Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 8, 1974 · Page 5
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May 8, 1974

Northwest Arkansas Times from Fayetteville, Arkansas · Page 5

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Wednesday, May 8, 1974
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Editorial-Opinion Page The PufcJJc Merest Is The First Concern O/ This Newspaper 6 · WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 1974 A Major New Literary Hit The White House version of President Nixon's Watergate conversations, as transcribed from executive office tapes, is one of the major literary hits of the season, from early evidence. A second edition printing, 700 volumes at $12.25 each, sold out in three hours. The White House, earlier, had taken delivery of a first edition press run of 2,000. The government printing office is rushing a third edition of 5,000 off the presses. Practically everyone seems interested in what TIMES cartoonist Herblock calls, "Everything You Need To Know About Nixon -- But Not What You Asked For." Actually, the title is more typically bureaucratic: "Submission of Recorded Presidential Conversations to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives by President Nixon." As featured on television (frequently) during Mr. Nixon's telecast explaining his release of the information, the volumes are handsome, bright blue with gold leaf accent. They bid fair to become collector's items, even if the collector never gets around to digesting all three pounds and 1,308 pages. One historical oddity, which may or may not have anything to do with future value of the transcripts, is that on teevee, the publication was at least waist high and appeared to be a sort of "Harvard Classics" affair with at least 18 or 20 volumes. In actuality, however, it all boils down to one book. From earlier glimpses the text suggests, among other things, that serious talk is dirty talk at the White House. But even with this extended behind-the-scenes visit with Art Buchwald the President's working mind, nothing much is REALLY proven. Ambiguities remain; gaps in credibility on all sides are left intact. A host of expletives are deleted, hut they hang heavily in the air, affording thereby a picture of President Nixon that his critics find agreeably appropriate. (The evidence, though, is taken by his supporters as an example of every man's privilege of privacy.) Meanwhile, of course, the President's total disclosure leaves a number of tapes missing; long passages unintelligible; and the one crucial tape with that curious 18V4- minute deletion. What's what, for us at least, is still a long way from clear. If there is any insight to be gained from the release of all these new transcriptions, it may be contained in the fact that Mr. Nixon has again refused to release the pertinent tapes. He now contends that the transcripts are the whole story and ALL that he plans to release. He seems to be asking the public -- weary to the bone of the entire a f f a i r -- to insist that Congress settle for what's at hand and get on with the inquiry and impeachment vote. But Congress is too deeply enmeshed in the a f f a i r itself, now, its own honor at stake and its own determination to carry out its constitutional responsibility, to settle for second best. One prominent Republican is now being quoted as guessing that the House impeachment vote may not come during this session of Congress. It's as good a guess as any. Not Much Fun For Liberals By ART BUCHWALD WASHINGTON -. On Oct. 13, I960, John P. Kennedy debated Richard Nixon on television. At the time, the question of Harry Truman's cussing came up. Mr. Kennedy refused to apologize for Mr. Truman's salty language, but Mr. Nixon had strong feeling? that a President of the United States should not curse. He said in part, "One thing I have noted as I have traveled around tile country is the tremendous number of children who come out to sec the presidential candidates. I s e e mothers holding up their babies so they can see a man w h o might be President of the United Stales. I know Sen. Kennedy sees t h e m , too. It makes From Oar Files; How Time F/ies 10 YEARS AGO The Springdale school board yesterday climaxed more than a year of bickering and controversy with former school super- intendant J. 0. Kelly by filing suit against him to recover funds allegedly misappropriated. Miss America arrived in Fay- ctteville this evening where she has a full schedule of activities tomorrow in conjunction with 50 YEARS AGO Attempting to pass a car turning the corner of Dickson and University streets this morning, a tari driver crashed into a telephone pole with his cab filled with girls of the Tri Delta sorority going to class. 