301. Editorial Note

In his diary entry on May 29, 1972, White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman described their “uneventful departure from Moscow, except that the Soviet plane had one engine that wouldn’t function. So after we were all aboard and settled down, we had to get up and move to the backup plane, which was incredibly embarrassing to the Soviets…. In Kiev, we had great crowds on arrival, but they were kept back several blocks, and so it was hard for them to see the P, but they waved and hollered anyway. Hard to see the way the Russians treat the people, because they ran the motorcade pretty fast, and there were great opportunities if they had just given the people the chance to see the P, but obviously they don’t want to.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition)

In his May 30 diary entry the following morning, Haldeman recorded: “Nothing special in Kiev this morning. P went through a lot of trivia on the plane on the way to Iran. It was great to get back on Air Force One, where we could settle down and talk.” At this point, the editor’s note in the Multimedia Edition of Haldeman’s diaries reads:

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“While in the USSR, the Americans were constantly afraid that they might be overheard by listening devices. That was why Haldeman recorded parts of his journal in the car.” (Ibid.) In his memoirs Kissinger wrote: “Alas, the splendid Presidential apartment proved unsuited to the conduct of business. Our security experts were certain it was bugged by sophisticated equipment, Nixon refused to use the babbler; its noise drove him crazy. Thus, the President and I were reduced to using his American limousine parked outside for really private conversations, hoping that its bulletproof windows would inhibit any electronic equipment aimed at it.” (White House Years, page 1207) Nixon recalled in his memoirs: “Because of the pervasive bugging, I did not dictate any diary entries while we were in the Soviet Union.” He noted that “the Soviets were curiously unsubtle in this regard. A member of my staff reported having casually told his secretary that he would like an apple, and ten minutes later a maid came in and put a bowl of apples on the table.” Nixon wrote that he had, however, kept extensive notes during the trip and made several long dictations from them after he returned. (RN: Memoirs, pages 618–619)