1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-16; Part 2 of 4
As White House Special Counsel Richard Moore takes a moment to check some facts, we'll take a short break. We'd like to remind you that when we take these breaks, you don't miss any of the testimony. We simply stop the video tape and then start it again a couple of minutes from now. Public television's coverage of the Senate hearings will continue after a pause for station identification. On a bridged coverage of these hearings is provided as a public service by the members stations of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service. From Washington, NPAC continues its coverage of hearings by the Senate Select Committee
on Presidential campaign activities. Here again, correspondent Robert McNeill. We go back to the hearings as Richard Moore is being questioned by Assistant Chief Counsel Terry Lensner. At no time during this meeting or during this exceeding meeting, can you indicate with page 13, or during succeeding meetings on March 15, March 19 and 20, all of which were attended only by the President, Mr. Dean and myself, did anyone say anything in my presence which related to or suggested the existence of any cover-up or any knowledge or involvement by anyone in the White House, then now or in the Watergate affair? Mr. Moore, I'm asking you about your meeting on April 19 with the President. Will you discuss Ellsberg, Ehrlichman, and I have a March 19.
You're talking about April 19. And the question is, is it reflected anywhere in your state? Excuse me, is it reflected anywhere in your state? And if it isn't, can you, sir? No, sir, you explain me. Why was that meant down, the 219th, you know, we're talking about April 19, I was thinking in terms of March 19. Well, the April 19th statement is not referred to, can you explain why you did not include that in your opening statement? Well, a lot of things. Yes, if you look at the question where I speak of the time frame where I thought I had evidence that would relate to this, what I thought was the basic subject, the meetings which I attended with Mr. D. and the President. And I took a time frame of February 6 as a start of my acquaintance with the subject up to an including, I said March 21, the date the President first learned of the possibilities
of facts that he preferred to in his later statement. I had, as you know, a lot of things did not include it here. I indicated I'd be glad to go into any and all other subjects. But this was what I thought was the heart of what I did provide, and so stated. Now, after you learned in March of the meetings in Mr. Mitchell's office with Liddy McGruder and Dean, did you ever see Mr. Mitchell again to talk with him after that? Oh, I'm sure I did. And a number of occasions? No, once or twice. I saw him once when he was in the White House, he was down there in a visit. I've seen very little of him, but did you ask him on that occasion or any occasion about the meetings that he had in his office with Mr. Liddy, Mr. D. and Mr. McGruder that
Mr. Dean had described to you? No, sir. I believe you saw him on March 28, 1973 at the White House with Mr. Holderman. Did you have any discussion on that date? I just have, believe you. I saw him. Well, I'm reading from a notation of Mr. Holderman's diary that indicates you, Mr. Holderman, Mr. Mitchell met on that date. The date is March 28, 1973. Well, forgive me a moment, too. Take your time, Mr. Moore. While you're doing that, I'm told by my associate up here that Mr. Miller spoke about our meeting on Thursday, June 8th, Mr. Lackertz tells me that Thursday of that week was June
7th. But go ahead and pursue your— We didn't say that. We didn't say that. We didn't hear him correctly. Friday, the 8th of June was the date of the meeting, Mr. Lanzar. I have a confident evidence available if necessary. Go right ahead, Mr. Moore. Can you describe, Mr. Moore, by the way, what you're looking at to refresh your recollection? Yes, sir. It's some notes I've made just for this purpose, after a final discussion of dates with you. You were telling me that Mr. Holderman's diary shows that I was present in a meeting on March 28th. That's correct. At which Mr. Mitchell was present. Can you tell me if anybody else was present? The diary only indicates that Mr. Holderman joined the meeting at approximately nine o'clock. I'd be glad to— Do you know where— I don't have— It looks like Mr. Holderman's office in the White House. Because I think this diary would not reflect this entry unless it was his secretary at his
office. What day of the week do we have? This is Wednesday. He said, after his last week, if there was a term each week. Could you tell me whether that is a diary of a meeting that's a place or a meeting that was scheduled? Well, that's a template. In the case, I'd be glad to show you the diary at the moment I have no recollection of such a meeting. Please hold him in return, join Mitchell and Moore. It's on the right hand side, Mr. Moore, of the diary entry. The time appears to 12.45, is that the way you made it?
