The Daily Journal from Fergus Falls, Minnesota on August 6, 1974 · Page 8
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The Daily Journal from Fergus Falls, Minnesota · Page 8

Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 6, 1974
Page 8
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Latest transcripts reveal Nixon-Haldeman conversation By MICHAEL PUTZEL Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) "Don't go any further into this case, period!" That was President Nixon's indirect order to the FBI after he learned federal agents were on the verge of discovering what he already had been told: The Watergate break-in six days earlier had been committed by the President's men. Tape transcripts made public on Monday also show Nixon was told his campaign director, John N. Mitchell, apparently knew about the intelligence- gathering scheme in advance and pressured subordinates "to get more information." Nixon repeatedly had denied knowledge of any high-level involvement in Watergate or any participation in a cover-up of the scandal. The 46 pages of newly released transcript include portions of three meetings between Nixon and presidential Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman on June 23, 1972 — six days after the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate Office Building. At the outset of a wide-ranging political strategy discussion regarding the ongoing presidential campaign, Haldeman told the President: "Now, on the investigation, you know the Democratic break-in thing, we're back in the problem area because the FBI is not under control, because (acting FBI Director L. Patrick) Gray doesn't exactly know how to control it, and they have — their investigation is now leading into some productive areas — because they've been able to trace the money — not through the money itself—but through the bank sources — the banker. "And, and it goes in some directions we don't want it to go." Haldeman said Mitchell had come up with a recommendation, analyzed and agreed to by White House counsel John W. Dean III, "that the only way to solve this, and we're set up beautifully to do it... is for us to have (Deputy CIA Director Vernon A.) Walters call Pat Gray and just say, 'Stay the hell out of this....'" Nixon's top aide advised the plan would work because it wasn't unusual for the spy agency to "put the hold on" FBI investigations that threatened to expose covert CIA operations and "the FBI agents who are working the case ... feel that's what it is." Under questioning from Nixon, Haldeman said the money used for the break-in was "directly traceable" from Nixon campaign contributors through campaign finance chief Maurice H. Stans and his Finance Committee to He-elect the President. Nixon suggested the contributors could tell the agents a false story about the money, but Haldeman cautioned, "Then we're relying on more and more people all the time. That's the problem, and they'll stop if we could take this other route." . "All right," the President said. Haldeman: "And you seem to think the thing to do is to get them to stop?" Nixon: "Right. Fine." They discussed how to get CIA Director Richard Helms to go along with the plan, and Nixon suggested, "We protected Helms from one hell of a lot of things." Nixon apparently was referring to Hunt's role in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and perhaps other, still-classified exploits of the romantically inclined American spy. "Well, what the hell, did Mitchell know about this (break-in conspiracy)?" Nixon said. Haldeman: "I think so. I don't think he knew the details, but I think he knew." Nixon:"He didn't know how it was going to be handled though — with (campaign contributor Kenneth) Dahlberg and the Texans and so forth? Well, who was'the asshole that did? Is it (G. Gordon) Liddy? Is that the fellow? He must be a little nuts!" Haldeman: "He is." Nixon: "I mean he just isn't well screwed on is he? Is that the problem?" Haldeman: "No, but he was under pressure, apparently to get more information, and as he got more pressure, he pushed the people harder to move harder — " Nixon: "Pressure from Mitchell?" Haldeman: "Apparently." Nixon: "Oh, Mitchell. Mitchell was at the point unintelligible)." Haldeman: "Yeah." Nixon: "All right, fine. I understand it all. We won't second-guess Mitchell and the rest. Thank God it wasn't (special presidential counsel Charles W.) Colson." The President then ordered Haldeman to call in Helms and Walters of the CIA and "play it tough. That's the way they play it, and that's the way we are going to play it." later in the conversation, when telling Haldeman what to tell the CIA officials, Nixon advised, "Don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is