John Dean: “Cancer on the Presidency”

Speaker: Richard M. Nixon
Delivered On: 3/21/1973
Place: Oval Office, The White House
Subject: Watergate Affair, 1972-1974.
Audio/Video Available:

Description: The “Cancer on the Presidency” conversation: Dean recaps the history of the Watergate
break-in and subsequent cover-up for the President. They guess at who was responsible
for setting the break-in in motion. Dean tells the President that the cover-up is
“a cancer on the Presidency” that must be excised or his The “Cancer on the Presidency”
conversation: Dean recaps the history of the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up
for the President. They guess at who was responsible for setting the break-in in
motion. Dean tells the President that the cover-up is “a cancer on the Presidency”
that must be excised or his Presidency would be in danger. Also discussed: references
to blackmail, perjury; discussion of paying the burglars off with one million dollars.
10:12 TO 11:55 AM

PRESIDENT: John, sit down, sit down.
DEAN: Good morning.
PRESIDENT: Well, what is the Dean summary of the day about?
DEAN: John caught me on the way out and asked me about why Gray was holding back
on information, if that was under instructions from us. And it, uh, it was and it
wasn’t. Uh, it was instructions proposed by the Attorney General, consistent with
your press conference statement that no further raw data was to be turned over to
PRESIDENT: Full committee.
DEAN: …full committee.
DEAN: And that was the extent of it. And Gray, himself, is the one who reached the
conclusion that no more information be turned over; he’d turned over enough. Uh,
so this is again Pat Gray making decisions on his own as to how to handle his hearings.
He has been totally unwilling all along to take any guidance, any instruction. We
don’t know what he is going to do. He is not going to talk about it. He won’t review
it, uh, and I don’t think…

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 2

DEAN: …he does it to harm you in any way, sir.
PRESIDENT: He’s just quite stubborn and — he’s quite stubborn; also he isn’t very
smart. You know he and I–
DEAN: He’s bullheaded.
PRESIDENT: He’s smart in his own way, but…
DEAN: Yeah.
PRESIDENT: …but he’s got that typical, “Well, by God, this is right and they’re
not going to do it.”
DEAN: That’s why he thinks he’ll be confirmed, because he thinks he’s being, he’s
being his own man He’s being forthright, honest. He’s feels he has turned over too
much and so it’s a conscious decision that he is harming the Bureau by doing this
and so he’s not going to–
PRESIDENT: (Sighs) I hope to God that we can get off (unintelligible) though today,
this is because the White House told him to do this and that other thing. And also,
I told Ehrlichman, I don’t see why our little boys can’t make something out of the
fact that, God darn it, this is the, this is the, the only responsible decision
you could possibly make. The FBI cannot turn over raw files. Has anybody made that
point? I’ve tried…

MARCH 21, 1973 -FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 3

DEAN: Sam Ervin has made that point himself.
DEAN: Uh, in fact, in reading the transcript of Gray’s hearings, Ervin tried to
hold Gray back from doing what he was doing at the time he did it. Uh, I thought
it was very unwise. I don’t think that anyone is criticizing…
PRESIDENT: Well, let’s say —
DEAN: … your position on it.
PRESIDENT: Let’s make the point, let’s make the point that the raw files cannot
be turned over. Well, I think that point should be made.
DEAN: That, that–
PRESIDENT: (Background noises) We are standing for the rights of innocent individuals.
The American Civil Liberty Union is against it. We’re against it. (Unintelligible)
tradition, and it will continue to be the tradition that all files are — I’d like
to turn them (Unintelligible) let them see what is in one.
DEAN: How damaging–
PRESIDENT: Any further word on, on Sullivan? Is he still–

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 4

DEAN: Yeah, he’s, he’s going to be over to see me today, this morning, hopefully,
some-time. Uh–
PRESIDENT: As soon as you get that, I’ll be available to talk to you this afternoon.
DEAN: All right, sir.
PRESIDENT: I’ll be busy until about one o’clock; after that we can contact. Anytime
you’re through I would like to see whatever thing he has. Well, he’ 5 got something,
but I’d like-to just see what it is.
DEAN: Uh, the reason I thought we ought to talk this morning is because in, in our
conversations, uh, uh, I have, I have the impression that you don’t know everything
I know
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: …and it makes it very difficult for you to make judgments that, uh, that
only you can make…
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: … on some of these things and I thought that–
PRESIDENT: You’ve got, in other words, I’ve got to know why you feel that, uh, that
DEAN: Well, let me…
PRESIDENT: …that, that we shouldn’t unravel something.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 5

DEAN: …let me give you my overall first.
PRESIDENT: In other words, you, your judgment as to where it stands, and where we
go now—
DEAN: I think, I think that, uh, there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem
we’re, we’ve got. We have a cancer–within, close to the Presidency, that’s growing.
It’s growing daily. It’s compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds
itself. Uh, that’ll be clear as I explain you know, some of the details, uh, of
why it is, and it basically is because (1) we’re being blackmailed; (2) uh, people
are going to start perjuring themself very quickly that have not had to perjure
themselves to protect other people and the like. And that is just–and there is
no assurance–
PRESIDENT: That it won’t bust.
DEAN: That, that won’t bust.
DEAN: So, let me give you the sort of basic facts’ talking first about the Watergate;
and then about Segretti; and then about some of the peripheral items that, uh, have
come up. First of all, on, on the Watergate: How did it all start, where did it
start? It started with an instruction to me from Bob Haldeman to see if we couldn’t
set up a perfectly legitimate campaign intelligence operation over at the Re-election

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 6

DEAN: Not being in this business, I turned to somebody who had been in this business,
Jack Caulfield, who is, I don’t know if you remember Jack or not. He was your original
bodyguard before
DEAN: …they had…
DEAN: …candidate, candidate…
DEAN: …protection, an old New York City policeman.
PRESIDENT: Right, I know, I know him.
DEAN: Uh, Jack had worked for John and then was transferred to my office. I said,
“Jack, come up with a plan that, you know, is a normal infiltration, I mean, you
know, buying informa- tion from secretaries and all that sort of thing.” He did,
he put together a plan. It was kicked around, and, uh, I went to Ehrlichman with
it. I went to Mitchell with it, and the consensus was that Caulfield wasn’t the
man to do this. Uh, in retrospect, that might have been a bad call, ’cause he is
an incredibly cautious person and, and wouldn’t have put the situation to where
it is today.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 7

DEAN: All right, after rejecting that, they said, “We still need something,” so
I was told to look around for somebody that could go over to 1701 and do this. And
that’s when I came up with Gordon Liddy, who– they needed a lawyer. Gordon had
an intelligence back- ground from his FBI service. I was aware of the fact that
he had done some extremely sensitive things for the White House while he’d been
at the White House, and he had apparently done them well. Uh, going out into Ellsberg’s
doctor’s office…
PRESIDENT: Oh, yeah.
DEAN: … and things like this. He’d worked with leaks. He’d, you know, tracked
these things down. Uh, and (coughs) so the report that I got from Krogh was that
he was a hell of a good man and, and not only that, a good lawyer, uh, and could
set up a proper operation. So we talked to Liddy. Liddy was interested in doing
it. Took, uh, Liddy over to meet Mitchell. Mitchell thought highly of him because,
apparently, Mitchell was partially involved in his ev–coming to the White House
to work for, for Krogh. Uh, Liddy had been at Treasury before that. Then Liddy was
told to put together his plan, you know, how he would run an intelligence operation.
And this was after he was hired over there at the, uh, the Committee. Magruder called
me in January and said, “I’d like to have you come over and see Liddy’s plan.”

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 8

PRESIDENT: January of ’72?
DEAN: January of ’72. (Background noises) Like, “You come over to Mitchell’s office
and sit in on a meeting where Liddy is going to lay his plan out.” I said, “Well,
I don’t really know as I’m the man, but if you want me there I’ll be happy to.”
(Clears throat) So, I came over and Liddy laid out a million dollar plan that was
the most incredible thing I have ever laid my eyes on. All in codes, and involved
black bag operations, kidnapping, providing prostitutes, uh, to weaken the opposition,
bugging, uh, mugging teams. It was just an incredible thing. (Clears throat)
DEAN: And–
PRESIDENT: …that was, that was not, uh…
PRESIDENT: …discussed with…
PRESIDENT: …other persons.
DEAN: No, not at all. And–
PRESIDENT: (Unintelligible)
DEAN: Uh, Mitchell, Mitchell just virtually sat there puffing and laughing. I could
tell ’cause after he–after Liddy left the office

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 9

I said, “That’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.” He said, ” I agree.”
And so then he was told to go back to the draw-ing boards and come up with something
realistic. So there was a second meeting. Uh, they asked me to come over to that.
I came into the tail end of the meeting. I wasn’t there for the first part. I don’t
know how long the meeting lasted. Uh, at this point, they were discussing again
bugging, kidnapping and the like. And at this point I said, right in front of everybody,
very clearly, I said, “These are not the sort of things (1) that are ever to be
discussed in the office of the Attorney General of the United States”–where he
still was–“and I am personally incensed.” I was trying to get Mitchell off the
hook, uh, ’cause–
DEAN: He’s a, he’s a nice person, doesn’t like to say no under–when people he’s
going to have to work with.
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: So, I let, I let it be known. I said, “You all pack that stuff up and get
it the hell out of here ’cause we just, you just can’t talk this way in this office
and you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t, you should re-examine your whole thinking.” Came
PRESIDENT: Who else was present? Be-, besides you–

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 10

DEAN: It was Magruder, Magruder–
PRESIDENT: Magruder.
DEAN: Uh, Mitchell, Liddy and myself. I came back right after the meeting and told
Bob, I said, “Bob, we’ve got a growing disaster on our hands if they’re thinking
this way.’ and I said, “The Unite House has got to stay out of this and I, frankly,
am not going to be involved in it.” He said, “I agree John.” And, I thought, at
that point the thing was turned off. That’s the last I heard of it, when I thought
it was turned off, because it was an absurd proposal.
DEAN: Liddy-I did have dealings with him afterwards. We never talked about it. Now
that would be hard to believe for some people, but, uh, we never did. Just the fact
of the matter.
PRESIDENT: Well, you were talking about other things.
DEAN: Other things. We had so many other things.
PRESIDENT: He had some legal problems at one time.
DEAN: Now (coughs)–
PRESIDENT: But you were his advisor, and I, I understand how you could have some,
uh, what cam–what are they campaign laws–I knew that was you, you have–Haldeman
told me you, that you were heading all of that up for us. Go ahead.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 11

DEAN: Now. (Clears Throat). So, Liddy went back after that and it was over, over
at, uh, 1701, the Committee, and I, this is where I come into having put the pieces
together after the fact as to what I can put together what happened. Liddy sat over
there and tried to come up with another plan that he could sell. (1) They were talking,
saying to him he was asking for too much money, and I don’t think they were discounting
the, the illegal points at this, after–you know. Jeb is not a lawyer and he didn’t
know whether this was the way the game was played or not, and what it was all about.
They came up with, apparently, another plan, uh, but they couldn’t get it approved
by anybody over there. So, Liddy and Hunt apparently came to see Chuck Colson, and
Chuck Colson picked up the telephone and called Magruder and said, “You all either
fish or cut bait. Uh, this is absurd to have these guys over there and not using
them, and if you’re not going to use them, I may use them.” Things of this nature.
PRESIDENT: When was this?
DEAN: This was apparently in February of ’72.
PRESIDENT: That could be. Colson know what they were talking about?
DEAN: I can only assume, because of his close relation-ship with…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A M. 12

DEAN: …Hunt, he had a damn good idea of what they were talking about, a damn good
idea. He would probably deny it, deny it today and probably get away with denying
it. But I, uh, I still–
PRESIDENT: Unless Hunt–
DEAN: Unless Hunt, uh, blows on him–
PRESIDENT: But then Hunt isn’t enough. I takes two doesn’t it?
DEAN: Probably. Probably. But Liddy was there also and if, if Liddy were to blow–
PRESIDENT: Then you’ve got a problem–I was thinking (unintelligible}the criminal
liability goes.
DEAN: Yeah.
DEAN: I’ll go back over that, and tell (noise) you where I think the, the soft spots
PRESIDENT: Colson then, then Colson then, do you think was the, uh, was the person
DEAN: I think he…
PRESIDENT: …pushed?