Excuse me, sir, the time of day, about 8.45, I think it says, yes. Well, I don't want to belittle— No, I don't use to get in that early. I have no recollection of the meeting. I don't really think I was at that meeting. No. I admit the diary shows that. I don't know whether it could have been Powell Moore. My good friend from Mitchell, Millageville, Georgia, whose name has been confused a minute a couple of times, and I might say for the benefit of anybody I should, that I'm
Richard and he's Powell, but I don't recall being at that meeting, but I will— Above the entry at 8.45, it says, Dick Moore, but I don't want to belabor this. No. I see that now. The only question I'm asking is, did you ever, when you did see Mr. Mitchell, ask him about the meetings that Mr. Dean had told you about in his office? No, I never did. Now, you testified, also, sir, that on Hunter about March 19th, Mr. Dean told you that Hunt was demanding, I think you said, over $100,000, that he wanted— What I said was that he mentioned a large amount, and I didn't remember what it was, but I've since read that it was over $100,000, yeah. Well, whatever it was, and he wanted it by Wednesday, or he was going to embarrass the White House. Now, did you ask Mr. Dean for any specifics as to how he could embarrass the White House? No. No. When you characterized it as blackmail, what was your basis for so characterizing it? He was, said, some characterization—this—things have gotten into—I've just learned that
how it hunt is demanding $X,000, and he wants it before he's deposited, or before he's sentenced. In fact, he wants it by Wednesday, and if he doesn't get it, he's going to raise hell with the White House. Or he's going to say things that'll raise hell with the White House, or words to that effect. I don't remember the precise words. Well, now, after you realize that this was a pretty serious thing going on, did you take any action? Did you contact any law enforcement agencies to advise them that a crime of some proportion was about to be committed the next day or the day after? No. Well, I was talking to the Council of the Chief Magistrate, I thought for the big thing was to—no, I didn't. Now, if you had talked to the FBI of the U.S. Attorney's Office, they would have been able to provide surveillance and perhaps prevent a serious crime from being completed.
Is that not correct? I don't know what they would have done. They might have said what evidence do you have? I don't know what they would have done. What I had was someone had told me that someone had told him that Howard Hunt had said this, and maybe the FBI would have acted, I don't know. The time frame is pretty fast anyway. We get there the next day, or within 36 hours. That's my point. That's my point. If it was, if it was, Friday, Friday. Well, when you talk to the U.S. Attorney's Office on April 30th that you relate that conversation that you had with Mr. Dean concerning the blackmail? I'm pretty certain I did, and I also, at that time, had a notion it could have been earlier, but I think I said I knew it was before Wednesday for some reason that timing stuck in my mind, and I did tell him about it.
Now, when you met with the President and Mr. Dean on March 30th, that you have a discussion which concerns Mr. Mitchell, here we go again. Did you have a discussion about Mr. Mitchell on that date with Mr. Dean and the President? No, sir. All right. We furnished you, Mr. Moore, with a, let me ask this, did you and the President agree on that date that the investigation should be made public immediately after the sentencing of the defendants? Did the President agree that the report should be, that the investigation that was ongoing
at that time should be made public and that a statement should be released after the sentencing of the defendants? On March 20th? Yes, sir. Now, you referred to an investigation that was ongoing at that time, which investigation you're referring to. Well, I take it, that means whatever facts that the White House had obtained, you mean we're still under investigation or you said an investigation is going on at that time. Now, I'm not sure what that would refer to. Well, I'm not sure either, sir, but I'm, you were at that meeting and I'm asking, was there a discussion about an investigation that was going on and that the results of that investigation should be made public? There was no discussion of any investigation that was going on. There was an expression by the President that he was in favor of getting the story out as soon as we could at the point. And there was no discussion of Mr. Mitchell or the Vesco case to your recollection.
