From relations with the U.S.S.R to reasons why women don’t swear, some of Nixon’s most private conversations in the White House are now being made public.
Nearly 4,000 hours of secret recordings from President Richard Nixon’s first term will be detailed in a new book. Vanity Fair magazine released some of these recordings this week, including conversations between Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
Even homosexuality was a topic between White House staff. Among the released recordings is a conversation on April 28, 1971 between the president, Kissinger and chief of staff Bob Haldeman on homosexuality and society:
Nixon: Let me say something before we get off the gay thing. I don’t want my views misunderstood. I am the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop. They have a problem. They’re born that way. You know that. That’s all. I think they are. Anyway, my point is, though, when I say they’re born that way, the tendency is there. [But] my point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders, and others bring them in that direction, and teachers. And if you look over the history of societies, you will find, of course, that some of the highly intelligent people … Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, were all homosexuals. Nero, of course, was, in a public way, in with a boy in Rome.
Historian Luke Nichter and Vanity Fair contributing editor Douglas Brinkley, NBC’s presidential historian, are the authors behind the book The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 which will be released on July 29.
We also featured the new Nixon tapes in the Hardball Sideshow last night. Check it out here: