President Richard M. Nixon Watergate tapes. Mitchell’s problems; President insists
that money raised for expenses of burglary defendants was not hush money

Speaker: Richard M. Nixon
Delivered On: 4/14/1973
Place: White House telephone
Audio/Video Available:

Description: PARTICIPANTS: President Nixon, H.R.Haldeman Mitchell’s problems; President insists
that money raised for expenses of burglary defendants was not hush money; Colson
potential testimony of white House staffers before Senate Watergate Committee.
ON APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M.

PRESIDENT: I just, uh, Bebe is over here overnight and I just told–him about the
Mitchell thing so

PRESIDENT: _he wouldn’t get a surprise.
PRESIDENT: Naturally, he can’t believe it so that’s that.
HALDEMAN: Well, I can

PRESIDENT: It’s one of those things.
HALDEMAN: It’s hard to believe, but it’s uh,

PRESIDENT: One thing that occurs to me, Bob, is this and as I reflect a little on
Magruder’s stuff.
HALDEMAN: Um, huh.
PRESIDENT: I’ll be damned if I don’t think that some of that could be, you know,
uh, uh, exaggerated but I, I just don’t know

HALDEMAN: I think that’s right.
PRESIDENT: _I, I don’t know, I can’t tell. He’s uh, he’s been so, uh, he’s, he’s
uh, obviously flailing around like a wild man at the present time, but _

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 2

HALDEMAN: No, no, he’s not really. I think I, I think he was earlier trying and
er-, he was frantic but once, once he figured out where he was going I think, I
think he’s

PRESIDENT: He thinks that this is what he remembers now.
HALDEMAN: Yep. Um, huh.
PRESIDENT: But he could not

HALDEMAN: He does.
PRESIDENT: _I’m not sure that his interpretations on various things are to be tr–,
I mean to be interpreted either way, you know, like his interpretation on Dean,
his interpretation on, on Strachan, for example.
HALDEMAN: Yep, yep.
PRESIDENT: Certainly is_
HALDEMAN: That’s right end there _
PRESIDENT: _I don’t, I just don’t know how it’s gonna come out, though, that’s the
whole point and I _

PRESIDENT: _I just don’t know as I, when I was serious when I said to John, uh,
at the end there I says God damn it, all these guys that p–, participated in raising
the money and so forth have got to stick to their line that they did not raise this
money to obstruct justice.

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 3

HALDEMAN: Well, I sure didn’t think they were.
HALDEMAN: I didn’t think they were and I don’t think they did.

HALDEMAN: With maybe some exceptions.
PRESIDENT: Right, right, of course, they will if they, I suppose there they will
say that, uh, I mean, uh, uh, uh, I me–, like, like, Like Mc Cord has said it was
the purpose, that was the purpose but that Dean– that somebody told him that, and
that so that didn’t mean anything.
PRESIDENT: And the question, of course, is there, is Liddy and, and, um, the others,
PRESIDENT: _We shall see. You know it’s the word of the, of the felons against the
word of the men that raised the money, huh?
HALDEMAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: And, um _
HALDEMAN: Well, you just, ’cause you, you don’t know how much will come _ in out
what way either, I mean that

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 4

PRESIDENT: Now we, we have, uh_
HALDEMAN: We could get _(unintelligible)_
PRESIDENT: At least, at least I think, I think (laughs) now we pretty much know
what the worst is I, I do I don’t know what the hell else they could have that’s
any worse, you know what I mean, unless you know_
HALDEMAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Unless there’s, and I mean, I don’t know that uh, unless somebody’s got,
uh, some piece of paper that somebody signed or some God damned thing but_
PRESIDENT: _ that I doubt.
HALDEMAN: Doesn’t appear that there is such a thing. (pause)
I mean, there’s been no hint of that, what’s in here is, is all stuff that, that,
uh, has been hinted at. It goes further than, than what was, uh, found in some areas
but it’s, obviously it’s totally consistent basically with what everything John
had developed.
PRESIDENT: Let me ask you this. I wonder if if isn’t not only fair but in our interest,
uh, for either you or John, now not going into too much detail, to fill him in on
Magruder I mean, having in mind, uh, could Colson, uh could, uh_
HALDEMAN: I told Ehrlichman_