MARCH 21 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 13

DEAN: I think he helped to get the push, get the thing off the dime. Now something
else occurred, though —
PRESIDENT: Did Colson–did he talk to anybody here?
DEAN: No. I think this was an independent …
PRESIDENT: Did he talk to Haldeman?
DEAN: No. I don’t think so. Now, but here’s the other thing, where the next thing
comes in the chain: I think that Bob was assuming that they had something that was
proper over there, some intelligence gathering operation that Liddy was operating.
And through Strachan, uh, who was his tickler, uh, he started pushing them
PRESIDENT: (Sighs) yeah.
DEAN: …to get something, to get some information and they took that as a signal–Magruder
took that as a signal to probably go to Mitchell and say, “They’re pushing us like
crazy for this from the White House.” And so Mitchell probably puffed on his pipe
and said, “Go ahead.” And never really reflected on what it was all about. So, they
had some plan that obviously had, I gather, different targets they were going to
go after. They were going to infiltrate, and bug, and do all this sort of thing
to a lot of these targets. This is knowledge I have after the fact.(coughs) And,

MARCH 21 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 14

apparently, they, uh, they, they had, they had after they had initially broken in
and bugged the Democratic National Committee they were getting information. The
information was coming over here to Strachan. Some of it was given to Haldeman.
Uh, there is no doubt about it. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Did he know what it was coming from?
DEAN: I don’t really know if he was, sir.
PRESIDENT: Not necessarily.
DEAN: Not necessarily. That — not necessarily. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Strachan knew what it was from.
DEAN: Strachan knew what it was from. No doubt about it, and whether Strachan–I’ve
never wanted to press these people on these points because it…
DEAN: …it hurts them to, to give up that next inch. So I had to piece things together.
All right, so, Strachan was aware of receiving information, reporting to Bob. At
one point Bob even gave instructions to change their capabilities from Muskie to
McGovern, and had passed this back through Strachan to Magruder and, and apparently
to Liddy, and Liddy was starting to make arrangements to go in and bug the uh, uh,
McGovern operation. They had done prelim-…

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 15

PRESIDENT: They had never bugged Muskie, though, did they?
DEAN: No, they hadn’t but they had a, they had, uh, they’d…
PRESIDENT: (Unintelligible).
DEAN: …infiltrated it by a, a, they had…
PRESIDENT: A secretary.
DEAN: …a secretary and a chauffeur. Nothing illegal about that.
PRESIDENT: I suppose you’re–

DEAN: Now, so the information was coming over here and then, uh, I finally, after
–the next point in time where I became aware of anything was on June 17th, when
I got word that there had been this break-in at the Democratic National Committee
and somebody from the Committee had been caught, uh, from our Committee had been
caught in the DNC. And I said, “Oh, my God, that, I can only”, you know, if, instantly
putting the pieces together–(Coughs)
PRESIDENT: You knew what it was.
DEAN: I knew what it was. So I called Liddy, uh, on that Monday morning, and I said,
“Gordon” – I said, “first, I want to know if anybody-in the White House was involved
in this.” And he said, “No.” And they weren’t. I said,

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 16

“Well, I want to know how in God’s name-this happened.” And he said, “Well, I was
pushed without mercy by Magruder to get in there, get more information–that the
information, it was not satisfactory. Magruder said, ‘The White House is not happy
with what we’re getting.”‘
PRESIDENT: The White House?
DEAN: The White House. Yeah, Uh–
PRESIDENT: Who do you think was pushing him?
DEAN: Well, I think it was probably Strachan thinking that Bob wanted things,(cough)
and because because I have seen that happen on other occasions where things have
been said to be Of very prime importance when they really weren’t.
PRESIDENT: Why (unintelligible) I wonder? I’m just try-ing to think as to why then.
We’d just finished the Moscow trip. I mean, we were–
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: The Democrats had just nominated Mc G-, Mc Govern. I mean, for Christ’s
sakes, I mean, what the hell were we–I mean, I can see doing it earlier but I mean,
now let me say, I can see the pressure, but I don’t see why all the pressure would
have been one then.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 17

DEAN: I don’t know, other than the fact that, uh, they might have been looking for
information about
PRESIDENT: The convention.
DEAN: …the conventions.
PRESIDENT: Well, that’s right.
DEAN: Because, I understand, also after the fact, that there was a plan to bug Larry
O’Brien’s suite down in Florida.
DEAN: Uh, so, uh, Liddy told me, that uh, you know, this is what had happened and,
and this is why it had happened.
PRESIDENT: Liddy told you he was planning–where’d you learn there was such a plan–from
DEAN: Beg your pardon.
PRESIDENT: Where did you learn of the plans to bug Larry O’Brien’s suite?
DEAN: From Magruder, after the, long after the fact.
PRESIDENT: Oh, Magruder, he knows.
DEAN: Yeah. Magruder is totally knowledgeable on the whole thing.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 18

DEAN: All right, now, we’ve gone through the trial. We’ve–I don’t know if Mitchell
has perjured himself in the Grand Jury or not. I’ve never–
DEAN: Mitchell. I don’t know how much knowledge he actually had. I know that Magruder
has perjured himself in the Grand Jury. I know that Porter has perjured himself,
uh, in the Grand Jury.
PRESIDENT: Porter (Unintelligible).
DEAN: He’s one of Magruder’s deputies.
DEAN: Uh, that they set up this scenario which they ran by me. They said, “How about
this?” I said, “Well, I don’t knot. I, you know, if, if this is that you’re going
to hang on, fine.” Uh, that they–
PRESIDENT: What did they say before the Grand Jury?
DEAN: They said, they said, as they said before the trial and the Grand Jury, that,
that, uh, Liddy had come over as, as a counsel and we knell he had these capacities
to, you knoll, to do legitimate intelligence. We had no idea what he was doing.
He was given an authorization of 250,000 dollars..

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 19

DEAN: …to collect information, because our surrogates were out on the road. They
had no protection. We had information that there were going to be demonstrations
against them, that, uh, uh, we had to have a plan to get information as to what
liabilities they were going to be confronted with…
DEAN: …and Liddy was charged with doing this. We had no knowledge that he was
going to bug the ARC. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Well, the point is, that’s untrue.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Magruder did know that– –
DEAN: Magruder was specifically instructed him to go back in the DNC.
DEAN: Yes.
PRESIDENT: You know that? Yeah, I see. Okay.
DEAN: Uh, (pause)- I honestly believe that noose over here knew that. I know, uh,
as God is my maker, I had no knowledge that they were going to do this.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 20

PRESIDENT: Bob didn’t either (unintelligible).
DEAN: Oh, but, you know, Unintelligible)
PRESIDENT: (unintelligible) Bob, Bob– he wouldn’t–
DEAN: Bob I don’t believe specifically knew they were going in there.
PRESIDENT: I don’t think so.
DEAN: I don’t think he did. I think he knew there was a capacity to do this, but
he wouldn’t, wasn’t giving it specific direction.
PRESIDENT: Strachan, did he know?
DEAN: I think Strachan did know.
PRESIDENT: They were going back into the DNC? Hunt never entered DNC.
DEAN: All right, so–uh, those people are in trouble as a result of the Grand Jury
and the trial. Mitchell, of course, was never called during the trial. Now —
PRESIDENT: Mitchell has given a sworn statement?
DEAN: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT: To the Bureau?
DEAN: To the Grand Jury —

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 21

PRESIDENT: Did he go before the Grand Jury?
DEAN: He had, we had a, an arrangement whereby he went down to, with several of
the — because it was, you know, the heat of this thing and the implications on
the election’ we made an arrangement where they could quietly go into the Department
of Justice and have one of The Assistant U.S. Attorneys come over and take their
testimony and then read it before the Grand Jury. Uh–
PRESIDENT: That was (unintelligible).
DEAN: Although I–that’s right. Mitchell la5 actually called before the Grand Jury.
Tile Grand Jury would not settle for less. The Jurors wanted him.
PRESIDENT: And he went.
DEAN: And he went.
DEAN: Uh, I don’t know what he said. Uh, so I’ve never seen a transcript of the
Grand Jury. Now (sighs) what, what has happened post-June 17? Well, it was, I was
under pretty clear instructions (laughs) not to really investigate this, that this
was something that just could have been disastrous on the election if it had–all
hell had broken loose, and I worked on a theory of containment…

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 10:55 A.M. 22

DEAN: …to try to hold it right where it was.
DEAN: There’s no doubt, I, I, uh, that, uh, I was totally aware what the Bureau
was doing at all times. I was totally aware of what the Grand Jury was doing.
PRESIDENT: You mean–
DEAN: I knew what witnesses were going to be called. I knew what they were going
to be asked, and I had to. There just–
PRESIDENT: Why did Petersen play the, play the game so straight with us?
DEAN: Because Petersen is a soldier. He played– he kept me informed. He told me
when we had problems, where we had problems, and the like Uh, he believes in, in,
in you. He believes in this Administration. This Administration has made him. Uh,
I don’t thinly he’s done anything improper, but he did make sure the investigation
was narrowed dozen to the very, very…
DEAN: …fine…

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 23

DEAN: …criminal things, which was a break for us. There’s no doubt about it.
PRESIDENT: He honestly feels that he did an adequate job?
DEAN: He, uh, they ran that investigation out to the fullest extent they could follow
a lead (coughs) and that was it.
PRESIDENT: But the point is, where I suppose he could be criticized for not-doing
an adequate job is why didn’t he call Haldeman? Thy didn’t he get a statement from
Colson? Or they did get Colson?
DEAN: That’s right. But see, the thing is, is based on their FBI interviews, there
was no reason to follow up. There were no leads there. Colson said, “I have no knowledge
of this” to the FBI. Uh, Strachan said, “I have no knowledge of–” you know. They
didn’t ask Strachan any Watergate questions. They asked him about Segretti. Uh,
they said, “What’s your connection with Liddy?” and he just said, “Well, I, you
know I just, met him over there,” and they never really pressed him. They didn’t
you know, they–look, Strachan appeared, uh, as a result of some coaching, he could
be the dumbest paper pusher in the bowels of the, the White House. All right, now,
post-June 17th, these guys immediately–it is very, very (laughs) interesting –Liddy,
for example, the Friday

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 24

before–uh, on I guess it was the, uh on the 15th, uh, 16th, uh, of, uh, June–had
been in Henry Petersen’s office with another member of my staff on campaign compliance
(laughs) problems, uh, joking. After the incident, he went, he ran, uh, Kleindienst
doom at Burning Tree Country Club and told (laughs) him that “You’ve got to get
my men out of jail,” which was kind of a–Kleindienst said, “Now, you get the hell
out of here, kid, uh, uh, whatever you’ve got to say, just say to somebody else.
Don’t bother me,” and– but this has never come up.
DEAN: Uh, Liddy said, said that, you know — they all got counsel instantly and
said that, you know’ “she’ll, we’ll ride this thing out.” All right, then they started
waking demands; We’ve got to have attorneys’ fees. Uh, we don_t have any money ourselves,
and if-you are asking us to take this through the election.” All right, so arrangements
were made through Mitchell, uh, initiating it, in discussions that–I was present-that
these guys had to be taken care of. Their attorneys’ fees had to be done. Kalmbach
alas brought in. Uh, Kalmbach raised some cash. Uh, they were, uh, you know–
PRESIDENT: They put that under the cover of a Cuban Committee or (unintelligible).

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 25

DEAN: Yeah, they, they had a Cuban Committee and they had–some of it was given
to Hunt’s lawyer, who in turn passed it out. This, you know, when Hunt_s wife was
flying to Chicago with ten thousand, she was actually, I understand after the fact
now, was going to pass that money to, uh, one of the Cubans, to meet him in Chicago
and pass it to somebody there.
PRESIDENT: Why didn’t she (unintelligible) maybe–well, whether it’s maybe too late
to-do anything about it, but I would certainly keep that, (laughs) that cover for
whatever it’s worth.
DEAN: I’ll…
PRESIDENT: Keep the Committee.
DEAN Af-, after, well, that, that; that’s the most troublesome post-thing, uh, because
(1) Bob is involved in that; John is involved in that; I’m involved in that; Mitchell
is involved in that. And that’s an obstruction of justice.
PRESIDENT: In other words the fact that uh, that you’re you’re, you’re taking care
Of the witnesses.
DEAN: That’s right, uh–
PRESIDENT: How was Bob involved?
DEAN: Well, th-, they ran out of money over there. Bob had three hundred and fifty
thousand dollars in a safe over here that was really set aside for polling purposes.
ills and there was no other source of money, so they came over here and said, “You
all’ve got to give us some money.”

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 26

DEAN: I had to go to Bob and say, “Bob, you know, you’ve got to have some–they
need some money over there.” He said “What for?” And so I had to tell him what it
was for ’cause he wasn’t about to just send money over there willy-nilly. And, uh,
Jolly was involved in those discussions, and we decided, you know, that, you know,
that there was no price too high to pay to let this thing blow up in front of the
PRESIDENT: I think you – should handle that one pretty fast.
DEAN: Oh, I think–
PRESIDENT: That issue, I mean.
DEAN: I think we can.
PRESIDENT: So that the three-fifty went back ov-, over here
DEAN: That’s alright. I think we can too.
PRESIDENT: Who else is?
DEAN: But, now, here, here’s what’s happening right now.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 27

DEAN: What sort of brings matters to the–this is (1) this-is going to be continual
black- mail operation by Hunt and Liddy and the Cubans. No doubt about it. And McCord…
DEAN: who is, who is another one involved. McCord has asked for nothing. Uh, McCord
did ask to meet with somebody, and it was Jack Caulfield, who is his old friend,
who’d gotten him hired over the-ret And, when, when, when Caulfield had him hired,
he was a perfectly legitimate security man. And he wanted to know, well, you know,
(coughs) he wanted to talk about commutation, and things like that. And as you know
Colson has talked to, indirectly to Hunt about commutation. (Clears throat). All
these things are bad, in, in, in that they are problems, they are promises, they
are commitments. They are the very sort of thing that the Senate is going to be
looking most for. I don’t think they can find them, frankly.
PRESIDENT: Pretty hard.
DEAN: Pretty hard. Damn hard. It’s all cash. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Lowell, I mean, pretty hard as far as the witnesses are concerned.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 28

DEAN: That’s right. Now, The blackmail is continuing. Hunt called one of the lawyers
from the Re-election Committee on last Friday to meet with him on–over the weekend.
The guy came in to me, to see me to get a message directly from Hunt to me, for
the first time.
PRESIDENT: Is Hunt out on bail?
DEAN: Pardon?
PRESIDENT: Is Hunt on bail?
DEAN: Hunt is on bail. Correct. Uh, Hunt now is demanding another seventy-to thousand
dollars for his own personal expenses; another fifty thousand dollars to pay his
attorneys’ fees; a hundred and twenty some thousand dollars. Wants it, wanted it
by the close of business yesterday. ‘Cause he says, “I’m going to be sentenced on
Friday, and I’ve got to be able to get my financial affairs in order.” I told this
fellow O’Brien, “You came–all right, you came to the wrong man, fellow. I’m not
involved in the money. Uh, I don’t know a thing about it, can’t help you.” Said,
“You better scramble around elsewhere.” Now, O’Brien is, O’Brien. is, is a ball
player. He’s been, he carried tremendous water for us. Uh–
PRESIDENT: He isn’t Hunt’s lawyer, is he?
DEAN: No, he is, he is our-lawyer at the Re-election Committee.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 29