No, sir. Now, we furnished you, Mr. Moore, with a copy of the White House Reconstruction of a variety of meetings between the President and Mr. Dean and I want to direct your attention at this point to the date in that Reconstruction that was furnished as by the White House to March 20th, 1973. But I request an additional copy, I see you in this lady, but I think we gave that to you all last week. I don't know if we have. Well, let me, let me read you the entry and then I would like, I'll be glad to. Well, if I can work through the doc, I, I, I, I, I don't got the document, you check. Yeah. Well, we, you have a couple of firsts, thank you, right now. As I said, Mr. Moore, just so you're understanding his accurate, this is a, a document, information is furnished as by the White House, which is a reconstruction by them of the meeting on March 20th and other meetings, but this meeting on March 20th, and I quote, this is furnished
by the White House. This is first by the White House, yes, Mr. Miller. I want to quote now on March 20th, the entry, Dean discussed, discussed Mitchell's problems with the grand jury, Vesco and the gurney press conference. You see where that starts? So that, the President and Moore agreed that the whole investigation should be made public and that a statement should be released immediately after the sentencing of the defendants. Now Mr. Moore, is that an inaccurate reconstruction by the White House of that meeting? I believe it is because I don't believe those things were said in my presence, but I'm just, I don't know who in the White House prepared this. Do you know what it's, anybody who says Mr. Bushart, I assume a conferring with people who were at that meeting, where you, I would hope that they talked to you about that before they reconstructed it.
I don't know why they would, but they did not. Okay. Mr. Lenz, I've been informed, and I don't know if it's fact or not, that this document was not, in fact, prepared by the White House now, that is hearsay information on my part. Mr., I think Mr. Thompson, we see this information from Mr. Bushart, maybe he can clarify this. Uh, excuse me, excuse me, just a minute, if I could shed a little light on this, we've discussed this a time or two before. I don't know if that was the best that the President indicated during the week of the cessation of the hearings of the Committee during the wild of the Russians, were this in America that somebody leaked this to the press, that is Mr. Bushart's substance, Mr. Bushart statement. It has been stated in the press that it is, is I understand it, that this statement was
subsequently repudiated by the White House. But, man, I addressed myself to that just a minute, who stated, I think a time or two before this, the substance of this information was communicated to me, orally, over the telephone on Mr. Bushart. I don't recall the exact date. A pursuant to the Committee's inquire is to what did, in fact, occur on those dates. This information was submitted to me, orally, I took long-hand notes that same day, dictated from those notes, the summary, which we've been referred to, gave a copy to Mr. Daesh and it was made available to members of the Committee. Now, the preciseness of those conversations and so forth, perhaps there can be disputed to a certain extent, but I believe it has been verified that what is in that document, the substance of what's in that document, is accurate. Obviously, there is room for some slip-up, I imagine, in the nature of the way the thing
was transmitted. And we did not discuss if that town, how it would be used, or whether or not it would be made a part of the record, or whether or not it would be the official White House position. But that is transpired and that resulted in the document, which we referred to. And Mr. Thompson, I could add this, that on receipt of it, I did make contact with Mr. Garment and Mr. Bazar, so that if we were going to use it, we wanted to make sure that they saw your reconstruction on your notes and they did come down in my office and read your notes and stated that although it was not a verbatim statement of the telephone ball, it was generally accurate. They found nothing on these, they said it was not a verbatim statement, a word for word, but that it was an accurate statement. An accurate as disdainees from generally. It was accurate, yes. Well, you might want to take this up, Mr. Moore, when you returned to the White House state.
Well, if I could get the thrust of a few, if you had questions about what the question was, does that entry of March 20th, a coincide with your recollection of what was discussed on that date? You've already indicated that you couldn't recall a discussion about Mitchell Vesco in the grand jury, and you've also indicated that there was no discussion about you and the president agreeing on making this investigation public. How are you saying that this entry is not an accurate reflection of that meeting? Well, it is some of the reason we accurate some, I can't recall, for instance, it does refer to that, to suggest you about challenging the committee to its own investigation, which I stated. I think I stated in various languages, in various words, at various times, that the president indicated his desire to get the whole statement out about the whole thing and that we agreed.
I think probably, I don't know, whether Mr. Dean raised a question about waiting until after the sentencing, but there was no, I recall, no firm decision on that. The Mitchell's problems with the grand jury, a grand jury in Vesco, I don't think it was any discussion on that. I don't know whether Mr. Dean reported something that would go up there or something, I don't recall that at that meeting, and I wanted to, the long show, whether Mr. Dean had another meeting that day with the president, I forgot, perhaps you have that there. And I'm not sure whether we got there at the same time. Well, let me ask you just, Mr. Moore, you did testify that when you left the Oval Office on March 20, you concluded that the president could not be aware of the things that Mr.