100 YEARS AGO The ex-Confederates throughout the county will remember the decoration of the graves of Uieir fallen comrades at this place on the 28th of this month. Let every one be present. John Smith, not the original John Smith, but our butcher John Smith, has removed his place of business to the building the Jaycee-sponsored Miss Fayetteville pageant set for John Barnhill Fieldhouse at 8 o-clock. On the agenda announced today for Monday night's Fayetteville city council meeting, is a planning commission recommendation 10 rezone a 68- acre tract on Hwy. 71 South to be used eventually by the Shakespeare Company. One of the girls fainted, but none was hurt. Spring football practice at the University of Arkansas « : i" '» formerly occupied by Thomas Carter, west side of the Square, where all kinds of meat can be found at all times. If any of our young gentlemen friends have made up their minds to commit matrimony, they should at once call at Slir- mari's Clothing Store and secure a suit of fine clothing. They'll Do It Every Time UTTLE LEASE'S IWSUN6 MEOWE-THE TH£ OTHER /MOTHERS HAVE AN O. FOR NOT PRIV1NS! 6£E,«WCT KEPT YOU? I TOO* THE STARTS HALF PAST urrs of we* BUT NO aw.' (WE VET-THE UMP WON'T SHOW UP; CIA Feeds A Red Herring To The The Washington Merry-Go-Round FBI By JACK ANDERSON WASHINGTON -- The Central Intelligence Agency switched tiles on the TBI. we have now learned, in a deliberate attempt to mislead the G-men who were investigating the Watergate break-in. The agents had discovered from the grand jury'testimony that Mrs. James McCord. wife of the Waterbugger, had burned some ot her husband's papers after he was arrested inside the Watergate on June 17. 1972. According to the testimony, someone named Pennington. who had served with McCord in the CIA. had been present at the burning. This led to a routine FBI request for a CIA file on Pennington. which threw CIA officials into a panic. For Lee Pennington, a CIA consultant, not only had been present but had participated in the burning. A faithful CIA man. he had reported the incident to his superiors, Pennington later testified that he had driven to the McCord home, as a friend of the family not as a CIA informant, after the Watergate arrest. Pennington found Mrs. McCord burning papers and joined in, although he insisted n o t h i n g sensitive was fed to th eflames. The last thing the CIA wanted was to be linked to the Watergate incident. So the CIA sent the FBI a f i l e on Cecil Pennington instead of Lee Pennington. By a coincidence. Cecil Pennington once had also been associated with McCord in the CIA. Our sources say it was no accident that the CIA furnished the FBI with the wrong file. They claim it w a s deliberate obstruction of justice. The FBI quickly recognized that Cecil Penninigton had nothing whatsoever to do with Watergate. Still suspicious, the agents asked once more for clarification. But again, say our sources, the CIA dodged. INVESTIGATION SQUELCHED: Distinguished old Sen- John Stennis, D-Miss., the Pentagon's foremost Senate champion, intervened to kill an investigation of Deputy Defense Secretary William Clements. Sources privy to the incident say Clements privately asked Stennis to intervene. Clements had come under firs from the Senate Commerce Committee for a possible conflict of interest. He owns stock valued at $100 million in SEDCO. a Dallas drilling firm. Yet he has presided at the Pentagon over policymaking decisions with regard to the A l a s k a n Naval Petroleum Reserve. His company is a bidder on the pipeline, which would be the likely outlet for oil should the rich Alaskan reserve be opened. Clements has urged that it be thrown open to commercial development. Stennis asked Senate Comm e r c e Chairman Warren Magnuson, D-Wash., to halt the investigation o f Clements, claiming jurisdiction for his own Senate Armed Services Committee. Out of Senate courtesy, Magnuson called off the investigation and turned it over to Stennis. Stennis' office acknowledged that the old man had asked Magnuson to give up the Clements case. After speaking with Stennis, however, a spokesman said he could neither confirm nor deny that the you realize that whoever is President is going to be a man that all children of America look up to or look down on, and 1 can only say I am very proud that President Eisenhower restored dignity and decency and, f r a n k l y , good language to the conduct of th« Presidency of the United States. "And I only hope, should I win this election, that I could approach President Eisenhower in maintaining the dignity of the office and see to it t h a t whenever any mother or father talks to his child, he can look at the man in the White House and, whatever he may think of his policies, he will say 'Well, there is a man who maintains the kind of standards personally that I would want my child to follow.' " .. I MUST ADMIT that even though it's been 14 years since Mr. Nixon said this I was very moved. Perhaps, I thought, for the first time in history this country would have a President who didn't cuss. Although Mr. Nixon didn't make it in 1960, he did become President in 1068, and every time he drove by in the last five years I held up my son in my arms (lie's now 20) and said, "There's a President who has the kind of standards I want you to follow." Although Joel was r a t h e r heavy, I felt it was worth the strain on my back. You can imagine my despair and disillusionment when the transcripts of the presidential tapes were released and it turned out Mr. Nixon might have been the cussingest President in our history. Almost every other word had an "cx- peltive deleted," and if you count the "inaudibles" and 'u'n- clcars" and "ambiguities." it's enough to make a U.S. marine top sergeant's hair stand on end. The question is w h a t happened between the time Nixon debated Kennedy and the time he became President of the United States. I sincerely believe Mr. Nixon was telling the truth when he said he was shocked by Harry Truman's language. I also believe in my heart he didn't start cussing until he lost the election to Kennedy. .. A F R I E N D OF Mr. Nixon told me. "I never heard Dick use an 'expletive deleted' until the I960 Illinois results of the election