The Daily Journal from Fergus Falls, Minnesota on May 1, 1974 · Page 1
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The Daily Journal from Fergus Falls, Minnesota · Page 1

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Fergus Falls, Minnesota
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Wednesday, May 1, 1974
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Page 1
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Transcripts revealing conflicts between Nixon, John Dean By DICK BARNES Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) - John W. Dean Ill's accounts of nearly two dozen conversations with President Nixon about Watergate are confirmed in some respects but contradicted in others by White House transcripts of the talks. In some cases, the vagueness of comments by both parties leave the true meaning of remarks* open to question. And for some other Dean assertions, there is no transcript to verify or challenge him. Dean's versions of meetings are taken from his testimony June 25,1973, to the Senate Watergate committee. The White House transcripts were released Tuesday. Here are comparisons of the highlights by date: Sept 17, 1972 This meeting came hours after the original seven Watergate defendants had been indicted. Dean said Nixon congratulated him on doing a good job "and the President was pleased that the case had stopped with (G. Gordon) Liddy." Dean said he told Nixon "that all that I had been able to do was to contain the case and assist in keeping it out of the White House. I also told him that there was a long way to go before this matter would end and that I certainly could make no assurances that the day would not come when this matter would start to unravel." The transcript quotes Dean as saying: "I think I can say Hideaway considered WASHINGTON (AP) - In one of their conversations about the Watergate scandals, top aides to President Nixon proposed moving to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. to avoid potential subpoenas from the Senate Watergate committee. Transcripts of White House tape recordings disclose the following exchange at a meeting on March22,1973 among Nixon, White House Counsel John W. Dean III and Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman: Dean: They can subpoena any of us. There is.no doubt about that. If they don't serve it here (at the White House and Executive Office Building) because they can't get in, they can serve you at home somewhere. They can always find you. Haldeman: We move to Camp David and hide. They can't get in there. Nixon: Well, go ahead. that 54 days from now nothing is going to come crashing down to our surprise." Nixon expressed his congratulations this way: "The way you have handled all this seems to me has been very skillful, putting your fingers in the leaks that have sprung here "Anybody at the White House they would," said Nixon. "But in your case I think they realize you are the lawyer and they know you didn't have a (adjective deleted) thing to do with the campaign." March t, 7, 8, II Dean said meetings on the JOHN DEAN and sprung there." The transcript does not quote Dean as using the word "contain," a reference he cited in stating his opinion that the President knew of the cover-up. Dean also told of a discussion about other plans to use political muscle against a variety of opponents. The transcript contains a number of such passages. Feb. 27,1913 Dean said at this meeting Nixon directed him to report directly to the President on all Watergate matters. Dean said he told Nixon he was not sure the matter could be contained indefinitely. There was no transcript submitted of this meeting. Feb. 28 Dean said that after a discussion relating to the Senate Watergate hearings, he told Nixon "why I thought I had legal problems, in that I had been a conduit for many of the decisions that were made and, therefore, could be involved in an obstruction of justice." He said Nixon "reassured me not to worry, that I had no legal problems." The passage in the transcript at all resembling Dean's account is fleeting and at the end of the meeting. Nixon observed that the Watergate committee would like to get somebody at the White House such as Haldeman, Colson or Ehrlichman. "Or possibly Dean," said Dean. "You know, I am a small fish." PRESIDENT NIXON first three of these dates and a phone conversation on the fourth concerned Senate hearings on acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray HI. The White House did not provide transcripts for these conversations. March 13 Dean said after another discussion on the Gray hearings, "we got into a discussion of Watergate matters specifically." "I told the President about the fact that there were money demands being made by the seven convicted defendants, and that the sentencing of these individuals was not far off. "I told the President about the fact that there was no money to pay these individuals to meet their demands. He asked me how much