PRESIDENT: I see, good.
DEAN: So he’s safe. There’s no problem there. But it raises the whole question of
Hunt now has made a direct threat against Ehrlichman, as a result of this. This
is his blackmail. He says, “I will bring John Ehrlichman down to his knees and put
him in jail. Uh, I have done enough seamy things for he and Krogh, uh, that they’ll
never survive it.”
PRESIDENT: What’s that, on Ellsberg? –
DEAN: Ellsberg, and apparently some other things. I don’t know the full extent of
it. Uh–
PRESIDENT: I don’t know about anything else.
DEAN: I don’t know either, and I (laughs) hate to learn some of these things. So
that’s, that ‘s that situation. Now, we’re at the soft points. How many people know
about this? Hell, uh, well, let me go one step further in this, this whole thing.
The Cubans that were used in the Watergate were also the same Cubans that Hunt and
Liddy used for this California Ellsberg thing, for the break-in out there.
DEAN: So they’re, they’re aware of that. How high their knowledge is, is something
else. Hunt and Liddy, of course, are totally aware of, of, of it, and the fact that,
uh, it was rift out of the White House.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 30

PRESIDENT: I don’t know what the hell we did that for.
DEAN: I don’t either.
PRESIDENT: What in the name of God did that–
DEAN: Mr. President, there have been a couple of things around here that I have
gotten wind of. Uh, there was at one time a desire to do a second-story job on the
Brookings Institute where they had the Pentagon Papers. Now I flew to California
because I was told that John had instructed it and he said, “I really hadn’t. It’s-
a misimpression, that for Christ’s sake, turn it off.” And I did. I came back and
turned it off. Because, you know the, when you, you know, if the risk is minimal
and the, and the gain is fantastic, it’s something else. But with a low risk and
uh, no gain, uh, hey, it’s just, uh, it’s not worth it. Well–who knows about this
all now? All right, you’ve got (clears throat) the Cubans’ lawyer’s’ a man by the
name of Rothblatt, who is a no-good, publicity-seeking, son-of-a-bitch, to be very
frank about it. He has had to be turned down and tuned off. He was canned by his
own people cause they didn’t trust him. They were trying to run a different route
than he wanted to run. He didn’t want them to plead guilty. He wants to represent
them before the Senate. So, F. Lee Bailey, who was the partner of one of the, one
of the men representing McCord; uh, got in and, and cooled Rothblatt down. So, F.
Lee B-, Bailey’s got knowledge. Uh, Hunt’s lawyer, a man by the name of Bittman,
who’s an excellent criminal lawyer from the Democratic era of Bobby Kennedy, he’s
got knowledge. Uh–

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 31

PRESIDENT: Do you think, do you think, that he’s got some How much?
DEAN: Well, everybody-not only, all the, all the direct knowledge that Hunt and
Liddy have, as well as all the hearsay they have.
PRESIDENT: I (unintelligible).
DEAR: Uh, you’ve got the trio lawyers over at the Re-election Committee who did
an investigation to find out the facts. Slowly, they got the whole picture. They’re,
uh, they’re solid, but they’re–
PRESIDENT: But they know.
DEAN: But they know. Uh, you’ve got, then, an awful lot of–all the principals involved
know. Uh, Hunt–some people’s wives know.
DEAN: Uh, there’s no doubt about that. Mrs. Hunt was the savviest woman in the world.
She had the whole picture together.
DEAN: Yeah, it, uh–apparently, she was the pillar of strength in that family before
the death, and, uh–

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 32

PRESIDENT: Great sadness. The basis, as Smatter of fact (clears throat) there was
some discussion (unintelligible) uh, Hunt’s problems after his wife died and I said,
of course, commutation could be considered on the basis of his wife, and that is
the only discussion I ever had in that light.
DEAN: Right. Uh, so that’s, that’s it. That’s the, the extent of the knowledge.
Now, where, where are the soft spots on this? Well, first of all, there’s the, there’s
the problem of the continued blackmail
DEAN: …which will not only go on now, it’ll goon when these people are in prison,
and it will compound the obstruction of justice situation. It’ll cost money. It’s
dangerous. Nobody, nothing–people around here are not pros at this sort of thing.
This is the sort of thing Mafia people can do: washing money, getting clean money,
and things like that, uh–we’re–we just don’t know about those (noise) things,
because we’re-not used to, you know–we are not criminals and not used to dealing
in that business. It’s, uh, it’s, uh–
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: It’s tough thing to know how to do.
PRESIDENT: Maybe we can’t even do that.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 33

DEAN: That’s right. It’s a real problem as to whether we could even do it. Plus
there’s a real problem in raising money. Uh, Mitchell has been working on raising
some money. Uh, feeling he’s got, you know, he’s got one, he’s one of the ones with
the most to lose. Uh, but there’s no denying the fact that the White House, and
uh, Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Dean are involved in some of the early money decisions.
PRESIDENT: How much money do you need?
DEAN: I would say these people are going to cost, uh, a million dollars over the
next, uh, – two years. (Pause)
PRESIDENT: We could get that.
DEAN: Uh, huh.
PRESIDENT: You, on the money, if you need the money, I mean, uh’ you could get the
money. Let’s say–
DEAN: Well, I think that we’re going–
PRESIDENT: What I mean is, you could, you could get a million dollars. And you could
get it in cash. I, I know where it could be gotten.
DEAN: Uh, huh.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 34

PRESIDENT: I mean it’s not easy, but it could be acne. But, uh, the question is
who the hell would handle it?
DEAN: That’s right, uh–
PRESIDENT: Any ideas on that?
DEAN: Well, I would think that would be something that Mitchell ought to be charged
PRESIDENT: I would think so, too.
DEAN: And get some, get some pros to help him.
PRESIDENT: Let me say, there shouldn’t be a lot of people running around getting
money. We should set up a little–
DEAN: Well, he’s got one person doing it who I’m not sure is–
PRESIDENT: Who is that?
DEAN: He’s got Fred LaRue, uh, doing it. Now Fred started out going cut trying to…

DEAN: …solicit money from all kinds of people. Now, I learned about that, and
I said, “My God”…
DEAN: …”It’s just awful. Don’t do it.”

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 35

DEAN: Uh, people are going to ask what the money is for. He’s working– apparently
he talked to Tom Pappas.
DEAN: And Pappas has, uh, agreed to come up wit1 a sizeable amount, I gather, from,
DEAN: …Mitchell.
PRESIDENT: Yeah, well, what do you need, then? You need, uh, you don’t need a million
right away, but you need a million. Is that right?
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: You need a million in cash, don’t you? If you want to put that through,
would you put that through, uh–this is thinking out loud here for a moment–would
you put that through the Cuban Committee?
DEAN: Umm, no,
PRESIDENT: Or would you just do this through a (unintelligible) that it’s going
to be, uh, well, it’s cash money, and so forth. How, if that ever comes out, are
you going to handle it? Is the Cuban Committee an obstruction of justice, if they
want to help?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 36

DEAN: Well, they’ve got a pr-, they’ve got priests, and they–
PRESIDENT: Would you like to put, I mean, would that, would that give a little bit
of a cover, for example?
DEAN: That would give some for the Cubans and possibly Hunt.
DEAN: Uh, then you’ve got Liddy and–McCord is not, not accepting any money. So
he’s, he is not a bought man right now. (Pause)
DEAN: All right. Let, let me, uh
PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
DEAN: …continue a little bit here now. The, uh, I, when I say this is a a growing
cancer, uh, I say it for reasons like this. Bud Krogh in his testimony before the
Grand Jury, was forced to perjure himself. Uh, he is haunted by it. Uh, Bud said,
“I haven’t had a pleasant day on the job.”
PRESIDENT: Huh, said what?

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 37

DEAN: He said, “I have not had a pleasant day on my job.” Uh, he’s talked, apparently,
he said to me, “I told my wife all about this,” he said. “The, uh, the curtain may
ring down one of these days, and’ uh, I may have to face the music, which I’m perfectly
willing to do.” Uh–
PRESIDENT: What did he perjure himself on, John?
DEAN: His, did, uh, did he know the Cubans? He did. Uh–
PRESIDENT: He said he didn’t?
DEAN: That’s right. They didn’t press him hard, or that he–
PRESIDENT: He might be able to–I’m just trying to think. Perjury is an awful hard
rap to prove. He could say that I (pause) hem, well, go-ahead.
DEAN: (Coughs) Well, so that’s, that’s the first, that’s one perjury. Now, Mitchell
and, and, uh, Magruder are potential perjuries. There is always the possibility
of any one of these individuals blowing. Hunt, Liddy. Liddy’s in jail right now;
he’s serving his–trying to get good time right now. I think Liddy is probably,
in his, in his own bizarre way, the strongest of all of them. Uh, so there’s, there
is that possibility.

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 38

PRESIDENT: Well, your, your major, your major guy keep under control is Hunt.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: I think. Because he knows…
DEAN: He knows so much.
PRESIDENT: …about a lot of other things.
DEAN: He knows so much. Right. Uh, he could sink Chuck Colson. Apparently, apparently,
he is quite distressed with Colson. He thinks Colson has abandoned him. Uh, Colson
was to meet with him when he was out there, after, now he had left the White House.
He met with him through his lawyer. Hunt raised the question he wanted money. Colson’s
lawyer told him that Colson wasn’t doing anything smith money, and Hunt took offense
with that immediately, that, uh, uh, that Colson had abandoned him. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Don’t you, just looking at the immediate problem, don’t you have to have–handle
Hunt’s financial situation
DEAN: I, I think that’s–
PRESIDENT: …damn soon?
DEAN: That is, uh, I talked to Mitchell about that last night–

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 39

PRESIDENT: (Unintelligible)
DEAN: And, and, uh, I told–
PRESIDENT: (Unintelligible) may–after all, You’ve got to keep the cap on the bottle
that much…
DEAN: That’s right; that’s right.
PRESIDENT: …in order to have any options.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Either that or let it all blow right now.
DEAN: Well, that, you know’ that’s the, that’s the question. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Now, go ahead. The others. You’ve got Hunt… –
DEAN: All right, now we’ve got–
PRESIDENT: …you’ve got Krogh, and you’ve got–
DEAN: Now we’ve got Kalmbach (coughs).
PRESIDENT: Yeah, that’s a tough one.
DEAN: Kalmbach received…
PRESIDENT: (unintelligible)

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 40

DEAN: …at the close of the, of the, uh, ’68 campaign, in January of ’69, he got
a million seven dollars, uh, a million seven hundred thousand dollars to be custodian
for. That cane down from New York. It was placed in safe deposit boxes here. Uh,
some other people were on the boxes, and ultimately, the money was taken out to
California. All right, there is knowledge of the fact that he did start with a million
seven. Several people know this. Now, since ’69, he’s spent a good deal of this
money and, and, uh, accounting for it is going to be very difficult for Herb. For
example, he’s spent–oh-close to five hundred thousand dollars on private polling.
Now that just opens up a whole new thing. It’s not illegal, but, uh, it’s more of
the same sort of thing.
PRESIDENT: I don’t think that poses a hell of a problem, does it?
DEAN: No, I don’t think so. Uh–
PRESIDENT: Practically everybody does polling.
DEAN: That’s right, uh, it’s not, there’s nothing criminal about it. It was private
polls.: It was…
PRES IDEAL: Nothing–
DEAN: …uh, proper money.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 41

PRESIDENT: The law didn’t, the law didn’t (unintelligible)…
DEAN: (Coughs )
PRESIDENT: … polled all through the years.
DEAN: That_s right-. Uh, he sent four hundred thousand dollars, as he’s described
to me, somewhere in the South or another candidate. I assume this was four hundred,
uh, that went…
DEAN: …to Wallace. Right. Uh; he has maintained, uh, a, a man, who I only I know
by the name of “Tony”, who is the fellow] who did the, the Chappaquidick study and…
PRESIDENT: I heard about that.
DEAN: …other, other odd jobs like that. Nothing illegal…
DEAN: …uh, but closer. Uh, I don’t know of anything that Herb has done that is
illegal, other than the fact that he doesn’t want to blow the whistle on a lot of
people, and may find himself in a perjury situation.
PRESIDENT: Well, if he, uh, he could–because he will be asked about that money.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 42

DEAN: He will. What’ll happen is, when they call him up there–and he of course
has no immunity, uh, they’ll say, “How did you happen–how did you pay Mr. Segretti?”
“Well, I had cash on hand” “Well, how much cash did you have on hand?”
DEAN: Uh, where does he go from there? “Where did you get the cash?”
DEAN: A full series of questions. His bank records indicate he had cash on hand,
because some of these were set up in trustee accounts.
PRESIDENT: How would you handle him, then, John? For example, would you just have
him put the whole thing out?
DEAN: (Draws breath)
PRESIDENT: I don’t think so. I mean I don’t mind the five hundred thousand dollars
and I don’t mind the four hundred thousand dollars…
DEAN: No, that–
PRESIDENT: …for activities (unintelligible).
DEAN: That, that, uh, that doesn’t bother me either. There’s–as I say, Herb’s problems

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 43

PRESIDENT: There’s a surplus–
DEAN: …politically embarrassing, but not as, not criminal.
PRESIDENT: Well, they’re embarrassing, sure–he, he just handled matters that were
between the campaigns, before anything was done. There were surveys, et cetera,
et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, There is no need to account for that. No law requires
him to account for that.
DEAN: Right. Uh, now–
PRESIDENT: The source of the money, there’s no illegality in having a surplus, is
there, in cash afterwards?
DEAN: No, the money-it has always been argued by Stans–came from pre-convention.
PRESIDENT: Pre-convention.
DEAN: For the–and pre-primary for the, for the, uh…
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: …’68 race.
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: It was just set aside.
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: Uh, that, that all can be explained. I think that the–

