we have to develop now a program, a program for leaking out information. We’re destroying these people in the papers. That’s one side of it. Had a gap in the conspiracy. The other side of it is the declassification. Declassification. ]. Do you know what I mean? Let’s have a little fun. Let me tell you what the declassification [of other administrations’ papers] in previous years that helps us. It takes the eyes off of Vietnam. It gets them thinking about the past rather than our present problems.
Haig reasoned that destroying the tapes would heighten suspicions of presidential guilt, and Nixon readily concurred, realizing that revelations of wrongdoing would be easier to control than the taint of having destroyed evidence. Pat Nixon reportedly could not understand why her husband did not destroy them. Nixon had told his daughter Tricia that the tapes contained nothing damaging, yet he might be impeached because of their content. ” How odd that, for a man who adamantly insisted on controlling his papers and materials, both during his presidency and for twenty years afterward, we fail to consider Nixon’s wishes on the matter.
Of course, as time went on, and the prospect that the tapes contained incriminating evidence loomed larger and more significant, such demands took on increased legitimacy. But at all times, Richard Nixon had to realize the value of those tapes, and it was unlikely he would destroy them. First, the tapes had monetary value, which could only increase in time. Nixon’s pursuit of his property interest in his public papers was dear to his heart and is a well-documented story. But he also has given us a better explanation of their real value to him: their usefulness in writing his own history of his presidency.