Dean was worried about. Now, did that include, for example, the threat by Mr. Hunt, the blackmail, the White House? Yes. That it also include the earlier activities of Mr. Hunt and Mr. Litty that Mr. Dean had also indicated could be embarrassing to the White House. I had no one relisted my mind. I had to accept the how it would matter, but the general feeling that the man in that Oval Office who was telling us so strongly that everything that anybody knew should be disclosed as soon as possible, and that we should get the story out that he had said it before, that this was utterly incompatible with his having knowledge, prior knowledge of any of these things, and that's what I say. When I left, I said, John, I pointed it into that room, I said, does it know the kind of things that you're talking about and worrying about?
Have you told them so far? Have you heard the story? Yes, sir. And it was a sense that this man, with this frame of mind, and this desire to tell the whole story or whatever it was, didn't know the whole story, didn't know anything I was going to have. So that was my conviction. And I take it, including the things that Dean was telling you about hunting lady's activities that you, I think, once said to us, could blow the whole field of suspicion and knowledge and problems that seem not being lying there. Mr. Ward, you agree now that your understanding of the president's information and knowledge was basically incorrect, but he did, in fact, have information at that meeting, by that meeting on March 20th, concerning Mr. Straun and also possible involvement in Watergate and also concerning the Ellsburg break-in involving hunt lady. I have no reason to, you've heard my statement, I had, of course, that he did not, that was my judgment and he did not. I know I'm nothing to change that. All right, sir. Now, could you, again, refer back to the White House reconstruction of the meetings with
Mr. Dean, if you'll look at the item on March 13th, I know. It says, Dean said there was nothing specific on Coulson, that he didn't know about Mitchell, but that Straun could be involved. And then on March 17th, at the bottom of the paragraph, it said, and this is an admission by the White House of the discussions that took place on that day, Dean told the president of the Ellsburg break-in, but that it had nothing to do with the Watergate. That you were in prison at those meetings. But does that information, as admitted by the White House, now indicate that, in fact, your perception was wrong and that Mr. Nixon, the president, did know about both Straun's possible involvement in the Ellsburg break-in? It seems to me that the answer to that question can only be given to you by someone who was at the meeting, and when you speak of the White House report, and we use the word White House, which is a building, rather loosely, anything done in the White House is done by
a person. And when you speak of this as a White House report, Mr. Thompson, very candidly and properly has said, this is his summary of a telephone conversation. So I want to get those now. All I know is what I saw it heard. And I do not know what the nature of these conversations were, or what the frame of reference was about their adjectives and their words in here about involvement. I have no knowledge of what was said. I wasn't there. This is Mr. Bazar, obviously, wasn't there if he made the phone call. I don't know what the source of the statements or the recollections are. So I would say that this, again, could well be Irvin's Law to the Third Power, or with the telephone.
So I can't speak about anything in this, which has been variously described as a White House document. And then it turns out, I remember asking about whether it was in the New York Times. It was. And it was a report of a telephone conversation that I cannot account for that. It doesn't change my opinion one bit. And I think that if you want to get at that, you should ask someone who was at the meeting. But we have had Mr. Dean up here, all right, Mr. Moore. We have his version. Would you recommend that we also get anybody else that was at that meeting up here as a witness? Well, there are certain constitutional considerations here that even as important as these hearings are, the Constitution may be more important. But no, let me just reread this. The President, what I get out of it mostly is, a statement under these circumstances, a fourth hand, I guess, or whatever, that the stront could be involved.
I don't take as knowledge that came, might have come through to the President in those terms, if indeed it was said so. Well, I can't comment. We've had so much of this conversation problem, and we've seen it illustrated quite a bit today back and forth. I can't comment on those. Well, of course, you were not at those meetings, and this is the White House version of those meetings. So you can't testify as to whether the President did or did not know about that information, how detailed it was, what he did after those meetings to obtain additional information. Isn't that correct? That's correct. You know, by the way, whether after he learned of the Ellsberg-Break-in, whether he called in Mr. Ellicman, Mr. Crowe, Mr. Young, and interrogated them as to their possible involvement in the Ellsberg-Break-in, no, I do not. You also testified that on about April 13th or April 14th, you learned then of Mr. Ellicman's relationship to Mr. Ellsberg.