MARCH 21, l973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 44

PRESIDENT: All right. How do your other vulnerabilities go together?
DEAN: The other vulnerabilities: We’ve got a, uh, runaway Grand Jury up in the Southern
PRESIDENT: Yeah, I heard.
DEAN: They’re after Mitchell and Stans on some sort of bribe or influence peddling…
DEAN: …with Vesco.
DEAN: Uh, they’re also going to try to drag Ehrlichman into that. Apparent’ y, Ehrlichman
had some meetings with Vesco, also. Uh, Don Nixon, Jr., came in to see John a couple
of times, uh, about the problem.
PRESIDENT: Not about the Complaint.
DEAN: That, there’s uh–the fact of the matter is–
PRESIDENT: He came about a job.
DEAN: That’s right. And, and, and, uh, I-

MARCH 21, 1973, FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 45

PRESIDENT: We’re, it’s–Ehrlichman’s totally to blame on that.
DEAN: Yeah. Well, I think…
PRESIDENT: No White House (unintelligible).
DEAN: No one has done anything for…
DEAN: …Vesco.
PRESIDENT: …matter of–not for the prosecutor.
DEAN: No. (Coughs) The, uh–
PRESIDENT: Would Ehrlichman, incidentally, have to appear there?
DEAN: Before that Grand Jury? Yes. He could very well.
PRESIDENT: Uh, we couldn’t presume immunity there?
DEAN: Not really. Uh, criminal charge–
PRESIDENT: Criminal charge–yeah. (Unintelligible) the charge is, mind you. Go ahead.
DEAN: Right. That’s a little different. (Clears throat) I think that would be dynamite
to defend, uh…
DEAN: …against that.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 46

PRESIDENT: Also, he, he distinguishes it. He says, “It’s criminal charge; I’ll be
glad to go up.” Use the Flanigan… –
DEAN: Right.
PRESIDENT: …analogy.
DEAN: Right, uh, (clears throat) well, that’s, that’s pretty much the overall picture
and probably the most troublesome thing–well, the Segretti thing. Let’s get down
to that. I think Bob has indicated to me he told you a lot of, of it, that he, indeed,
did authorize it. He didn’t authorize anything like ultimately evolved.
DEAN: He was aware of it. He was aware that Chapin and Strachan were looking for
DEAN: Again, this is one that, uh, it is potential that Dwight Cha-, Chapin could
have a felony charge against him in this, because he’s–
DEAN: Felony. Because he has to, he has to disprove a negative. The negative is
that he didn’t control and direct Segretti.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 47

PRESIDENT: Would the felony be in perjury again? Or–
DEAN: Uh, no. The felony this, in this instance being a potential use of the, one
of the civil rights statutes, for anybody who interferes with a candidate for, uh,
national office–not in, interferes with their campaign in any way.
PRESIDENT: shy isn’t (unintelligible) civil rights statute be used to pick up any
of these clowns that were demonstrating against us, then?
DEAN: Well, I have, I’ve, I’ve argued that they use that for that very purpose.
DEAN: Yes, I have. And, uh–
PRESIDENT: We were, those were, uh, that was interfering with the campaign. –
DEAN: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. But they–
PRESIDENT: The Segretti one, I think, uh, I’m not as con-cerned about that because
it’s so bad the way it’s been put out on the PR side, then I think it will eventually
end up on the PR side very confused. And it’ll fool; bad when that’s attributed,
but I don’t, I can’t see the criminal thing, (clears throat) but I just may be wrong.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 48

DEAN: Well, here, what really, what really bothers me is that this, this growing
situation–as I say it is growing because of the, the continued need to-provide
support for the…
DEAN: …Watergate people who are going to
DEAN: …hold us up for everything they’ve got
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: …and the need for some people to perjure themselves as they go down the
road here. Uh, if this thing ever blows, and we’re in a cover-up situation, I think
it’d be extremely damaging to you, uh, and uh, the, uh–
PRESIDENT: The whole concept of Administration justice.
DEAN: That’s right, uh–
PRESIDENT: We cannot have–
DEAN: That’s what really troubles me. For example, what happens if it starts breaking,
and they do find a criminal case against a Haldeman, a Dean, a Mitchell, an Ehrlichman?
Uh, that is–

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 49

PRESIDENT: Well, if it really comes down to that, we cannot, maybe–we’d have to
shed it in order to contain it again.
DEALN: (Clears throat) That’s right. I’m coming down to the–what I really think
is that, that, Bob and John and John Mitchell and I should sit down and spend a
day, or however long, to figure out (1) how this can be carved away from you, so
it does not damage you or the Presidency. ‘Cause it just can’t. And it’s not something,
it, you’re not involved in it and it’s something you shouldn’t–
PRESIDENT: That is true.
DEAN: I know, sir, it is. Well, I can just tell from our conversations that, you
know, them are things that you have no knowledge of.
PRESIDENT: The absurdity of the whole damned thing…
DEAN: But it–
PRESIDENT: bugging and so on. Well, let me say I am keenly aware of the fact that,
uh, Colson, et al, and so forth were doing their best to get information and so
forth and so on. But they all knew very well they were supposed to comply with the
DEAN: That’s right.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 50

PRESIDENT: No question.
PRESIDENT: (Unintelligible) you think–you feel that really the man, the triggerman
was Colson on this end?
DEAN: Well, no. He was one of se-, he was just in the chain. He was, he helped push
the thing.
PRESIDENT: Called him up and said, “we’ve got a, we’ve got (unintelligible)” I don’t
know what the Christ he would be doing. Oh, I’ll bet you, I know why. That was at
the time of ITT. He was trying to get something going there because ITT–they were
bugging us, I mean they were
DEAN: Right.
PRESIDENT: …giving us hell.
DEAN: Well, I know, I know he used, uh–
PRESIDENT: Hunt to go out there?
DEAN: Hunt.
PRESIDENT: I knew about that.
DEAN: Yeah.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 51

PRESIDENT: I did know about it at the time. I knew that there was, there was something
going on there…
DEAN: Right.
PRESIDENT: …but I didn’t know it was Hunt.
DEAN: Right. Uh, that’s what re, what really troubles me is, you know, (1) will
this thing not break some day and…
DEAN: …the whole thing–domino situation.

DEAN: You know, they just, I think if it starts crumbling, fingers will be pointing,
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: Bob will be accused of things he has never heard of…
DEAN: …and then he’ll have to disprove it, and it’ll just get nasty and it’ll
be a real, uh, real bad situation. And the person who will be hurt by it most will
be you and…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 52

PRESIDENT: Of course.
DEAN: …the Presidency, and I just don’t think–
PRESIDENT: First, because I’m expected to know this, and I’m supposed to, supposed
to check these things. And so forth…
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: and so on. But let’s, let’s, let’s come back and go further. Sure. Yes,
indeed. But what are your feelings, yourself, John? You know pretty well what they’ll
all say. What are your feelings toward the options?
DEAN: I am not confident that, uh, we can ride through this. I think there are,
I think there are soft spots.
PRESIDENT: You used to feel comfortable.
DEAN: Well, I feel, I felt, I felt comfortable for this reason. I’ve noticed of
recent since the publicity has increased on, on this thing again, with the Gray
hearings, that everybody is now starting to watch out for their own behind. Uh–
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: Everyone’s pulling in. They’re getting their own counsel. More counsel are

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 53

DEAN: …involved.
DEAN: Uh, you know, “How do I protect my ass?”
PRESIDENT: Well, they’re scared.
DEAN: They’re scared and that’s just, you know, that’s bad. We were able to hold
it for a long time.
PRESIDENT: Yeah, I know.
DEAN: Uh, another thing is, you know, my facility now to deal with the multitude
of people I have been dealing with has been hampered because of Gray blowing me
up into the front page.
PRESIDENT: Your cover’s broken.
DEAN: That’s right and it’s with, it was–
PRESIDENT: (unintelligible) cover. All right. Now. So on. So, so, what you really
come dozen to is, what in the hell, in the hell will you do? Let’s, let us suppose
that you and Haldeman and Ehrlichman and Mitchell say, uh, “We can’t hold this”.
What, what then are you going to say? Are you going to put out a complete disclosure?
Isn’t that the best plan?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 54

DEAN: Well, one way to do it is to–
PRESIDENT: That’d by my view on it.
DEAN: One way to do it is for you to in-, tell the Attorney General that you can
finally, you know, really, this is the first time you’re getting all the pieces

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 55

PRESIDENT: Ask for another grand jury?
DEAN: Ask for another grand jury. The way it should be done though, is a way that–
for example: I think that we could avoid, uh, criminal liability for countless people
and the ones that did get it, it could be minimal. REEL 1 ENDS
DEAN: Well, I think by just thinking it all through first, as to how some people
could be granted immunity, uh…
PRESIDENT: Like Magruder?
DEAN: Yeah–to come forward. Uh, but some people are going to have to go to jail.
That’s the long and short of it, also.
PRESIDENT: Who? Let’s talk about that.
DEAN: All right. Uh, I think I could, for one.
PRESIDENT: You go to jail?
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Oh, hell no. I can’t see how you can. But, I–no…
DEAN: Well, because…
PRESIDENT: I can’t see how, that–let me say I can’t see how a legal case could
be made against you, J-, uh, John.
DEAN: It’d be, it’d be tough, but you know, uh…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 56

DEAN: I can see people pointing fingers, you know, to get it out of their own–put
me in the impossible position, disproving too many negatives.
PRESIDENT: Oh, no. Uh, let me say I–not because you’re here–but Just looking at
it from a cold legal standpoint: You are a lawyer, you were a counsel–you were
doing what you were doing as a counsel, and you were not, uh,…
DEAN: (Clears throat)
PRESIDENT: doing anything like that. You mean–hat would you go to jail on (unintelligible)?
DEAN: The obstruc-, the obstruction of justice.
PRESIDENT: The obstruction of justice?
DEAN: That’s the only one that bothers me.
PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know. I think that one, I think that, I feel could be cut
off at the pass. Maybe the obstruction of Justice…
DEAN: It could be a — you know how — one of the — that’s, that’s why — (sighs)
PRESIDENT: Sometimes it’s well to give them…
DEAN: (Sighs)
PRESIDENT: something, and then they don’t want the bigger fish then.
DEAN: That’s right. I think that, uh, I think that with proper coordination with
the Department of Justice, Henry Petersen is the only man I know bright enough and
knowledgeable enough in the criminal laws and the process that could really tell
us hot this could De put together so it did the maximum to carve it away with a
minimum damage to individuals involved.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 57

PRESIDENT: Petersen doesn’t know the whole story?
DEAN: No, I know he doesn’t now. I know he doesn’t now. I am talking about somebody
who I have over the years grown to have faith in. (Banging noises in background)
(Clears throat) It is possible that he’d have to, he’d have to, uh — put him in
a very difficult situation as the Head of the Criminal Division of the United States
Department of Justice, and the oath of office…
PRESIDENT: Tell me — talking about your obstruction of justice role’ I don’t see
it. I can’t see it. You’re…
DEAN: Well, I’ve been a con-, I have been a conduit for information on, on taking
care of people out there who are guilty of crimes.
PRESIDENT: Oh, you mean like the, uh, oh–the blackmail.
DEAN: The blackmail right.
PRESIDENT: Well, I wonder if that part of it can’t be, (pause)I wonder if that doesn’t–let
me put it frankly: I wonder if that doesn’t have to be continued?
DEAN: (Clears throat)
PRESIDENT: Let me cut it this way, let us suppose that you get, you, you get the
million bucks and you get the proper way to handle it, and you could hold that side.
DEAN: Um huh.
PRESIDENT: It would seem to me that would be worthwhile.
DEAN: (Clears throat)
PRESIDENT: Now we have…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 58

DEAN: Well, that’s, yeah that’s…
PRESIDENT: One problem; you’ve got a problem here. You have the problem of Hunt
and uh, his, uh, his clemency.
DEAN: That’s right. And you’re going to have the clemency problem for the others.
They all would expect to be out and that may put you in a position that’s Just…
DEAN: untenable at some point. You know, the Watergate Hearings just over, Hunt
now demanding clemency or he is going to blow. And politically it’d be impossible
for, you know, you to do it. You know, after everybody…
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: I am not sure that you will ever be able to deliver on the clemency. It may
be just too hot.
PRESIDENT: You can’t do it till after the ’74 elections, that’s for sure. But even
DEAN: (Clears throat)
PRESIDENT: your point is that even then you couldn’t do it.
DEAN: That’s right. It may further involve you in a way you shouldn’t be involved
in this.
PRESIDENT: No it’s wrong, that’s for sure.
DEAN: Well, whatever, you know, I, there’ve been some bad Judgments made. There’ve
been some necessary Judgments made. Uh…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 59

PRESIDENT: Before the election.
DEAN: Before the election and, in a way, the necessary ones, you know, before the
election. There, you know we’ve, this was to me there was no way
DEAN: that uh…
DEAN: But to burden this second Administration
PRESIDENT: We’re all in on it.
DEAN: was something that, it’s something that is not going to go away.
PRESIDENT: No it isn’t.
DEAN: It is not going to go away, sir.
PRESIDENT: Not going to go away, it is, the idea that, uh, that, uh, well, that
uh, that people are going to get tired of it and all that sort of thing…
DEAN: Anything will spark it back into life. It’s got to be, uh, it’s got to be…
PRESIDENT: Well, it’s too much to the partisan interest of others to spark it back
into life.
DEAN: And it seems to me the only way that…
PRESIDENT: Who else, though? Let’s, let’s leave you and I don’t, I don’t think on
the, on, uh, on the obstruction of Justice thing, I think that one we can handle.
I, I don’t know why I feel that way, but I…
DEAN: Well, it is possible that I…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 60