came in. In 1962, he lost the race for governor in California and he let out one 'inaudible' after another. I didn't know there were that many 'expletives' in the English language. It was hard after that to have Dick over to the house when the children were around. "I thought when he became President and he was more secure he'd stop using 'expletives.' but apparently once you start using them it's hard to give them up," the friend said. And so it turns out that President Nixon was no better than Harry Truman when it came to language, and a lot worse than President Eisenhower. It's something we'll all have to get used to. But I know one thing -- I'm no longer going to hold up my 20-year-old son in my arms when the President drives by. Any President who promises to restore good language to the Presidency and then talks the way he did is nothing but an "inaudible" in my book. (C) 1974, Los Aagete* Time* A Little Like Rationing State Of Affairs How March 21 Tape Was Saved WASHINGTON -- As everybody knows by now, the tape of tapes is the crucial March 21, 1973, conversation of President Nixon, John Dean and H R. (Bob) Haldeman. Although the White House has made public the edited transcriptions of 30 other tapes, it is the one of March 21 recording, revolving the front pages and the television screens. All of the 1.308 transcribed pages put out by the White House are full of human and historical interest, but it is the March 21 recording, revolving! around talk of extortion, blackmail, covcrups, hush money and other desperate measures that matters when it comes down o actual impeachment. This unique example of super- self-bugging, secretly recorded in the Oval Office on the first day of spring last year, is clearly destined to become one of the most astounding official documents in U.S. history. And one question that will intrigue the historians is how, considering the fate of lesser Watergate tapes, the most damaging on* of all managed to survive to h a u n t the President. There is an answer, one that Sir Arthur Corum Doyle, the author of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," would have relished, for it involves the very smart outsmarting themselves, trapped by their own cleverness. But first, the story on how this came about. On July 16. 1973, Alexander Butterfield, a former White House official, revealed to the Senate Watergate investigating committee, headed by Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N.C.), that Mr. Nixon automatically taped all conversations in his office in the West Wing of the White House and the adjoining Executive Office Building. .. THE FOLLOWING day, Sen. Ervin and Archibald Cox, then the Watergate special prosecutor, tailed on Mr. Nixon to make available to them the tape* relevant to to* Watergate investigation. When Mr. Nixon flatly declined, Cox issued subpoenas, which were defied. This led to U.S. Dist. Judge John J. Sirica ordering compliance, which the White House appealed to the U.S. circuit court. The appellate court upheld Sirica and gave Mr. Nixon five days to go to the Supreme Court. B e f o r e this deadline, however, the Oct. 20 Saturday Night Massacre occurred, in which Cox was fired and the attorney general, Elliot Richardson, and the deputy attorney general, William Ruc- kclshaus, resigned. The public reaction was s» hostile to the White House that Mr. Nison caved in and promised to surrender the tapes to Judge Sirica. But there was a catch. A week later, the White House informed the court that two of the nine subpoenaed tapes were missing and a third had never been recorded. Three weeks later, it was further revealed that still another tape had an 1814 minute gap. Experts told the court there had been erasures, which to this day are still being investigated. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee, charged with Impeachment responsibilities, asked for but did not get 42 White House tapes. When the committee issued formal subpoenas, the President last week countered by turning over expurgated transcripts of 31 of the tapes. Hi sattomey s a i d the other 11 were missing or had not been recorded. .. SO, IN TOTAL, 15 tapes have now been denied the investigators on one excuse or another. Since the White House explanations h a v e already aroused widespread skepticisim, there would seem to be little disadvantage in losing, mislaying or blurring one more of the tapes, especially one so damaging 19 the March 21 recording. But the life of that tape was accidentally saved by a N'ixon- Batdeman maneuver of last July, following the testimony of John Dean that, on March 21, 1973, the President had explored with him the payment of hush money to Watergate defendants who were threatening to squeal. Mr. Nixon denied this in a letter to Sen. Ervin, although he declined to make any supporting tapes available to the Senate investigating committee- Several days later, however, Haldeman, in testifying before the Ervin committee, backed the President and denounced Dean's version of the March 21 meeting. His clincher was that, at the request of Mr. Nixon, he had personally reviewed the March 21 tape and therefore could authoritatively corroborate the President's version of it. This got the President some immediate favorable publicity, but the lasting effect was to establish that the March 21 tape was still in existence, in good condition and intelligible. Thereafter, it was hardly possible to claim it had become lost or unintelligible, or had never existed. Sen. Ervin