Now, again, I don't want to quarrel with your recollection, Mr. Moore, but isn't it true that you, in fact, learned of that information sometime in early March? What's the transcript reference on that testimony? I think it's, I'll get that for you in a second. The last question on the morning of the afternoon of July 13th, I'm sorry. It's on page 3-8-4-5. It's on page 3-8-4-5. Now, what was your question?
Well, the question is, did you, in fact, learn in early March about the Ellsberg-Break-in from Mr. Dean? Well, when you say, learn about the Ellsberg-Break-in, that had been in the newspapers, look, I meant. So when you say, learn about it, how do you mean? Well, it wasn't in the newspapers in March of this year, it was in the newspapers after, it was disclosed out of trial. No, I mean, in fact, when you said breaking of the Ellsberg psychiatrist's office, wasn't that? Didn't that, wasn't that news? I don't think so, Mr. Moore. I think that was first disclosed on April 25th when Judge Burns- I mean to the public, but- Did the doctor not disclose it? I don't remember that, but I remember that not before, I thought I did. All right, so well, let me ask. In any event, let me ask you this, did you- You did go see the President on April 19th? And you had a discussion about what Dean had told you concerning Mr. Erlock and Mr. Ellsberg.
And- Go ahead, yes. Is that correct? But at that time, the President tell you that Mr. Dean had advised him of that incident on March 17th. No, he did not. And similarly, the answer to, I think, Senator Gurney's question, you- You've also testified that Mr. Dean didn't tell you what he had told the President. Is that correct? He testified that he let it all out and told everything. But he didn't tell you the specifics of the- Whether he talked about a million dollars at the Ellsberg break-in or anything else. That's right. Now, are you also aware that the day before you're meeting with the President on April 19th, that is, on the day I'm talking about now, is April 18th, the President ordered Mr. Peterson of the Department of Justice to confine his investigation to the Watergate case and not get into national security matters, including the Ellsberg case?
I'm not aware of that. Well, you have read, Mr. President's statement of May 22nd, have you not, sir? Well, let me read- I thought you met him at my own knowledge, but I'll be glad to. Well, let me measure the curtain as part. It says, therefore, I instructed Mr. Holderman- Excuse me, let me- The curtain part is down here. For example, on April 18th, 1973, when I learned that Mr. Hunt, a former member of the Special Investigations Unit at the White House, was to be questioned by the U.S. Attorney, I directed Assistant Attorney General Peterson to pursue every issue involving Watergate, but to confine his investigation to Watergate and relate it matters and to stay out of national security matters. I'd like to find the reference document. As you recall, a 4,000-word statement has to lengthen it,
and I'm just looking for the reference. Is it an early part? Well, it's under the- Does it have a caption? The caption is a forbidden area. That is a newspaper reproduction? Well, I guess it is, I don't know. The caption for a forbidden area doesn't appear in the official text. I guess that's it. Well, let me- No, but I'll find it. I just don't like to take a paragraph without the answer. The context was. Is it in the- Let me test this up to you. I'll find it. Well, maybe it would-
Yes. I now have it, Mr. Lester. Now, that special investigation unit was with reference to the plumber's activities. Is it not correct? It refers to national security matters. And it refers to the special investigation unit, does it not? I directed assistant attorney General Peterson to pursue every issue involving Watergate, but to confine its investigation to Watergate in related matters and to stay out of national security matters. I don't-
If there's a reference to the plumber's, maybe you could point it out, and I will- Well, the Senate's above it. We refer to the last pun. The Senate's above that, where it refers to Mr. Hunt, is a former member of the special investigations unit. That was the plumber's unit, was it not? I don't think so. Special investigation, we had- I'll go along, I guess- I guess I'll go ahead. Well, the question is, really, Mr. Moore, wasn't that an indication that there was an intent to keep the lid on the Ellsburg break-in story? I can't testify to that. You won't find that here. No, I'm not going to try to read the President's mind. I think that he's expressed in throughout this, his interest in protecting the national security, and when you excuse words like, keep the lid on, and that kind of thing,
that's your characterization of the President's statement, and you're free to make it, but I don't join in any interpretation. Well, can you explain, then, Mr. Moore, why the President who received information on March 13th concerning Mr. Strong, on March 17th concerning the Ellsburg break-in, and on March 21st for Mr. Dean on other matters, failed to communicate any of this information to the Department of Justice, the FBI, or any law enforcement agency? Can you explain why that information was not transmitted to investigative unit outside the White House? Well, now, Mr. Williams, you've got three things, I think, in there. And maybe the reporter could read them back, and I can take them one by one, because I can't give you a collective answer. Could you, sir? Can you really communicate any of this information to the Department of Justice?