PRESIDENT: I, I think you may be overplaying, but who else, uh, who else, who else
do you think, has, uh
DEAN: Potential criminal liability?
DEAN: I think Ehrlichman does. I think that, uh, I think…
PRESIDENT: Why Ehrlichman? What ‘d he do?
DEAN: Because this conspiracy to burglarize the, uh, uh, Ellsberg office.
PRESIDENT: You mean, that, that is provided Hunt breaks.
DEAN: Well, uh, the, the funny, let me say something interesting about that. Within
the files…
PRESIDENT: Oh, I saw that. The picture.
DEAN: Yeah, the picture. That, see, that’s not all that buried. And, while we can,
we’ve got, I think we’ve got it buried, there is no telling when it’s going to pop
up. Uh, the Cubans, uh, could start this whole thing. Uh, when the Ervin Committee
starts running down why this mysterious telephone was here at the White House, uh,
listed in the name of a secretary, one of these, some of these secretaries have
a little idea about this, and they can be broken down Just…
DEAN: so fast. That’s another thing I missed, missed in the cycle, in the circle.
Uh, Liddy’s secretary for example, is knowledgeable. Magruder’s secretary is knowledgeable.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 61

PRESIDENT: So Ehrlichman on the, uh…
DEAN: But what I am coming to you today with is I don’t have a plan of how to solve
it right now, but I think it’s at the Juncture that we should begin to think in
terms of, of how to cut the losses; how to minimize the further growth of this thing;
rather than further compound it by, you know, ultimately paying these guys forever.
DEAN: I think we’ve got to look…
PRESIDENT: But at the moment, don’t you agree that you’d better get the Hunt thing?
I mean, that’s worth it, at the moment.
DEAN: That, that’s worth buying time on, right
PRESIDENT: And that’s buying time on, I agree.
DEAN: Uh, the, the Grand Jury is going to reconvene next week after Sirica sentences.
Uh, but that’s why I think that, you know, that John and Bob have met with me. They’ve
never met with Mitchell on this. We’ve never had a real doom and out with everybody,
that, uh, has the most to lose. And the most, and it is the most danger for you
to have them have criminal liability. I think Bob has a potential criminal liability,
frankly, I think, in other words, a lot of these people could be indicted. They
might never…
DEAN: might never, uh, be convicted; but just the thought of

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 62

PRESIDENT: Suppose that they are indicted in this. Suppose…
DEAN: I think that would be devastating.
PRESIDENT: Suppose the worst, that Bob is indicted and Ehrlichman is indicted. And
I must say, maybe we just better then try to tough it through. You get my point.
DEAN: That’s right. That…
PRESIDENT: If, if, if, for example, our, uh, our — say well, let’s cut our losses
and you say we’re going to go down the road, see if we can cut our losses, and no
more blackmail and all the rest, and the thing blows and they indict Bob and the
rest. Jesus, you’d never recover from that, John.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: It’s better to fight it out instead. You see, that’s the other thing,
the other thing. It’s better Just to fight it out, and not let people testify, so
forth and so on. Now, on the other hand, we realize that we have these weaknesses–
that, uh, (pause) we’ve got this weakness in terms of-(pause) blackmail.
DEAN: It’s what, if we, you know, there, there are two routes, you know: One is
to figure out how to cut the losses and, and, and minimize the, the human impact
and get you up and out and away from it, in any way, uh, in, in a way that would
never come back to haunt. Uh, that is one, one general alternative. The other is
to go (cough) down the road, Just hunker doom, fight it at every corner, every turn,
uh, don’t let people testify, cover it up is what we’re

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 63

really talking about. Just keep it buried, and Just hope that we can do it, hope
that we make good decisions at the right time, and keep our heads cool, uh, Ire
make the right moves, uh…
PRESIDENT: And just take the heat.
DEAN: And just take the heat.
PRESIDENT: Now, with the second line of attack. You discussed this though I do want
you to still consider my scheme of having y–, you brief the Cabinet, Just in very
general terms (unintelligible}in very general terms, and maybe some, some very general
statement with regard to my-investigation. Answer questions, and to, and to basically
on the question of what they told you, not what you know
DEAN: Right.
PRESIDENT: Haldeman is not involved. Ehrlichman…
DEAN: Oh, I can, you know., if, if we go that route, sir, I can, I can give a show
that, you know, there’s uh, we can sell, you know, Just about like we were selling
Wheaties on our position. There’s no…
PRESIDENT: The problem that you have are these, uh, mine fields down the road. I
think the most difficult problem is the, are the, are the, are the guys that are
going to Jail. I think you’re right about that. I agree. Now. And also the fact
that we’re not going to be able to give them clemency.
DEAN: That’s right. How long will they take? How long will they sit there? I don’t
know. We don’t know, what they_ll be sentenced to. There’s always a chance…
PRESIDENT: Thirty years, isn’t it? Maximum?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 64

DEAN: It could be. You know, they haven’t announced yet, but it, uh…
PRESIDENT: Isn’t that what the potential is?
DEAN: Uh, it’s even higher than that. It’s about fifty years, with all the…
PRESIDENT: So ridiculous.
DEAN: Oh well, you know, what’s so incredible is, the, these fellows who, who, sh…
PRESIDENT: People break and enter, and so forth, and get two years.
DEAN: Well, the other thing…
PRESIDENT: No, no weapons. No results. What the hell are they talking about?
DEAN: The, the individuals who are charged with shooting John Stennis are on the
street. They were given, you know, uh, one was put on his personal recognizance
rather than bond. They’ve got these fellows all stuck with hundred thousand dollar
bonds. The same Judge — Sirica — let one guy, who, who’s (laughs) charged with
shooting a United States Senator, out on the street.
PRESIDENT: Sirica did?
DEAN: Yeah. It’s just, it’s phenomenal.
PRESIDENT: I thought he was a hardliner Judge.
DEAN: He’s a, he’s is Just a, a peculiar animal, and uh, he set, set the bond for
one of the others — I don’t have all the facts, but he set the bond for one of
the others — somewhere around fifty or sixty thousand dollars. But still, that
guy is in, but didn’t make bond, but you know, sixty thousand dollars as opposed
to a hundred thousand dollars for these guys is phenomenal.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 65

PRESIDENT: When could you have this meeting Judith these fellows, as I think that
time is of the essence, in my opinion.
DEAN: (Clears throat)
PRESIDENT: Could you do it this afternoon?
DEAN: Well, Mitchell isn’t here, and…
PRESIDENT: Tomorrow?
DEAN: It might be, might be worth it to have him come down. And, now, I think that
Bob and John did not want to talk to, to John about this, John Mitchell. And I don’t
believe they’ve had any conversations with him about it.
(Loud noises on desk)
DEAN: Bob and I have talked about just what we’re talking about this morning. I
told him I thought that you should have the facts, and he agrees. Cause we’ve got
some tough calls down the road if we…
PRESIDENT: Let me say, though that Hunt (unintelligible) (dragging noise on desk)
hard line, and that a convicted felon is goings to go out and squeal (unintelligible)
(dragging noise on desk) as we about this (unintelligible) decision (unintelligible)
turns on that.
DEAN: Well, we can always, you know, on the other side, ore can always charge them
with black- mailing us, and it’s. you know, this is absurd stuff they’re saying
and… (Pause)
PRESIDENT: That’s right. You see, even the way you put it out here, of course if
it all came out, it may never, it may not never, never get there.
(Haldeman enters the room)

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 66

(Loud noises on desk)
PRESIDENT: I was talking to John about this, uh, this whole situation, and I think
we, uh, so that we can get away from the bits and pieces that have broken out. He
is right in having in, in, uh, recommending that, that, uh, that there be a meet’
no at the very first possible time. Ehrlichman, and now Ehrlichman’s gone on to
California but, uh, is today, uh, is tomorrow Thursday?
HALDEMAN: Uh, he John doesn’t go until Friday.
DEAN: Friday…
PRESIDENT: Well, in any event, could we do it. Thursday? This meeting: This meeting
you can’t do it today, can you?
DEAN: I don’t think so. I was suggesting a meeting with Mitchell…
PRESIDENT: Mitchell, Ehrlichman, yourself and Bob’ that’s all. Now, Mitchell has
to be there because, uh, uh, he is seriously involved and, uh, we’re trying to keep,
uh, we’ve got to see how we, uh, hole we handle it from here on. We are in the process
of having to determine which way to go and, uh, John has thought it through, as
well as he can. I do, I don’t want Moore there on this occasion.
PRESIDENT: You haven’t told Moore all of this, have you?
DEAN: Moore’s got, uh, by being with me, has more bits and pieces. I’ve had to give
DEAN: because he is making

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 67

DEAN: judgments that, uh…
PRESIDENT: Well, the point is, once you get down to the PR, once you decide what
you’re going to do, then we can let him know, and so forth and so on. But it is
the kind of thing, I think what really has to happen is for you to sit down with
those three and for you to tell them exactly what you told me.
DEAN: Um huh.
PRESIDENT: It may take him about thirty-five or forty-five minutes. In other words
he knows, John, uh, uh, knows about everything and also what all the, uh, what all
the potential criminal liabilities are, you know, whether it’s, uh, what’s it like
that thing, what about, uh obstruction ,
DEAN: Obstruction of justice. Right.
PRESIDENT: So forth and so on. And, uh, the uh, I think, I think that’s…Then we’ve
go to, uh, see what the line is. Whether the line is one of continuing to, uh, run
a, try to run a total stonewall, and take the heat from that, uh, having in mind
the fact that, uh, there are vulnerable points there; the vulnerable points being
that, well, the first vulnerable points would be obvious. In other words, it would
be, if, uh, uh, one of the, uh, defendants, particularly Hunt, of course, who is
the most vulnerable my opinion, might, uh, blow the whistle, and he, he and his
price is pretty high, but at least, uh, we should, we should buy the time on that,
uh, as I as I pointed out to John. Apparently…Who, who is dealing with Hunt at
the moment now that Colson’s(unintelligible) –
DEAN: Well, uh, Mitchell’s lawyer and, uh…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 68

PRESIDENT: Colson’s lawyer (unintelligible)
DEAN: Colson’s lawyer, both.
PRESIDENT: familiar with him. Hunt has at least got to know before he is sentenced
that he’s…
HALDEMAN: Who’s Colson’s lawyer? (Characterization deleted) in his firm?
DEAN: Shapiro. Right. Who lied to the, you know, who just…The other day, he came
up and…
HALDEMAN: Colson’s told him everything, hasn’t he?
DEAN: Yup, I gather he has. Uh, the other thing that bothered me about that is that
he’s, uh, a chatter. He came up to Fred Fielding, of my office, at Colson’s going
away party. I didn’t go over there. It was over at the Blair House the other night.
And he said to, uh, Fred, he said, “Well, Chuck has had some mighty serious words,
with, uh, his, his friend Howard and had some mighty serious messages back.” Now,
you know, what’s a lawyer how does he know what Fielding knows? Cause Fielding knows
virtually nothing. (Laughs)
PRESIDENT: Well, anyway.
HALDEMAN: That’s, that’s where your dangers lie, is in all these stupid human errors
PRESIDENT: That’s very…
DEAN: That’s…that’s…
PRESIDENT: Well, the point is, Bob, let’s face it, the secretaries know, the assistants
know. There’s a lot of the, many of the damn principals may be hard as a rock, but
you never know when they’re going to crack. But, so, we’ll see, we’ll see. First
you’ve got the Hunt problem. That ought to be handled.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 69

DEAN: Yeah.
PRESIDENT: Uh, incidentally, I do not think Colson should sit in this meeting. Do
you agree?
DEAN: No. I would agree.
PRESIDENT: Okay. Uh, how then…who does sit and talk to Colson? Because somebody
has to, shouldn’t we talk to…
DEAN: Chuck, uh…
PRESIDENT: talks too much.
DEAN: (Sighs) I, I, you know, I like Chuck (laughs) but, uh, I don’t want Chuck,
to know anything that I’m doing frankly. (Laughs)
PRESIDENT: All right.
HALDEMAN: I think that’s right. I, I think you want to be careful not to give Chuck
any more knowledge than he’s already got.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Sure. Well…
DEAN: I wouldn’t want Chuck to even know of the meeting, frankly.
PRESIDENT: Fortunately, fortunately, with Chuck, it is very, I, I talk to him about
many, many political things, but I never talk about this sort of thing ’cause he’s,
uh, he’s very harmful, I mean I don’t think… he must be damn sure I don’t know
anything. And I don’t. In fact, I’m rather surprised at what you told me today.
From what you said, I gathered the impression, and of course, your, your, your analysis
does not for sure, uh, indicate that Chuck knew that it was a bugging operation
for certain.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 70

DEAN: That’s correct. 1 don’t have…
PRESIDENT: On the other hand, on the other hand that,
DEAN: Chuck, Chuck denies that…
PRESIDENT: on the other hand, the other side of that is that Hunt had conversations
with Chuck, and it may be that Hunt told Chuck that it was bugging, and so forth
and so on.
DEAN: Um huh.
PRESINENT: Is that correct?
DEAN: Um hum. They were very close. They, they talked too much, uh, about too many
DEAN: They were intimate on this sort of (coughs)
HALDEMAN: Well then Chuck…
PRESIDENT: There’s another thing you can’t…
HALDEMAN: Chuck has a problem. Chuck loves,
HALDEMAN he loves what he does.
HALDEMAN: He likes to talk about it.
PRESIDENT: He also is a name dropper. Chuck might have gone around and talked to
Hunt and said “Well, I was talking to the President, and the President feels we
ought to get information about this, or that or the other thing,” and so forth and
so on.
DEAN: Well, Liddy is the same way, and…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 71