charged that H»l- deman's testimony was part of a "planned action" by the White House to "leak" a favorable version of the March 21 meeting. If so. both the President and Haldeman are paying for it. The latter is now charged with perjury for telling the Ervin committee that the March 21 tape would show that Mr. Nixon had said "it would be wrong" to pay hush money to the Watergate burglars. - - (C) 1»74, L«s Aigele* Times.. TWO-FOLK LIMIT Florida's rapid growth is behind much new proposed legislation, as witness a request made recently by the Martin County Anglers Club. It asked that a limit of two poles per person be imposed on surf fishermen. People using more than that are taking up more than their fair share of beachfront, it complained. - Miami (Fla.) Herald senator had Intervened at Clement's request. "He talks with Clements all the time," said the spokesman. After our inquiries, Stennu hastily put out a statement claiming he had investigated the alleged Clements conflict and had found Clements innocent. Stennis noted that Clements had removed himself f r o m any decision-making regarding the oil reserves. I n an earlier column, however, we printed memos which revealed Clements was still involved in oil decisions after he supposedly had removed himself. FOOTNOTE: Meanwhile, confidential Treasury Department documents reveal that the President's cabinet-level Emergency Energy Action Group wants to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge "to commercial oil development." This refuge, which happens to be located next to the oil-rich A l a s k a n Naval Petroleum Reserve, shelters some of the world's rarest animals on ona of the last truly wild frontiers. The energy group's recommendation, presented in a memo meant for the eyes only of Treasury Secretary William Simon and energy czar John Sawhill, illustrates the Adminis- t r a t i o n ' s determination to override any environmental concern that stands in the way of energy production, A battle is now raging in Congress over the issue, with Sen. Adlai Stevenson. D-I11., and Rep. John Moss, D Calif., leading the fight to protect the public interest on Alaska's lucrative north slope. WASHINGTON WHIRL: The acquittal of former Ally. Gen. John Mitchell and Commerce Secretary Maurice Stans caused rumblings inside the special prosecutors' office. Although this wasn't their case, they are c o n c e r n e d about t h e psychological effect it will have on future Watergate cases. They are particularly nervous over the case against those who burglarized the offices of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. They are trying this as a civil rights case rattier than a burglary. Some of the Watergate lawyers fear this is stretching a legal point.... The American Electric Power System, which once urged take- o v e r s of consumer-owned companies through subversion of city councils, is on the brink of gobbling up Fort Wayne's municipal utility. There t h e giant firm has promised glistening downtown buildings as a caTTOt to city voter. Actually, the lease dea'l probably w i l l mean hikes in the Indiana city's low rates, particualrly for low- income elderly and placks. From The Readers Viewpoint Goofing Off To the Editor: I would just as soon you did not publish my name, I feel so foolish about it all. A f t e r having driven for over 40 years without so much as a bobble to put another automobile driver in a "bind" so to speak, the other day, while engaged in avid conversation with the passenger in my car, 1 pulled a real boo-boo. which lasted for a couple of blissfully ignorant seconds which could have been crucial. What I did does not matter here; the purpose of this letter is to thank the gentleman who, in the midst of his decidedly apropos DEFENSIVE driving, actually seemed to be wearing the hint of a smile on his face -- enigmatic, I admit, something like Mona Lisa's. You couldn't tell what he was thinking. I could make several guesses. Anyway, I just want to thank him fer his courtesy and his patience at a time when I definitely goofed off. You can bet. Mister, I'll never do that again! (Name Withheld by Request Fayetteville Voting Rights To the Editor: After County Clerk Ru* Roberts' statement in last week's TIMES, several people, who know I'm from Fayetteville. have come up to me and asked why she would take such an attitude about not allowing a voter registration booth to bs set up in the U of A Student Union. My answer to them is, "she has been co-operative in the past and must have had a bad day before making that statement, and possibly she will change her mind." Mrs. Roberts may not know there is considerable turnover each year of faculty and staff at the university. There is a good chance some of those hired for 1973-74 school year have not registered to vote and it would be very convenient for these people to register at a university booth. She may also not be aware that faculty and staff frequent the student union for lunch, meetings, purchases at the bookstore, etc. It is my understanding the League of Women Voters volunteered to staff a voter registration booth and got no response from Mrs. Roberts. It seemes to me with approximately 35,900 registered voters out of 77,370 Washington County residents, Mrs. Roberts needs to find some way to encourage people to register. I feel sure she will come op with something. Election time it approaching. (Name Withheld By Raqoest) Fay«tt«vllJ»

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