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 5

PRESIDENT: _Colson. And, uh, I mean, we have no interest, you know what I mean,
in getting his ass up there, you know, uh, uh, guilty on a perjury charge.
HALDEMAN: Um, huh. ‘Course there’s nothing Jeb said that’s inconsistent with anything
that Chuck has said.
PRESIDENT: Oh. Could be right. Chuck could say yes, the Liddy project, sure, but
I thought the Liddy project was something else.
HALDEMAN: That’s right. That’s what he does say.
PRESIDENT: He does, huh?
HALDEMAN: Yeah, and, and as, uh, Ehrlichman said and, and under questioning they
specific, ah, uh, specifically said that he didn’t get into the, uh, you know, any
specifics on it and they had nothing that hits him on any specifics. And, I think
he’s probably clear on them.
PRESIDENT: I think he believes that, Bob, I mean, I know_
HALDEMAN: I do, too.
PRESIDENT: I think he believes that, but_
HALDEMAN: I’ve felt that all along.
PRESIDENT: Well, we’ll sleep on the God damned thing and_

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 6

PRESIDENT: Uh, what’s the situation tomorrow? Is Ehrlichman gonna, uh, sit down
with Ziegler again or something?
PRESIDENT: I, I do think that, PR thing and, and we’ve got to sort of, sort of make
up our minds on what the hell Ehrlich_
HALDEMAN: Get at that, I want to get at, get in a statement done.
HALDEMAN: And we again, we got to get at, just sort of make this decision with regard
to this God damned committee. I, I, I don’t know.
PRESIDENT: And I’m, I, I still, I still have, uh, mixed emotions on it, I don’t
know, I don’t know, I’ve (sigh) I’ve, I’ve been one way one time, one way another.
HALDEMAN: Well, it’s a, it’s a mixed bag. It has, has pluses and minuses and I,
it’s hard to be sure, which out- weigh the other.
PRESIDENT: One way, scenario would be, simply say they will all come up on, everybody
will come up in Executive Session, including Dean, just say that, and make that
offer and that’s flat.

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 12

HALDEMAN: Right. Will do.
PRESIDENT: And, um, and it may be on the Dean thing. I’m almost inclined to think
we ought to give on that. What do you think? (laugh) The idea of backing down, we,
uh, they’re gonna think we’ve backed down anyway so what’s the difference.
HALDEMAN: That has never bothered me and that, I, I guess I’m wrong on it because
it sure bothers other people.
PRESIDENT: It bothers Ziegler and the rest, but_
HALDEMAN: I think we gain more by backing down than we lose.
PRESIDENT: Yes, just say because of_
HALDEMAN: I don’t, I don’t think you have any problem of being associated_
PRESIDENT: _You, just that by all this_
HALDEMAN: _ been in enough battles anyway.
PRESIDENT: _by all this, by all, because of all of these charges that have been
around, these men are entitled to be heard in public.
HALDEMAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: And I want them heard in public and I want them to tell their story in
public. I’m almost convinced that that’s what we ought to do with the whole damn
bunch and

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 13

PRESIDENT: not try to stand on the Dean thing and the rest. Humph, get a settlement
that way. Well, that’s my present view, Bob, and we can go on it. Uh, point, another
point, uh, you, you will, you, you do, it’s no one person you do tell, tell, and
I uh, he can still say you, that he just told him to tell the truth, uh, you ought
to tell Strachan but tell him_
HALDEMAN: John’s gonna te_
PRESIDENT: _John is–but not in a way that Strachan indicates that he knows what
the other fellow is saying.
HALDEMAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Strachan’s smart enough to do that.
PRESIDENT: So that he’s got to be prepared that he’s gonna be asked this and he’s
gonna be asked that. John should just put him through a little wringer there.
PRESIDENT: Well, John is the one that should do it. He’s conducting an investigation
for the President.
HALDEMAN: Well, and he’s got the information, I don’t.
HALDEMAN: But I can reconstruct.

APRIL 14, 1973 FROM 11:02 TO 11:16 P.M. 14

PRESIDENT: No, that’s right, I agree, but John will know the question to_
HALDEMAN: Specific points is what he needs to cover.
PRESIDENT: Um, huh. That’s good. That’s good. Well you know the point (laugh) rather
interesting to me tonight that, uh, you know when you really think of what the hell,
here we are, whole, it’s really quite true enough without being melodramatic, the
hopes for peace in this damn world do depend on this office right now in the next
four years and, God damn it, we’ve got to, we’ve got to be sure that uh, that isn’t
compromised by anything that, you know, that indicates any lack of confidence in
the President. Isn’t that what it gets down to?
PRESIDENT: That’s why I think this is sort of a cheap price to pay, you know what
I mean, and, uh, on that point.
HALDEMAN: That’s exactly right.

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