PRESIDENT: I have talked to, I have talked to…this and that and the other thing.
I, I have never talked to anybody, but I have talked to Chuck and John and the rest
and I am sure that Chuck may have, Chuck might have even talked to Hunt along those
HALDEMAN: I would…well, anything could happen. I would doubt that.
DEAN: I would doubt that too.
HALDEMAN: I don’t think he would. Uh, Chuck is a name dropper in one sense, but
not in that sense.
PRESIDENT: Well, then do you think…
HALDEMAN: I think he very carefully keeps the President out of things. (Noise)
HALDEMAN: Except when he’s doing it, when he’s very intentionally bringing the President
in for, for the President’s purposes.
PRESIDENT: He had the impression though, apparently, that he, he was the, as it
turns out, really is, the trigger man. Uh, may of damn well have been the trigger
man where he just called up and said, “Now look here Jeb, go ahead and get that
information. And (unintelligible) got to be a decision on it at that time. This
is February.
DEAN: Yes sir, I figure it was some other…
PRESIDENT: It must be the…I…it must have been after…
DEAN: This was the call to Magruder from Colson saying _Fish or cut bait._ Hunt
and Liddy were in his office.
HALDEMAN: In Colson’s office?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 72

DEAN: In Colson’s office. And he called Magruder and said, “Let’s fish or cut bait
on this operation. Let’s get it going._
HALDEMAN: Oh, really?
DEAN: Yeah. This is…Magruder tells me this.
HALDEMAN: Of course. That…
PRESIDENT: Well, on the other hand…
HALDEMAN: Now wait, Magruder testified (unintelligible)
(Several voices unintelligible)
DEAN: Chuck, Chuck, also told me that, uh, Hunt and Liddy were in his office and
he made a call.
HALDEMAN: Oh, okay.
DEAN: So it did, it was corroborated by the, the principal.
HALDEMAN: Hunt-and Liddy haven’t told you that, though?
HALDEMAN: You haven’t talked to Hunt and Liddy?
DEAN: I talked to Liddy once, right after the incident.
PRESIDENT: I’m sorry about that. All right, the point is, the point is this, that
uh, it’s now time, though, to, uh, that Mitchell has got to sit down, and know where
the hell all this thing stands too. You see, John is concerned, as you know, Bob,
about, uh, Ehrlichman, which, uh, worries me a great deal because it’s a. uh, uh,
a-, and this is why the Hunt problem is so serious, uh, because, uh, it-had nothing
to do with the campaign.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 73

DEAN: Right, it, uh…
PRESIDENT: Properly, it has to do with the Ellsberg thing. I don’t know what the
hell, uh…
HALDEMAN: But why…
PRESIDENT: Yeah. Why…I don’t know.
HALDEMAN: What I was going to say is…
PRESIDENT: What is the answer on that? How do you keep that out? I don’t know. Well,
we can’t keep it out if see the point is, it is irrevelant. Once it
has gotten to this point…
DEAN: You might, you might put it on a national security ground basis, which it
really, it was.
HALDEMAN: It absolutely was.
DEAN: And just say that, uh…
DEAN: that this is not, you know, this was…
PRESIDENT: Not paid with CIA funds
PRESIDENT: No, seriously, National security. We had to get information for national
security grounds.
DEAN: Well, then the question is, why didn’t the CIA do it or why didn’t the FBI
do it?
PRESIDENT: Because they were…we had to do it, we had to do it, on a confidential
HALDEMAN: Because we were checking them?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 74

PRESIDENT: Neither could be trusted
HALDEMAN: Well, I think…
PRESIDENT: That’s the way I view it.
HALDEMAN: That has never been proven. There was reason to question their
HALDEMAN: Position
PRESIDENT: You see really, with the bombing thing and everything coming out, the
whole thing was national security.
DEAN I think we can probably get, get by on that.
PRESIDENT: I think on that one, I think you’d simply say this was a national security
investigation that was conducted. And the same with the drug field with Krogh. Krogh
could say I…if Krogh were to if(unintelligible) he feels that-he perjured(unintelligible)
it was a national security matter. That’s why…
DEAN: That’s the way Bud rests easy, because he’s, he’s, he’s convinced that he
was doing it…he said there was treason about the country, and it could have threatened
the way the war was handled. Uh, and by God…
PRESIDENT: Bud, Bud said this?
PRESIDENT: Well, Bud could say that and say this, it does involve…it was a national
security and I was not in a position to divulge it. Well anyway, let’s don’t go
beyond that. We’re…forget…but I do think now we, uh, I mean, there is, there
is a time, now when you don’t want to talk to Mitchell. He

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 75

CONT: doesn’t want to talk, and the rest. But John is right. There must be a, must
be a four way talk here of the particular ones that we can trust here. Uh, we’ve
got to get a decision on it. It’s not something that…you see you got two ways,
basically. There are really only two ways you could go. You either decide the whole
God damned thing is so full of problems with potential criminal liability which
is what concerns me. I don’t give a damn about the publicity. We could, we could
rock that through, if we had to let the whole thing hang out. It would be a lousy
story for a month. But I can take it. But the point is, I don’t want any criminal
liability. That’s the thing that I am concerned about for members of the White House
staff and I would trust for members of the Committee. And that means Magruder.
PRESIDENT: Let’s face it. He’s the one that’s, uh… I think Magruder is the major
guy over there.
DEAN: I think he’s got the most serious problem.
HALDEMAN: Well, then we talked about yesterday, you’ve,

got a, you got a question where your cut off

point is. There is a possibility of cutting it at Liddy, where you are now.
HALDEMAN: But to accomplish that requires:
PRESIDENT: Requires what?
HALDEMAN: Requires continued perjury by Magruder.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 76

PRESIDENT: Yeah. And it requires total…
DEAN: commitment…
PRESIDENT: Control, got total, got total control over all of the defendants, which…in
other words (unintelligible)
DEAN: The basic position…
HALDEMAN: They don’t know anything, beyond Liddy.
DEAN: Uh, no. Other than the fact, other ‘hen the fact that Liddy, they have hearsay,
HALDEMAN: But we don’t know about Hunt. Maybe Hunt has it tied in to Colson. We
don’t know that, though really.
PRESIDENT: I think Hunt knows a hell of a lot more.
DEAN: Yeah, I do too. And now what McCord…
HALDEMAN: You think he does? I am afraid you’re right, but, uh, we don’t know that.
PRESIDENT: I think we better assume it. I think Colson
DEAN: And he’s playing hard ball, and he wouldn’t play hard…
DEAN: Yeah. He wouldn’t play hard ball unless he were pretty confident that he could
cause an awful lot of grief.
DEAN: Yeah.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 77

PRESIDENT: He is playing hard boiled ball with regard to Ehrlichman, for example,
and that sort of thing. He knows what he’s got.
HALDEMAN: What’s he planning on, money?
DEAN: Yeah, money and…
DEAN: Oh, yeah. He’s uh…
PRESIDENT: It’s a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. It’s about what, about how
much, which is easy. I mean, it’s not easy to deliver, but it is easy to get. Uh,
now, uh (nine seconds of silence) If that, if what, if that, if that is the case,
if it’s Just that way, then the thing to do is, if, if, the thing all, uh, cracks
out…if, if for, if, for example, you say look we’re not, we’re not going to continue
to try to, let’s state it frankly…cut our losses…that’s just one way you could
go…on the assumption that we’re, we, by continuing to cut our losses, we’re not
going to win. That in the end, we are going to be bled to death, and it’s all going
to come out anyway, and then you get the worst of both worlds. We are going to lose
and people are going to…
HALDEMAN: And look (unintelligible)
PRESIDENT: And we’re going to look like we covered up. So that we can’t do. Now.
The other, the other, uh, the other line, however, uh, if you, if you take that
line, that we’re not going to continue to cut our losses, that means then `;e have
to look square in the eye as to what the hell those losses are, and see which people
can…so we can avoid criminal liability. Right?
DEAN: That’s right.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 78

PRESIDENT: And that means, we got to, we’ve got to keep it off of you, uh, which
I, which I (unintelligible) obstruction of Justice thing. We’ve got to keep it off
Ehrlichman. We’ve got to keep it, naturally, off of Bob, off Chapin, if possible,
and Strachan. Right?
DEAN: Um hum.
PRESIDENT: And Mitchell. Right?
DEAN: Um hum.
HALDEMAN: And Magruder, if you can. But that’s the one you pretty much have to give
PRESIDENT: But, but Magruder, Magruder, uh, uh, John’s, Dean’s point is that if
Magruder goes doyen, he’ll pull everybody with him.
HALDEMAN: That’s my view.
HALDEMAN: Yup. I think Jeb, I don’t think he wants to. And I think he even would
try not to, but I don’t think he is able not to.
DEAN: I don’t think he is strong enough, when it really…
HALDEMAN: Well, not that’ not that…
PRESIDENT: Well, another way, another way to do it then Bob is to…and John realizes
this…is to, Pause) uh, continue to try to cut our losses. w we have to look at
that course of action. First, it is going to require approximately a million dollars
to take care of the jackasses that are in jail. That could be, that could be arranged.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 79


DEAN: Yeah.
PRESIDENT: That could be arranged. But you realize that after we’re gone. I mean,
assuming these (unintelligible) are, they’re going to crack, you know what I mean?
And that’ll be an unseemly story. Eventually, all the people aren’t going to care
that much.
DEAN: That’s right. It’s…
PRESIDENT: People aren’t going to care.
DEAN: So much history will pass between then and now.
PRESIDENT: In other words, what we’re talking about it no question. But the second
thing is we’re not going to be able to deliver on, on any kind of a, of a clemency
thing. You know Colson has gone around on this clemency thing with Hunt and the
DEAN: Hunt, Hunt is now talking in terms of being out by Christmas.
HALDEMAN: This year?
DEAN: This year. Uh, he was told by O’Brien, who is my conveyor of doom back and
DEAN: uh, that, uh, hell, he’d be lucky if he were out a year from now, after the
Ervin hearings were, uh, you know, over. He said, “How in the Lord’s name could
you be commuted that quickly?” He said, “Well, that’s my commitment from Colson.”
HALDEMAN: By Christmas of this year?
DEAN: Yeah.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 80

HALDEMAN: See, that, that really, that’s very believeable cause Colson
PRESIDENT: Do you think Colson could have told him

HALDEMAN: Colson is an, is an that’s, that’s your fatal flaw, really, in Chuck,
is he is an operator in expediency, and he will pay at the time and where he is
whatever he has to, to accomplish what he’s there to do. And that’s…I, I would
believe that he has made that commitment if Hunt says he has. I would believe he
is capable of saying that.
PRESIDENT: The only thing you could do with him would be to parole him for a period
of time because of his family situation. But you couldn’t provide clemency.
DEAN: No, I…uh, Kleindienst has now got control of the parole board, and he said
that now we can, we can pull paroles off now where we couldn’t before. So…
PRESIDENT: Well, parole…
HALDEMAN: Yeah, but Kleindienst always tells you that, and then never delivers.
PRESIDENT: Parole, parole. Let’s talk candidly about that. Parole (unintelligible)
in human terms, and so forth, is something that I think in Hunt’s case you could
do Hunt, but you couldn’t do the others. You understand?
DEAN: Well, so much depends upon hoist Sirica sentences. He can sentence, sentence
in a way that, uh, makes parole even impossible.
PRESIDENT: Oh, he can?
DEAN: Sure. He can do all kinds of permanent sentences. Yeah. He can be a, just
a son-of-a-bitch, uh, as far, as the whole thing.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 81

HALDEMAN: Of course, can’t you appeal on a, on an unjust sentence, as well as on
an unjust conviction?
DEAN: You’ve got sixty days to ask the Judge to review it. There is no appellate
review of sentences.
HALDEMAN: There isn’t?
DEAN: Not that I…
PRESIDENT: The judge can review it, yeah.
HALDEMAN: Only the sentencing judge can review his own sentence?
PRESIDENT: Coming back, though, to this. So you got that…the, uh, hanging over.
Now. If, uh, you see if you let it hang there, the point is you could let all or
only part…The point is, your feeling is that we just can’t continue to, to pay
the blackmail of these guys?
DEAN: I think that’s our greatest jeopardy.
PRESIDENT: Now, let me tell you, it’s
DEAN: ‘Cause that is…
PRESIDENT: no problem, we could, we could get the money. There is no problem in
that. We can’t provide the clemency. The money can be provided. Mitchell could provide
the way to deliver it. That could be done. See what I mean?
HALDEMAN: But, Mitchell says he can’t, doesn’t he?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 82

DEAN: Mitchell says that, uh…well, Mitch…that’s, it’s, you know, there has been
an interesting thing, uh, phenomena all the way along on this, is that there have
been a lot of people having to pull oars and not everybody pulls them all the same
time, the same way, because their developed self-interests.
HALDEMAN: What John is saying is that everybody smiles at Dean and says, “Well,
you better get something done about it.”
DEAN: That’s right
PRESIDENT: (Unintelligible)
HALDEMAN: And Mitch…, Mitchell is leaving Dean hanging out on a…None of us,
well maybe we’re doing the same thing to you.
DEAN: That’s right.
HALDEMAN: But I…let me say that, that I don’t see how there’s any way that you
can have the White House, or anybody presently in the White House, involved in trying
to gin out of this money.
DEAN: We are already deeply enough in that. That’s the problem, Bob.
PRESIDENT: I thought you said you could handle the money?
DEAN: Well, in fact, that, uh, when…
PRESIDENT: Kalmbach?
DEAN: Well, Kalmbach, uh, was a…
HALDEMAN: He’s not the one
DEAN: No, but when they ran out of that money, as you know, they came after the
three-fifty that was over here.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 83

