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Nixon and Hoover: Partners in Power

Nixon Tapes Demonstrate Similar Thinking on Issues of the Day

While the friendship between Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover went back to at least the late 1940s when young Congressman Richard M. Nixon was working on the Alger Hiss trial, a newly assembled collection of Nixon-Hoover conversations secretly captured on the Nixon taping system demonstrates that Nixon and Hoover were more than simply colleagues. They agreed on far more than they disagreed, and their temperaments, approach to controversial issues of their time, and their modes of operation were also similar. 

While Nixon was occasionally under pressure to force Hoover to retire, Nixon rarely said a cross word about Hoover that was captured on the taping system. Some commentators have noted that Hoover, who had been Director of the FBI since 1935 and was originally appointed by President Calvin Coolidge as the Director of the Bureau of Investigation, was to some degree feared by a successive line of presidents up to Nixon because Hoover "knew too much", and therefore was never forced to retire despite such desires by numerous presidents.

Director Hoover was also a figure of some intrigue, both for personal and professional reasons. His personal life and alleged homosexuality was controversial, and was his management of the FBI which some have said overextended both ethical and legal boundaries. These tactics, combined with Hoover's very long tenure in power only further compounded a sense of intrigue that few, if any, researchers have been able to penetrate. It is safe to say that researchers and historians will need at least as long as the four decades of Hoover's tenure to fully document his career, now that records are becoming more widely available through the process of the Freedom of Information Act.

The list below represents all conversations between Nixon and Hoover that were captured on the Nixon taping system, ending only a few weeks before Hoover's death. The locations where the conversations took place varied, including the Oval Office, the Executive Office Building, and telephones in the Oval Office, EOB, and the Lincoln Sitting Room in the residence of the White House. The topics discussed also varied greatly, including law enforcement issues, terrorism, previous presidents, wiretapping, Nixon's defense of Hoover, the Pentagon Papers, the media, Jimmy Hoffa, Vietnam, and anti-drug efforts.

The participants are as follows:

P = President Richard Nixon
SBB = Steve B. Bull
JDE = John D. Ehrlichman
JEH = J. Edgar Hoover
HAK = Henry A. Kissinger
EK = Egil "Bud" Krogh, Jr.
JNM = John N. Mitchell
WHO = White House Operator

Conversation

Date

Time Participants Audio

Summary

001-123 4/17/1971 10:45 - 10:52 am P, SBB, WHO, JEH, HAK mp3 (3.5m) doc (28k)
253-023a 5/26/1971 4:11 - 5:20 pm P, JEH, JNM, JDE, EK mp3 (22.0m) doc (70k)
253-023b       mp3 (41.4m)  
003-145 5/26/1971 6:58 - 7:01 pm P, JEH mp3 (2.4m) doc (27k)
003-169a 5/28/1971 9:34 - 9:43 am P, JEH mp3 (3.2m) doc (30k)
003-169b       mp3 (6.6m)  
004-017 6/01/1971 10:23 - 10:29 pm P, JEH mp3 (5.3m) doc (28k)
509-005 6/03/1971 9:59 - 10:04 am P, JEH, JNM, EK, JDE mp3 (4.4m) doc (27k)
006-084 7/01/1971 6:00 - 6:07 pm P, JEH mp3 (6.4m) doc (29k)
015-106 11/22/1971 5:39 - 5:45 pm P, WHO, JEH mp3 (5.0m) doc (29k)
017-046a 12/24/1971 9:14 - 9:17 pm P, JEH mp3 (2.9m) doc (29k)
017-046b       mp3 (1.4m)  
022-113 4/11/1972 8:00 - 8:01 pm P, JEH mp3 (1.5m) doc (25k)

   

 

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