it would cost. I told him that I could only make an estimate that it might be as high .as $1 million or more. He told me that that was no problem, and he also looked over at Haldeman and repeated the same statement." Dean said Nixon expressed annoyance that Colson had mentioned executive clemency to the President. He said Nixon also asked how previous payments to Watergate defendants had been handled. This conversation does not appear in .the March 13 tape, and Dean has since indicated he now believes it took place March 21. On March 13, however, Dean told Nixon in response to a question that Gordon Strachan, an aide to Haldeman, knew about Watergate. Nixon: He knew? Nixon: About the Watergate? Dean: Yes. Nixon: Well, then, he probably told Bob (Haldeman). He may not have. Dean: Well, it is a personal loyalty to him. He doesn't want it any other way. He didn't have to be told. He didn't have to be asked. It just is something that he found was the way he wanted to handle the situation. Nixon: But he knew? He knew about Watergate? Strachan did? Dean: Yes. Nixon: I will be damned! Well that is the problem in Bob's case. March 17 Dean called this a rambling conversation with brief reference to the Gray hearings. The transcript shows that Dean told Nixon about the Plumbers' break-in to the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. "What in the name of God was Ehrlichman having something (unintelligible) in the Ellsberg (unintelligible)?" said Nixon. • "This is the first I ever heard of this," he said. March 20 phone conversation Dean said he told Nixon "I wanted to talk with him as soon as possible about the Watergate matter because I did not think that he fully realized all the facts and the implications of those facts for people at the White House as well as himself." An appointment was set. The transcript essentially confirms this account, quoting Dean as saying he .wanted to meet Nixon "to examine the broadest, broadest implications of this whole thing, and, you know, maybe about 30 minutes of just my recitation to you of facts so that you operate from the same facts that everybody else has." March 21 Dean said this was the day of +iis "cancer on the presidency" speech to Nixon in which he described details of the cover-up. At a second session that day he said he told Nixon he thought Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Dean were indictable for obstruction of justice. The transcript confirms that Dean told Nixon about the entire break-in evolvement and cover-up, and at this time used the word "containment" to de- account Dean said took place March 13. Nixon time and again asks questions that indicate he is interested in a plan to keep the defendants quiet. The President has said previously that his statement in this passage could be misconstrued. But also in the conversation, Dean says: "I can just tell from our conversation that these are things that you have no knowledge of." "You certainly can," replied Nixon. After saying at one point, "complete disclosure, isn't that the best way to do it?" Nixon later says "it would seem to me that (it) would be worthwhile" to pay the million dollars in hush money. Nixon followed by saying clemency would not be possible until at least after the 1974 election. "Your point is that even then you couldn't do it," he continued. Dean: "That's right. It may further involve you in a way you should not be involved in this." Nixon: "No—it is wrong that's for sure." Then, later, Nixon suggests: "I would just say to these fellows (the defendants) I am sorry it is all off and let them talk." March 22 Dean said this meeting with Nixon, Ehilichman, Haldeman and Mitchell "did not accomplish anything. Rather it was a further indication that there would be no effort to stop the cover-up from continuing." At this meeting, however, Nixon told Dean to go to Camp David and write a report on the entire affair, according to the transcript. Dean told the Senate committee that Nixon asked him on the 23rd to go, and did not specify that he wanted a written report. April 15 Dean said he told Nixon he had gone to the prosecutors. He said Nixon told him he had been joking when he said it would not be a problem to raise $1 million for Watergate defendants. And Dean said Nixon "in a nearly inaudible tone said to me he was probably foolish to have discussed Hunt's clemency with Colson." There is no transcript of this meeting because, the White House said some time ago, the recording machine had run out of tape. Fergus Falls (Mn.) leirnal Wednesday, May 1,1974 3 scribe his post-break-in strategy. The conversation shifted after Dean's initial account of the problem of money for the defendants. This is clearly the MEN'S & BOY'S You can save now on something you'll be wearing all season! Great jackets for both men and boys. In assorted styles: Golf jackets, leather-looks, drop shoulders, nylon warm-ups. Sizes S, M, L, XL & 38-«. 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