166. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

[Omitted here are opening comments and brief discussion of Henry Kissinger and the India-Pakistan conflict.]

President: On the other thing, incidentally, on the Moorer thing,2 you just couldn’t even dream of having Moorer out of that thing. I mean, he’s part of a system, and the damn thing I’m sure started before he was there. I think it goes back over years, and it probably went further than he ever expected it was going to go. That’s my guess.

Haig: [unclear] I think that—

President: And we got to remember that basically he’s our ally in terms of what we believe in, and the worse thing we could do now is to hurt the military. I tried to get that through what Henry said, but that’s what, that’s the line we’re playing on the thing. Don’t you agree? We just gotta do that. In June, of course we could take a look, but not now.

Haig: [unclear]

President: Well, after all, Moorer’s a good man, and he’s with us. This thing, of course, is pretty bad, it’s a, understand, not sending the information over but going through briefcases, that goes too far.

Haig: [Inaudible comment]

President: It just develops. The guy thought he was, you know, doing his job. And then we got a guy that starts to leak. That of course is the worst, but that’s the Ellsberg syndrome.

[Omitted here is discussion of Kissinger, his conflict with Secretary of State Rogers, the India-Pakistan war, and Vietnam.]

President: I told him [Kissinger] to forget this thing about the Moorer thing. Just forget it. Leave it to Mitchell to work out. I’ve already decided we’re going to cool this thing. We’re gonna, and I’m gonna, I told Ehrlichman we ought to keep that yeoman right here in [Page 338] Washington. Sign him over to the Pentagon where we can watch him, 24 hours a day and then that’s it.3

[Omitted here is further discussion of Yeoman Radford and closing comments.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between Nixon and Haig, White House Telephone, Conversation No. 17–28. No classification marking. Haig’s voice on the tape is extremely faint. The editors transcribed the portion of the conversation printed here specifically for this volume.
  2. See Document 164.
  3. The President telephoned John Mitchell at 5:33 p.m. on December 24 and conveyed a similar message: “I think the main thing is to keep it under as close control as we can. But I—We cannot move to do anything to discredit the uniform. That’s what I’m convinced of.” “Our best interests are served by not, you know, raising holy hell.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Conversation between Nixon and Mitchell, December 24, 1971, 5:33 p.m., White House Telephone, Conversation No. 17–37) Yeoman Radford was transferred to the Northwest.