a comedy of errors, without getting into it. The President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. "And ah, because these people are plugging for (unintelligible) and that they should call the FBI in and (unintelligible) don't go any further into this case, period.'" THE PHOTO CENTER ... • First with Silk Finish Prints • First with Borderless Prints • And now, First with ... •MftfilSTieK' Pictures mount like *. magic 1 "the finishing touch to beautiful memories' increase in cost 1 . PHOTO CENTER' Just before Haldeman and. domestic aide John D. Ehrlich- inan met with the spy agency chiefs early that afternoon, the President spoke to his chief of staff again. Only a brief portion of the tape of that nine-minute meeting was released by the White _ House. The transcript begins with the President telling Haldeman: "Okay, just postpone ... Just say (unintelligible) very bad to have this fellow Hunt, ah, he knows too damned much, if he was involved — you happen to know that? "If it gets out that this is all involved, the Cuba thing, it would be a fiasco. It would make the CIA look bad; it's going to make Hunt look bad, and it is likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs thing which we think would be very unfortunate — both for CIA and for the country at this time, and for American foreign policy. "Just tell him to lay off. Don't you?" "Yep," Haldeman replied. "That's the basis to do it on. Just leave it at that." I^ter that afternoon, Haldeman reported the outcome of the meeting with Helms and Walters: Haldeman: "No problem." Nixon: (Unintelligible) Haldeman: "Well, it was kind of interesting. Walters made the point, and I didn't mention Hunt. I just said that the thing was leading into directions that were going to create potential problems because they were exploring leads that led back into areas that would be harmful to the CIA and harmful to the government.... "Walters is going to make a call to Gray. That's the way we put it, and that's the way it was left." Testimony from Walters, Gray and Helms shows that Gray indeed did get the message and ordered a temporary holdup of his agents' pursuit of the Watergate money. But he pressed Walters for a memo saying that the continued investigation would compromise CIA activities. When Walters refused to provide such written assurance, Gray ordered a resumption of the probe and informed the President that some of his aides were "trying to mortally wound" him by using the FBI and CIA. Gray testified that after a "slight pause," the President said: "Pat, you just continue to conduct your aggressive and thorough investigation." Fergus Falls (Mn.) Journal Tues., August 6,1974 g * Nixon admits blocking investigation PRESIDENT NIXON R R. HALDEMAN Continued from page 1 repeated today that the Nixon lawyer has no intention of resigning. H. R. Haldeman, Nixon's former chief of staff, declined comment on the new tran- Serious conflicts now seen in statements by President WASHINGTON (AP) - Newly released Watergate transcripts conflict with some of Nixon's denials of involvement in the affair. The President, in releasing the three new transcripts on Monday, conceded that two of his earlier statements had been wrong. He said that in one case his memory had played tricks on him. In another case he had missed the importance of transcripts that show he tried to keep the FBI from investigating an important aspect of the Watergate break- in. Here are the major conflicts: MAY 21 STATEMENT The President issued a lengthy written statement May 22, 1973, denying personal involvement in the Watergate cover-up. He conceded he had tried to limit the scope of the FBI's investigation, but said he had instructed his aides —H. R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman — only to tell the FBI and Central Intelligence Agency to ensure that no secret CIA operation was uncovered. "It was certainly not my intent, nor my wish, that the investigation of the Watergate break-in or of related acts be impeded in any way," the President had said. He said then that some others had later undertaken "wide- ranging efforts to limit the investigation," but added,"I was not aware of any such efforts at the time." The tapes show otherwise. Six days after the Watergate break-in, the President was told that the FBI investigation was threatening to uncover a financial link between the burglars and his own re-election campaign committee, and that this would involve his chief fund raiser Maurice H. Stans, and possibly his campaign director John N. Mitchell. He approved a plan to have the CIA tell the FBI to "stay the hell out of this." The only discussion of possible national security