PRESIDENT: And they used that, right?
DEAN: And I had to explain what it was (laughs) for, uh, before I could get the
PRESIDENT: Well, you said…
DEAN: Now, they…now, that…they…
HALDEMAN: That was put, that was, that was…in the first place, that was put back
to LaRue.
DEAN: That’s right.
HALDEMAN: where it belonged. It wasn’t all returned in a lump sum. It was put back
in pieces.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: And then LaRue used it for this other purpose?
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Well, I think they can get that.
HALDEMAN: And the balance was all returned to LaRue.
DEAN: That’s right.
HALDEMAN: The problem is we don’t have any receipt for that, do we. We have no way
of proving that.
PRESIDENT: I (unintelligible)
DEAN: And I think, I think that was because, you know, of self-interest over there.
Mitchell should…
HALDEMAN: Mitchell told LaRue not to take it at all.
DEAN: That’s right.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 84

HALDEMAN: This is what you told me.
DEAN: That’s right. And then you don’t give them a receipt.
PRESIDENT: Well, then, but what happened? LaRue tool it, and then what?
DEAN: Well, it was sent back to him because we Just couldn’t continue piecemeal
giving, you know, I ask it…Every time I asked for it, I had to tell Bob I needed
some, or something like that…
DEAN: and he had to get Gordon Strachan to go up to his safe and take it out and
take it over to LaRue.
DEAN: This was just a forever operation.
PRESIDENT: Then what? Why didn’t they take it all to him?
DEAN: I think it’s sent over with him.
HALDEMAN: Well, we had been trying to get a way to get that money back out of here
HALDEMAN: And what this was supposed to be was loans. This was…
HALDEMAN: immediate cash needs that was going to be re…, replenished. And Mitchell
was arguing “You can’t take the three-fifty back till it’s all replenished.” Isn’t
that right?
DEAN: That’ s right. Well–in the, uh…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 85

HALDEMAN: And then they never replenished it, so we just gave it all back anyway.
PRENT: I have a feeling we could handle this one. Well…
DEAN: Well, first of all, they’d have a hell of a time proving it. Uh, that’s one
thing. Uh…
PRESIDENT: Yeah, yeah…I just have a feeling on it. But let’s now come back to
the money, a million dollars, and so forth and so on. Let me say that I think you
could get that in cash, and I know money is hard, but there are ways. That could
be (unintelligible). But the point is, uh, what would you do on that…Let’s, let’s
look at the hard facts.
DEAN: I mean, that’s been very interesting. That has been, thus far, the most difficult
DEAN: They have been that’s why these fellows have been on or off the reservation
all the way along.
PRESIDENT: So the hard place is this. Your, your feeling at the present time is
the hell with the million dollars. In other words, you say to these fellows, “I
am sorry, it is all off,” and let them talk. Right?
DEAN: Well…
PRESIDENT: That, that’s the way to do it, isn’t it?
DEAN: That…
PRESIDENT: If you want to do it clean (unintelligible)

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 86

HALDEMAN: See, then when you do it, it’s a way you can live with. Because the problem
with the blackmail, and that’s the thing we kept raising with you `’hen you said
there’s a money problem, when are need twenty thousand or a hundred thousand or
something, was yeah, that’s what you need today. But what do you need tomorrow and
next year and five years from now’
PRESIDEMT: How long?
DEAN: Well, that was just to get us through November seventh, though.
HALDEMAN: I recognize that’s what we had to give
DEAN: Right.
HALDEMAN: to November seventh. There’s no question.
DEAN: Except they could have sold…these fellows could have sold out to the Democrats
for a fantastic amount.
PRESIDENT: Yeah, these fellows but of course, you know, these fellows, though, as
far as that plan was concerned.
HALDEMAN: But what is there?
PRESIDENT: As far as what happened up to this time, our cover there is just going
to be the Cuban Committee did this for them up through the election.
DEAN: Well, yeah. We can put that together, That isn’t, of course, quite the way
it happened, but, uh…
PRESIDENT: I know, but it’s the way it’s going to have to happen.
DEAN: It’s going to have to happen.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 87

PRESIDENT: That’s right. Finally, though, so you let it go. So what happens is then
they go out and, uh, and they’ll start blowing the whistle on everybody else. Isn’t
that what it really gets down to?
DEAN: Um hum.
PRESIDENT: So that, that would be the, the clean way, Right?
DEAN: Uh,…
PRESIDENT: Is that really you’, you really go so far as to recommend that?
DEAN: That…no, I wouldn’t. I don’t think, I don’t think necessarily that’s the
cleanest way. One of the..I think that’s what we all need to discuss; is there some
way that we can get our story before a grand jury, and so, that they can have, have
really investigated the White House on this…I mean, and I must, I must be perfectly
honest, I haven’t really thought through that alternative. We’ve been, you know,
been so busy. (Background noise)
DEAN: on the other containment situation
PRESIDENT: John Ehrlichman, of course, has raised the point of another grand jury.
I just don’t know how you’re going to do it. On what basis. I, I could call for
it, but I…
DEAN: That would be, I would think, uh…
PRESIDENT: The President takes the leadership and says, “Now, in view of all this,
uh, stripped land and so forth, I understand this, but I, I think I want another
grand jury proceeding and, and we’ll have the White House appear before them.” Is
that right John?

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 89

DEAN: Uh huh.
PRESIDENT: That’s the point you see. That would make the difference. (Noise banging
on desk) I want everybody in the White House called. And that, that gives you the,
a reason not to have to go up before the (unintelligible) Committee. It puts it
in a, in an executive session in a sense.
DEAN: Uh, well…
HALDEMAN: And there’d be some rules of evidence. aren’t there?
DEAN: There are rules of evidence.
PRESIDENT: Both evidence and you have lawyers a
HALDEMAN: So you are in a hell of a lot better position than you are up there.
DEAN: No, you can’t have a lawyer before a grand jury.
PRESIDENT: Oh, no. That’s right.
DEAN: You can’t have a lawyer before a grand Jury.
HALDEMAN: Okay, but you, but you, you do have rules of evidence. You can refuse
to talk.
DEAN: You can take the Fifth Amendment.
PRESIDENT: That’s right. That’s right.
HALDEMAN: You can say you forgot, too, can’t you?
DEAN: Sure. –
PRESIDENT: That’s right.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 89

DEAN: But you can’t…you’re…very high risk in perjury situation.
PRESIDENT: That’s right. Just be damned sure you say I don’t…
PRESIDENT: remember; I can’t recall, I can’t give any honest, an answer to that
that I can recall. But that’s it.
HALDEMAN: You have the same perjury thing on the Hill, don’t you?
DEAN: That_s right.
PRESIDENT: Oh hell, yes.
HALDEMAN: And, and they’ll be doing things on (unintelligible)
PRESIDENT: My point is, though…
HALDEMAN: which is a hell of a lot worse to deal with.
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: The grand jury thing has its, uh, uh, uh view of this they might, uh.
Suppose we have a grand jury proceeding. Would that, would that, what would that
do to the Ervin thing? Would it go right ahead any way?
DEAN: Probably.
HALDEMAN: If you do it in executive…
PRESIDENT: But then on that score, though, we have…let me Just, uh, run by that,
that…you do that on a grand jury, we could then have a much better cause in terms
of saying “Look this is a grand jury, in which, uh, the prosecutor…” How about
a special prosecutor? We could use Peterson, or use another one. You see he is probably
suspect. Would you call…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 90

PRESIDENT: in another prosecutor?
DEAN: I’d like to have Petersen on our side, advising us (laughs) frankly.
PRESIDENT: Frankly, well, Petersen is honest. Is anybody about to be, question him,
are they?
DEAN: No, no, but he’ll get a barrage when, uh, these Watergate hearings start.
PRESIDENT: Yes, but he can go up and say that he’s he’s been told to go further
in the Grand Jury and go into this and that, and the other thing. Call everybody
in the White House. I want them to come. I leant the, uh, uh, to go to the Grand
DEAN: This may result…this may happen even without our calling for it, when, uh,
when these, uh…
DEAN: No. Well, that’s one possibility. But also, when these people go back before
the Grand Jury, here, they are going to pull all these criminal defendants back
in before the Grand Jury and immunize them
PRESIDENT: And immunize them: Why? Who? Are you going to…on what?
DEAN: Uh, the U. S. Attorney’s Office will.
PRESIDENT: To do what?
DEAN: To talk about anything further they want to talk about.
PRESIDENT: Yeah. What do they gain out of it?
DEAN: Nothing.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 91

PRESIDENT: To hell with then.
DEAN: They, they’re going to stonewall it, uh, as it now stands. Except for Hunt.
That’s why, that’s the leverage in his threat.
HALDEMAN: This is Hunt’s opportunity.
DEAN: This is Hunt’s opportunity.
PRESIDENT: That’s why, that’s why…
HALDEMAN: God, if he can lay this…
PRESIDENT: that’s why your, for your immediate thing you’ve got no choice with Hunt
but the hundred and twenty or whatever it is. Right?
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: Would you agree that that’s a buy time thing, you better damn well get
that done, but fast?
DEAN: I think he ought to be given some signal anyway, to, to…
DEAN: Yeah…you know.
PRESIDENT: Well, for Christ’s sakes, get it fir, a, in a way that, uh (pause) who’s,
who’s going to talk to him? Colson? He’s the one who’s supposed to know him.
DEAN: Well, Colson doesn’t have any money though. That’s the thing. That’s been
our, one of the real problems. They have, uh, been unable to raise any money. A
million dollars in cash, or, or the like, has been Just a very difficult problem
as we’ve discussed before. Apparently, Mitchell has talked to Pappas, and I called

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 92

last…John asked me to call him last night after our discussion and after you’d
met with John to see where that was. And I, I said, “Have you talked to, to Pappas?”
He was at home, and Martha picked up the phone so it was all in, in code. “Did you
talk to the Greek?” And he said, uh, “Yes, I have.” And I said, “Is the Greek bearing
gifts?” He said, “‘tell, I `’ant to call you tomorrow on that.”
PRESIDENT: Well, look, uh, what is it that you need on that, uh, when, uh, uh? Now
look (unintelligible) I am, uh unfamiliar with the money situation.
DEAN: Well that, you know it, it sounds easy to do, apparently, until, uh, everyone
is out there doing it and that’s where our breakdown has, has come every time.
PRESIDENT: Well, if you had it, where would you, how would you get it to somebody?
DEAN: Well, I, uh, I gather LaRue just leaves it in mail boxes and things like that,
and tells Hunt to go pick it up. Someone phones Hunt and tells him to pick it up.
As I say’ we’re a bunch of amateurs in that business.
HALDEMAN: That was the thing that we thought Mitchell ought to be able to know holy
to find some- body who could do all that sort of thing, because none of us know
how to.
DEAN: That’s right. You got to wash money and all that sort, you know, if you get
a hundred thousand out of a bank, and it all comes in serialized bills, and…
PRESIDENT: Oh, I understand.
DEAN: And that means you have to go to Vegas with it or a bookmaker in ‘few York
City, and I’ve learned all these things after the fact, it’s (laughs) great shape
for the next time around.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 93

HALDEMAN: Jesus. .
PRESIDENT: Well, the main point now is, the people who will need the money (unintelligible)
well of course, you’ve got the surplus from the campaign. That we have to -account
for. But if there’s any other money hanging around…
HALDEMAN: Well, but what about all the, what about the money we moved back out of
DEAN: Apparently, there’s some there. That might be what they can use. Uh, I don’t
know how much is left.
PRESIDENT: Kalmbach must have some, doesn’t he?
DEAN: Kalmbach doesn’t have a cent.
PRESIDENT: He doesn’t?
DEAN: See the new law…
HALDEMAN: No, see that three-fifty that we moved out was all we saved. Because they
were afraid to because of this…that’s what I mean; that’s the trouble. We are
so God damned square that (laughs) we’d get caught on everything.
PRESIDENT: Well, could I suggest that this though, uh, now, let me, let, let me
go back around (unintelligible) They will then, uh…(unintelligible)
HALDEMAN: Be careful…
PRESIDENT: The, uh (pause) the grand jury thing has appeal. Ouestion is, uh…it,
it at least says that we are cooperating
DEAN: Well…
PRESIDENT: with the Grand Jury.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 94

DEAN: Once we, once we start doom any route that involves the criminal justice system…
DEAN: you, you’ve got to have full appreciation of there is really no control over
DEAN: Uh, while we did, uh, we had a, an amazing job of…
PRESIDENT: Yeah, I know.
DEAN: keeping the thing on the track before…
PRESIDENT: Straight.
DEAN: while the FBI was out there, all that…and that was, uh, only because…
DEAN: I had a (unintelligible) of where they were going.
PRESIDENT: (unintelligible) Right. Right. But you haven’t got that now because everybody
else is going to have a lawyer. Let’s take the new Grand Jury. Uh, the nest Grand
Jury would call Magruder again, wouldn’t it?
DEAN: But, based on what information it would? For example, what hangers if Dean
goes in and gives a story, you know, that here is the way it all came about. It
eras supposed to be a legitimate operation and it obviously got off the track. I
heard of these horribles, told Haldeman that we shouldn’t be involved in it. Then
Magruder’s going to have to be called in and questioned about all those meetings
again and the like. And it begins to… again he’ll begin to change his story as
to what he told the Grand Jury the last time.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 95

DEAN: That way, he’s in a perjury situation.
HALDEMAN: Except, that’s the best leverage you’ve got on Jeb…is that he’s got
to keep his story straight or he’s in real trouble.
DEAN: That’s right.
HALDEMAN: Unless they get smart and give him immunity. If they, immunize .Jeb, then
you haste an interesting problem (pause)
(Tapping on desk)
PRESIDENT: He wouldn’t
DEAN: Well, I think we have…
HALDEMAN: (Unintelligible) immunity
DEAN: we have control, we have control over who gets immunized.
DEAN: Yeah, I think they wouldn’t do that without our…
PRESIDENT: But you see, the Grand Jury proceeding (unintelligible) sort of thing,
you can go down that road and then…if…if they had…I’m just thinking of now
how the President looks. We would be cooperating. We would be cooperating through
the Grand Jury. Everybody would be behind us. That’s the proper way to do this.
It should be done through a grand jury, not up there in the kleig lights of the
Committee, or…
DEAN: That’s right.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 96

