154. Editorial Note

On June 13, 1971, The New York Times began publishing a series of articles based on the “Pentagon Papers,” the Department of Defense’s top secret history of U.S. policy-making in Vietnam from World War II to 1968. The study, most of which Daniel Ellsberg leaked to the Times, included several thousand pages of Department of Defense, Department of State, White House, and Central Intelligence Agency documents. The following exchange took place during a telephone conversation on June 13 in which Alexander Haig, the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs, briefed President Nixon on the “Pentagon Papers”:

H[aig]: It’s the most incredible thing. All of the White House papers; Rostow papers; communications with the ambassadors; JCS studies.

“P[resident]: We have been more careful, haven’t we? We have kept a lot from State, I know, and enough from Defense.

“H: Your White House papers are in very good shape.

“P: That’s why we don’t tell them anything.” (Transcript of telephone conversation; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Haig Chronological File, Box 998, Haig Telcons—1971)