implications was a suggestion by Nixon that Haldeman and Khrlichman tell the CIA that a full FBI investigation might embarrass the CIA because it had employed E. Howard Hunt Jr., one of the burglars. In a statement Monday, the President said the May 22 statement was wrong. "That statement was based on my recollection at the time — some 11 months later — plus documentary materials and relevant public testimony of those involved," he said. AUGUST 15 STATEMENT On Aug. 15, 1973, the President said he didn't know about the cover-up until White House counsel John W. Dean III told him about it on March 21, 1973. "Not only was I unaware of any cover-up, but ... I was unaware there was anything to cover up," Nixon said. Actually, Nixon had been told more than a year earlier, within a week of the Watergate break-in itself, that Mitchell might have had some prior knowledge of the wiretapping, and that two former White House aides, Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, were involved. Haldeman told him that Mitchell didn't know details, but said Mitchell probably pressured Liddy into commiting the burglary by demanding more intelligence information about the Democrats. APRIL 29 STATEMENT .; When President Nixon released the first batch of edited transcripts a little more than three months ago, on April 29, he said: "These actions will at last, once and for all, show that what I knew and what I did with regard to the Watergate break- in and cover-up were just as I have described them to you from the very beginning." Actually, the facts were somewhat different from what Nixon had stated publicly, as he admitted Monday. He said April 29, "The full resources of the FBI and the Justice Department were used to investigate the (Watergate) incident thoroughly. 1 instructed my staff and campaign aides to cooperate fully with the investigation." According to the new transcript, Nixon instructed his aides to tell the FBI, "Don't go any further into this case, period!" Nixon said April 29 that the transcripts he released then -will tell it all. Everything that is relevant is included," he said. Actually, the highly relevant June 23 tapes were not included. Nixon said Monday that he found out that the June 23 tapes "presented potential problems" for him, but only a short time after the releasing of the first batch of transcripts. He conceded that he had been wrong to withhold the June 23 tapes from the House Judiciary Committee and from his own lawyers. "I did not realize the extent of the implications which these conversations might now appear to have," he explained. "This was a serious act of omission for which I take full responsibility and which I deeply regret." Ford Preserving a Heritage/Insuring the Future FERGUSFALLS Continued from page 1 June 23, 1972 conversation released by Nixon Monday "is the type of hard proof I believe is necessary. I can see no escape from this information." Sandman said there is no question in his mind but that the transcript establishes an irn- peachable offense under the first article of impeachment voted by the committee — the one charging obstruction of justice in the cover-up of the Watergate break-in. Asked whether he thinks the Senate would convict Nixon if the House votes impeachment, Sandman replied, "I can't see how they could do otherwise." Rep. Charles E. Wiggins, R- Calif., who carried the main burden of Nixon's defense in the Judiciary Committee, said Monday: "After considerable reflection, I have reached the painful conclusion that the President of the United States should resign." Wiggins added that he would vote for impeachment if Nixon remained in office. Also changing their minds Monday on impeachment were Republican Judiciary Committee members David W. Dennis of Indiana, Wiley Mayne of Iowa and Joseph J. Maraziti of New Jersey. Those on the committee reassessing their positions, in addition to Latta, were Carlos J. Moorhead of California, Henry P. Smith III of New York and the committee's ranking Republican, Edward Hutchinson of Michigan. Travel firm ruling made SOISTS OF AN INTERNATIONAL FRATERNAL BENEFIT SOCIETY LONG LIVING VIKINGS be.^ln ,K suecis! vays. TV VIKING Uegazme - , mc-, t N: v pub!-cauon for 2Ht Century Vik.njs. SONS OF soaiVAY FOUNDATION - i JiuTanrtaiian a-ci c./:^'j! act;\ir, v^ith c*.-po«. FRATERNAL AFFAIRS - cover.