No, I'm talking about the three. No, if you could read the question from the beginning, because it has three, I think, three items in it, and I think each one may require... Well, let me try to get the answer, if you don't mind. The question. Can you explain them, Mr. Moore, why the President received information on March 13th concerning it was just drawn? Wait a minute. Now, I don't know what information... No, I wanted to ask the President. Oh, quite right, sir. I thought you could do it one hand. All right. Mr. Moore, would you go ahead and reject the comment on this? I don't know what information he received from Mr. Spine. Well, about Mr. Spine. Looking at, again, at the White House Law Reconstruction, and you know that he received information from Mr. Dean on March 21st,
can you explain to this committee why that information was not transmitted to a law enforcement agency before Mr. Dean and April himself transmitted the same information to the US Attorney's Office? Well, that's really why I wanted the question read back, because I don't know of anything in your question that indicated the President received any knowledge of any illegal activity. Well, you've already read the White House reconstructive version of the meetings between Mr. Dean and the President, which indicates information allegedly involving criminal acts. Now, what I'm asking is, if the President had that information, and he admitted on May 22nd in his statement that he did receive such information, why then did he not transmit that information to a law enforcement agency so it could be investigated?
Well, Mr. Lansner, we're talking about what you know you keep calling this White House report, and so forth. We're talking about a recapitulation of what someone told Mr. Buzard, who told Mr. Dash what was said at the meeting, and what it says is, about Mr. Stein, was that he might be involved, involved in what, in what way? I just don't know, and I don't think anybody, any of us know. And certainly there's nothing here that I can find. I wish to predicate a question to the television audience that the President knew of criminal activity that it didn't report. I don't find it here. Well, assuming that this is an accurately construction, and it refers to the Ellsburg break-in on March 17th, and it refers... Where is the reference to the break-in? By where is that reference? On page three of the White House version of the meeting. This is my last question, Mr. Moore, if we can finish it.
All right. And the President did indicate that he was aware, when he talked to you later, about the blackmail threat. And the White House version, again, indicates that on March 21st, the President received information that Magruder probably knew, Mitchell possibly knew, that Straun probably knew, and that Holderman had possibly seen the fruits of the wiretaps through Straun, that Erlockman was vulnerable because of his approval of Combax fundraising efforts. Can you explain now why that information, as admitted by the White House, was not transmitted to a law enforcement agency for further investigation until April, until April, after Mr. Dean had already talked to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Can you explain that at all?
I have no explanation of my own knowledge. Now, how can this committee find out the answer to that question, Mr. Moore? Well, I think the first thing is sure as you can find out what the facts were, the President, as I think I said yesterday, I didn't think the President would as a lawyer or could as a chief executive, immediately take public action, for example, on the basis of whatever it was that one man told it in that meeting. And that he had to test and find out the truth and facts of self, in my opinion. I was not there, I did not talk to him as you know, between March 21 and sometime in April. He did make these moves, you do have the April 17 state aware of suddenly the entire approach, change, executive privilege, cooperation, we were all free to come up here. No one would be covered up, no one would be granted an immunity, no matter how high.