PRESIDENT: Nobody’s questioning if it’s a grand jury, and so forth. So, and then
we would insist on executive privilege before the Committee, flat out say, “No we
won’t do that. We_re not going to do it. Matter before a grand jury_ and that’s
that. You see…
HALDEMAN: All right, then you go to the next step. Would we then…the Grand Ju..,
the Grand Jury meet in executive session?
DEAN: Yes sir, they’re…
DEAN: secret sessions, they’re secret.
HALDEMAN: Secret session…
HALDEMAN: All right, then would we agree to release our statement, our Grand Jury
DEAN: That’s not, that’s not for our…we don’t, have the authority to do that.
That’s up to the Court and the Court, thus far, has not released the ones from the
last Grand Jury.
PRESIDENT: They usually are not.
DEAN: It would be highly unusual for a grand fury to come out. What should happen
HALDEMAN: But a lot of the stuff from the Grand Jury came out.
PRESIDENT: Leaks. Well…
DEAN: It came out of the U. S. Attorney’s Office…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 97

DEAN: more than the, the Grand Jury. We don’t know. Some of the Grand Jurors may
have leaked…
PRESIDENT: Right, right.
DEAN: it, but they were…
PRESIDENT: Bob, it’s not so bad. It’s just not the bad…or the worst place. But…
HALDEMAN: Well, what I was. I was going the other way there. I was going to…it
might be to our interest to get it out.
PRESIDENT: Well, we, we could easily do that. Leak out certain stuff. We could pretty
much control that. We_ve got much more control there. Now the other possibility
is not to go to the Grand Jury. Then you’ve got three things. (1) You Just say,
“The hell with it, we can’t raise the money, sorry Hunt, you can say what you want.”
And so Hunt blows the whistle. Right?
DEAN: Right.
PRESIDENT: All right, if that happens, then that raises some possibilities of other
criminal…because he is likely to say a hell of a lot of things and he’s certain
to get Magruder on it.
DEAN: It’ll get Magruder. It’ll start the whole FBI investigation going again.
PRESIDENT: Yeah. So, uh, what else…it’ll get Magruder, it could possibly get Colson.
He’s in that danger. .
DEAN: That’s right. Could get, uh…
PRESIDENT: Could get Mitchell. Maybe. No.
HALDEMAN: Hunt can’t get Mitchell.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 98

DEAN: I don’t think Hunt can get Mitchell. Hunt’s got a lot of hearsay.
PRESIDENT: Ehrlichman? He could on the other thing…except Ehrlichman (unintelligible)
DEAN: Krogh, Krogh could go down in smoke. Uh…
PRESIDENT: Because Krogh, uh…where could anybody …but on the other hand, Krogh,
just says he, uh, uh, Krogh says this is a national security matter. Is that what
he says? Yeah, he said that.
DEAN: Yeah, but that won’t sell, ultimately, in a criminal situation. It may be
mitigating on sentences but it won’t, uh, in the main matter…
HALDEMAN: Well, then that…
PRESIDENT: That’s right. Try to look around the track. We have no choice on Hunt
but to try to keep him…
DEAN: Right now, we have no choice.
PRESIDENT: But, but my point is, do you ever have any choice on Hunt? That’s the
DEAN: (Sighs)
PRESIDENT: No matter what we do here now, John…
DEAN: Well. if we…
PRESIDENT: Hunt eventually, if he isn’t going to get commuted and so forth, he’s
going to bloat the whistle.
DEAN: What I have been trying to conceive of is how we could lay out everything
we know (sighs) in a way that, you knows we’ve told the Grand Jury or somebody else,
so that if a Hunt blows…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 99

DEAN so what’s new? You know, it’s already been told to a grand Jury, and they found
no criminal liability, and they investigated it in full. We’re sorry fellow…
PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: Uh, we don’t, it doesn’t…
PRESIDENT: Including Ehrlichman’s use of Hunt on the other deal?
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: You’d throw that out?
DEAN: Uh, well, Hunt will go to jail for that too…he’s got to understand that.
PRESIDENT: That’s the point too. I don’t think that …I wouldn’t throw that out.
I think I would limit it to…I don’t think you need to go into every God damned
thing Hunt has done
PRESIDENT: He’s done some things in the national security area. Yes, true.
HALDEMAN: We’ve already said that. Anyway, I mean, we’ve laid the ground work for
DEAN: Uh huh.
PRESIDENT: But here is the point, John: So you go that…let’s go to the other extreme,
the other, the other angle is to decide on, well, if you open up the Grand Jury,
first, it won’t do any good; it won’t be believed. And then you’ll have two things
going: The Grand Jury and you have the other thing. At least the Grand Jury appeals

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 100

me from the standpoint, it’s the President makes the move. “Since all these charges
have been bandied about, and so forth, the best thing to do is to…I have ordered,
or I have asked the Grand Jury to look into any further charges. All charges have
been raised.” That’s the place to do it and not before a committee of the Congress.
DEAN: Um hum.
PRESIDENT: Then, however, we may say, Mitchell, et al., God we can’t risk that,
I mean, uh, all sorts of shit’ll break loose there. Then that leaves you to your
third thing. The third thing is just to continue to…
DEAN: Hunker down and fight it.
PRESIDENT: All right. If you hunker down and fight it, fight it and what happens?
DEAN: Your…
PRESIDENT: Your view is that, that is, is not really a viable option.
DEAN: It’s a very it’s a high risk. A very high risk.
PRESIDENT: A high risk, because your view is that what will happen out of that is
that it’s going to come out. Somebody’s…Hunt…something’s going to break loose…
DEAN: Something is going to break and…
PRESIDENT: When it breaks it’ll look like the President
DEAN: …is covering up…

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 101

DEAN: Your…
PRESIDENT: Your view is that that is, is not really a viable option.
DEAN: In fact, it’s a high risk. A very high risk.
PRESIDENT: A high risk, because your view is that what will happen out of that is
that it’s going to come out. Somebody’s…Hunt…something’s going to break loose…
DEAN: Something is going to break and…
PRESIDENT: When it breaks it’ll look like the President…
DEAN: …is covering up…
PRESIDENT: is, has covered up a huge, uh, uh, this -Right?
DEAN That’s correct.
HALDEMAN: But you can’t contain the charge.
PRESIDENT: That’s not…
DEAN: I just don’t…
PRESIDENT: You’re, you’re
DEAN: I don’t think it’s…
PRESIDENT: You now have, uh, moved away from the hunker down.

DEAN: Well, I’ve moved to the point that we’ve certainly got to take a, a harder
look at the other alternative, which we haven’t before.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 102

PRESIDENT: The other alternatives.
DEAN: The other alternatives. Right
PRESIDENT: Three other choices, wouldn’t you say? As a matter of fact, your m-,
middle ground of Grand Jury. And then there’s finally the on ground of — No, I
suppose there’s a middle ground.
DEAN: And I would –
PRESIDENT: or the middle grounds of a public statement, without a Grand Jury.
DEAN: What we need also, sir –
PRESIDENT: And also –
HALDEMAN: But John’s view is if we make the public statement
HALDEMAN: that we talked – I raised that this morning, the, the thing we talked
about last night.
HALDEMAN: If each of us
HALDEMAN: make moves,
HALDEMAN: He says that will immediately lead to a Grand Jury.
PRESIDENT: Fine – all right, fine.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 103

HALDEMAN: As soon as we make that statement, they’ll have to call a Grand Jury.
PRESIDENT: Then maybe we make the public statement before the Grand Jury, in order
to –
HALDEMAN: So it looks like we are trying to do it over.
DEAN: All right, say all right, say here are public statements, and we want, we
want, uh,
DEAN: full Grand Jury investigation
DEAN: by the U. S. Attorney’s Office
PRESIDENT: Curious to see whether this statement’s, then, that_s right. That I,
but – And that we_ve said that the reason that we had delayed this is until after
the sentencing. You see, the point is, the reason that time is of the essence, we
can’t play around with this, is that they’re going to sentence on Friday. We’re
going to move the God damned thing pretty fast. See what I mean?
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: So we’ve got to act, we really haven’t time to (unintelligible)
DEAN: The other, the other thing is that the Attorney General could call Sirica,
and say that. “The Government has some major developments that it’s considering.
Would you hold sentencing for two weeks?” If we set ourself on a course of action.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 104

PRESIDENT: Yep, yep.
DEAN: Say, that “The sentencing may be in the wrong perspective right now. I don’t
know for certain, but I just think there are some things that ? uh, I am not at
liberty to discuss with you, that I want to ask that the, the court withhold two
weeks sentencing._
HALDEMAN: So then the story is out: “Sirica Delays Sentencing Watergate For –“
DEAN: I think, I think that could be handled in a way between Sirica and Kleindienst
that it would not get out.
DEAN: Sirica tells me, I mean Kleindienst apparently does-have good rapport with
Sirica. He’s never talked to him since this case has developed,
DEAN: but, uh –
PRESIDENT: That’s helpful. Kleindienst could say that he’s, uh, he’s working on
something and would like, like, like to have a week. I wouldn’t take two weeks.
I would take a week.
DEAN: I’ll tell you the person that I would, you know, I feel that, uh, we’ we could
use his counsel on this, because he understands the criminal process better than
anybody over here does,

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 105

PRESIDENT: Petersen?
DEAN: is Petersen. It, it’s awkward for Petersen. He’s the head of the Criminal
Division. But to discuss some of these things with him, we may well want to remove
him from the head of the Criminal Division and say,(cough) that, uh, “Rela-, related
to this case, you will have no relation.” Uh, and give him on some special assignment
over here where he can sit down and say, “Yes, this is an, this is an obstruction,
but it couldn’t be proved,” or so on and so forth. We almost need him out of there
to take his counsel. That would, uh, I, I don’t think he’d want that, but, uh, he
is the most knowledgeable-
PRESIDENT: How could you get him out?
DEAN: I think an appeal directly to Henry, uh, that uh
PRESIDENT: Why doesn’t the President – could, could the President call him in as
Special Counsel to the White – to the, to the White House for the purpose of conducting
an investigation, represent – uh, you see, in other words – recommend that Dean,
DEAN: I have thought of that. I have thought of that.
PRESIDENT: have him as Special Counsel to represent to the Grand Jury and the rest.
DEAN: That is one possibility.
HALDEMAN: On the basis that Dean has now become a principal rather than a Special
DEAN: Uh huh.

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 106

PRESIDENT: That’s right.
DEAN: Uh huh.
PRESIDENT: And that he’s a —
DEAN: And I, and I could recommend that to you.
PRESIDENT: He could recommend it, you could recommend it, and Petersen would come
over and be the, uh – and I’d say, “Now –“
HALDEMAN: Petersen’s planning to leave, anyway.
PRESIDENT: And I’d say, “Now,”
DEAN: Is he?
PRESIDENT: “I want you to get – we want you to (1) -” We’d say to Petersen, “We
want you to get to the bottom of the God damned thing, Call another Grand Jury or
anything else.” Correct? Well, now you’ve got to follow up to see whether Kleindienst
can get Sirica to put off – Right? If that is, if we – Second, you’ve got to get
Mitchell down here. You and Ehrlichman and Mitchell and let’s – an – by tomorrow.
HALDEMAN: Why don’t we do that tonight?
PRESIDENT: I don’t think you can get him that soon, can you?
PRESIDENT: It would be helpful if you could.
DEAN: I think it would be.
PRESIDENT: You need —

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 107

DEAN: Get him to cone down this afternoon.
PRESIDENT: It would be very helpful to, to get it going. And, uh, uh, you know,
and, uh, and then, uh – Actually, uh, I’m perfectly willing to meet with the group,
or I don’t know whether –
HALDEMAN: Do you think you want to?
PRESIDENT: Maybe have Dean report to me at the end, as to what are, as to what conclusions,
et cetera what you want to do. I thing I should stay away from the Mitchell side
of it at this point.
DEAN: Ih huh.
PRESIDENT: Do you agree?
DEAN: Uh huh.
PRESIDENT: and, uh –
DEAN: And I think, unless we see, you know, some sort of a reluctant dragon there

HALDEMAN: You might try to meet with the rest of us, I, I’m, I’m not sure you’d
want to meet with John in a group of us. (Noise) (Pause) Okay, let me see if I can
get it done.
PRESIDENT: All right. Fine. That’s it, my point is that’ uh, we can, uh, you may
well come – I think it is good (noise) frankly, to outsider these various options.
And then, once you, once you decide on the plan – John – and you had the right plan,
let me say, I have no doubts about the right plan before the election. And you handled
it just right. You contained it. – Now after the election we’ve got to have another
plan, because we can’t have, for four years,

MARCH 21, 1973 FROM 10:12 TO 11:55 A.M. 108

Cont: we can’t have this thing – you’re going to be eaten away. We can’t do it
DEAN: -Well, there’s been a change-in the mood
HALDEMAN: John’s point is exactly right, that the erosion here now is going to you,
and that is the thing that we’ve got to turn off, at whatever the cost and we’ve
got to figure out where to turn it off at the lowest cost we can, but at whatever
cost it takes.
DEAN: That’s what, that’s what we have to do.
PRESIDENT: Well, the erosion is inevitably going to come here, apart from anything,
you know, people saying that, uh’ well, the Watergate isn’t a major concern. It
isn’t. But it would, but it will be. It’s bound to be.
DEAN: We cannot let you be tarnished by that situation.
PRESIDENT: Well, I (unintelligible) also because I Although Ron Ziegler has to go
out -They blame the (unintelligible) on the White House (unintelligible)
DEAN: That’s right.
PRESIDENT: We don’t, uh, uh, I say that the White House can’t do it. Right?
DEAN: Yes. sir.

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