-ig a ,%n)e large of C.XT 'ecreafor.j!, j-id fducatior-a: O'ogra-rv SERVICE PLUS BENEFITS ttvojghcut [he Un ted ^ida. a-3 Nor,«v. *• HUBERT THOMPSON REPRESENTATIVE ROUTE 3,OTTER TAIL LAKE ROAD, FERGUS FALLS ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State Securities Commissioner Edward J. Driscoll has ordered an Illinois travel ; firrn to stop doing business in Minnesota until it complies with the state's franchise regulation law. Driscoll's order was directed against Travel Guild international, Division of TGA, Inc., 2720 Des Plaines Ave., Des Plaines. III. The securities division contends the firm is offering contracts in connection with travel counseling and ticket agent services which amount to franchises. State law requires any franchise offering to be registered. scripts which depict the President and him devising a way to divert the FBI's Watergate investigation. Reached by telephone at the home of his mother-in-law near Los Angeles, Haldeman said: "I have told you all over and over again that I would have no comment. Even if 1 had a comment, I couldn't make it because I'm under a court order not to make any comment. I will not have a comment on this or any of the other things that are happening." On Capitol Hill, more of Nixon's once-staunch defenders called for his resignation or impeachment. But White House spokesmen again denied Nixon would step down, saying instead he plans "to fight on." A tidal wave of reaction followed Nixon's release on Monday of a statement and new tape transcripts disclosing that: —Qave orders within a week after the Watergate break-in that the Central Intelligence Agency be used to blunt an FBI investigation that threatened to expose the fact his campaign aides channeled money to the burglars. —Was told six days after the break-in that his campaign director and former attorney general, John N. Mitchell, may have had some prior knowledge of the wiretapping plans. —Withheld evidence from his closest advisers and lawyers as well as the House Judiciary Committee, and made erroneous statements to the American public. "This was a serious act of omission for which I take full responsibility and which I deeply regret," Nixon said in the written statement. Acknowledging that his impeachment by the House is "virtually a foregone conclusion," Nixon said he would give the Senate for a trial the transcripts of 64 White House tape recordings he is turning over to U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica under a Supreme Court order. The harsh reaction of even of some of his closest allies eclipsed the furor that followed his firing last October of special prosecutor Archibald Cox — an incident that triggered what aides later called a f irestorm of protest. But his promise to yield more tapes did little to soften the harsh reaction of some of his closest allies. Visibly shaken and fighting to keep his composure, Rep. Charles E. Wiggins, H-Calif., the silver-haired lawyer who carried the burden of Nixon's defense in the Judiciary Committee, told newsmen: "After considerable reflection, I have reached the.painful conclusion that the President of the United States should resign." Wiggins said he would vote for impeachment if Nixon didn't quit. Three of his GOP colleagues on the committee also abandoned their support of the President. Five others said they were reassessing their positions. Other leading Republicans joined in the chorus of resignation or impeachment demands. "This is the end," said Rep. Harold V. Froehlich, R-Wis. "He's gone," said Rep. Joel T. Broyhill, R-Va. Some Southern Democrats who had been solidly in Nixon's anti-impeachment camp were wavering toward undecided. But one, Rep. Otto E. Passman, D-La., said he still backed the President because "to err is human, to forgive divine." House Democratic Leader Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill of Massachusetts said, "A tidal wave is about to strike the House as far as impeachment goes.... You wonder if he'll have a handful to support him." But Nixon said in his two- page statement that "I am firmly convinced that the record, in its entirety, does not justify the extreme step of impeachment and removal of a President." Aides said, the President and his closest advisers discussed his possible resignation during a Camp David conference Sunday. But they said that Nixon rejected the option and decided instead to follow "the constitutional process" because he didn't want to set "a precedent ,... of a President allowing himself to be driven from office." Two hours after Nixon's statement was given to a crowd of newsmen milling in the press room 3D paces from the Oval Office, the vice president's office was distributing a statement from Ford. In it, Ford said he had not seen the new evidence and would stand on his views that Nixon is innocent of any impeachable offense "until I have reason to change them." But the vice president declared a personal moratorium on further discussion of impeachment. "The business of government must go on and the genuine needs of the people must be served," he said. "I believe I can make a better contribution to this end by not involving myself daily in the impeachment debate...." The debate was certain to be spurred, however, by the revelations in the three partial transcripts released by the White House an hour after the Nixon statement. All three conversations were between Nixon and H. R. Haldeman, then his White House chief of staff, June 23,1972, six days after the Republican operatives were arrested inside Democratic national headquarters in the Watergate complex. The 46 pages of transcripts disclose Nixon's approval of a plan to cut off the FBI's probe, which was then threatening to expose involvement of his top campaign officials. Haldeman said Mitchell, then campaign director, had recommended "that the only way to solve this, and we're set up beautifully to do it... is for us to have (Deputy CIA director Vernon A.) Walters call (acting FBI Director) Pat Gray and just say, 'Stay the hell out of this ...'" l^ater, Nixon asked if Mitchell knew about the break-in conspiracy. "I think so," Haldeman replied. "I don't think he knew the details, but I think he knew." Haldeman said G. Gordon Liddy, then the campaign committee's counsel, "was under pressure, apparently, to get more information, and as he got more pressure, he pushed the people harder to move harder Nixon advised Haldeman on what to tell the CIA officials: "Don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is a comedy of errors, without getting into it. The President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. "And ah, because these people are plugging for (unintelligible) and that they should call the FBI in and (unintelligible) don't go any further into this case, period!" | Nixon said in his statement that he listened to these tapes in May. He added: "Although I recognized that these presented potential problems, I did not inform my staff or my counsel of it, or those arguing my case, nor did I amend my submission to the Judiciary Committee in order to include and reflect it. "At the time, I did not realize the extent of the implications which these conversations might now appear to have. As a result, those arguing my case, as well as those passing judgment on the case, did so with information that was incomplete and in some respects erroneous." He said his review of other tapes "has, so far, shown no other major inconsistencies with what I have previously submitted. While 1 have no way at this stage of being certain that there will not be others, I have no reason to believe that there will be." Before handing out copies of the transcripts, Deputy White House Press Secretary Gerald L. Warren told newsmen they had been prepared in a rush and "these truly are raw transcripts." Some of them, he said, "may not bear up over tune" because . a more careful listening to the tapes may reveal discrepancies. "We will upgrade the transcripts" if errors are discovered, Warren said. Meanwhile, House leaders drafted plans for the tightest security measures ever imposed at the Capitol building, to be effective during the House impeachment debate. Majority Whip John J. McFall, D-Calif., chairman of a special bipartisan committee on procedures, said the plans contemplate virtually sealing off the House end of the Capitol. And George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO, predicted that trade unions would support Ford if he ascends to the presidency because of Nixon's removal or resignation from office. Nixon: Pressure from Mitchell?" Haldeman: "Apparently." Nixon: "Oh, Mitchell. Mitchell was at the point (unintelligible)." Haldeman: "Yeah." Nixon: "All right, fine. I understand it all. We won't second-guess Mitchell and the rest. Thank God it wasn't (presidential counsel Charles W.) Colson, later in the conversation. Four counties added to aid program ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Four additional counties in Minnesota have been made eligible for special unemployment assistance because of severe storms and flooding last spring. New counties in the program are Becker, Mahnomen, Pennington and Koochiching. • Claims must be filed by Sept. 5 at state employment service offices in International Falls, Crookston, Moorhead and Thief River Falls. 'Eight other counties were designated for the program earlier but the filing period has closed in those areas. Unemployment aid is available to workers, self-employed businessmen and farmers who were put out of work because of the flood conditions from April 10 to Mav 24. We've Lost Our Lease- and can't find another location! GOING-OUT-OF-BUSINESS SALE SAVE 20% AND MORE! FERGUS HARDWARE 115 WEST IIECOLH - FERGUS FALLS - DIAL 736-2660

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