I don't think that after a year, a rumor and hints and so forth, that the President could act on a presumably factual basis because one person had told all these things. It started him, it triggered him, it caused him to renew and intensify, and today, as you know, total changes have been made already in the structure of the White House and the top personnel. And I think that he moved pretty judiciously and he moved pretty effectively. And I think as Chief Magistrate, we really was working with Mr. Klein, the Attorney General and Mr. Peterson, the criminal head, so forth. I think the results speak for themselves, and I think there's where it stands. You have no explanation then, though, when Mr. Peterson and Mr. Klein went to talk with the President in April, why he had not prior to that time furnished them with the information he had concerning these allegations. Well, I don't know whether he did or not, and I don't know what information he had, and I don't know at what point he was ready to accept this to the point of giving it, putting it in hands of the criminal division.
And I must say, and one thing you must remember that when things start to move into the departments, they often end up in the newspapers, and I think this was too important. My opinion, I shouldn't be surmising, should I, Mr. Attorney, but he wanted to have a pretty good idea himself of what was going on before he went outside the walls of the White House, although I don't know, maybe he wants to argue them, so. The point is, I'll give you the narrative and the sequence, and the results, and things are moving forward, they're moving forward on all levels actively. The special prosecutor, we have these hearings, we have a complete release of Attorney Client Privilege, Executive Privilege, we have the open book of being offered by the President of the United States. And I think that he reached that decision, and that conclusion, in a judicious, sensible way, the lawyer-like way, and the way of a responsible chief executive.
I have no more questions. Thank you, Mr. Chair. On to the assessor, the chairman, the highest chairman, meeting with certain parties at this time, the committee will stand in recess till 2 o'clock. So Richard Moore has ended his testimony the way he began it by maintaining, he believed, the President knew nothing of the Watergate cover-up.
In a moment, we'll hear the most startling testimony of the day, possibly the most startling testimony of the hearings, from former White House aide Alexander Butterfield. Public television's coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings will resume after this pause for station identification. On a bridge coverage of these hearings is provided as a public service by the member stations of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service. Public television's coverage is provided as a public service by the member stations of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service, and the Public Broadcasting Service.
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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . day I departed much 14th of this year. I was additionally the liaison between the President and the Office of the President and all of the various support units. By that I mean the Office of the Military Assistant to the President, the Office of White House visitors, again the Secret Service, the Executive Protective Service, the resident staff, Mrs. Nixon's staff, I served as sort of the conduit between all of
those elements and the Office of the President. Finally, I was in charge of the smooth running of the President's official day, both in Washington, D.C. and at the Western White House in San Clemente. I had nothing to do with the smooth running of his day in Florida or at Camp David, but I was responsible for the smooth implementation of the official events on his calendar in Washington and at the Western White House. That pretty well sums it up sir. So you were employed on January 21st 1969 and continue to be employed until March 14 of this year. Is that correct? That's correct. Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President? I was aware of listening devices. Yes sir. When were those devices placed in the Oval Office?
Approximately the summer of 1970, I cannot begin to recall the precise date my guess Mr. Thompson is that the installation was made between, and this is a very rough guess, April or May of 1970 and perhaps the end of the summer or early fall 1970. Are you aware of any devices that were installing the executive office building office of the President? Yes sir, at that time. Were they installed at the same time? They were installed at the same time. Could you tell us a little bit about how those devices worked, how they were activated for example. I don't have the technical knowledge, but I will tell you what I know about how those devices were triggered. They were installed
of course for historical purposes to record the President's business and they were installed in his two offices, the Oval Office and the EOB Office. Within the West Wing of the White House there are several at least three, perhaps four, but three that I know of. Boxes called presidential locator boxes. These are square boxes approximately 10 by 10 inches and on them are several locations, about seven locations, which would tell where the President might be at any time. Locations such as the residents, that's one of them. South grounds is another. Oval Office is another. EOB Office is a still another. West Wing, meaning West Wing of the White House, is another and out I think is the last one. When
the President moves, East Wing is still another and I think that covers all of the locations indicated on the box. When the President moves from his Oval Office, for instance, to his executive office building office and he departs the West Wing and crosses the street, it is my understanding that the Secret Service agents, members of the Presidential Protective Division, who cover him and there are four to five to six of them who would move with him across the street. One of them calls a central location, which may be the police switchboard under the East Wing or it may be a Secret Service command post. I don't really know if it's a Secret Service command post, it's in the executive office building and says that the President is leaving the West Wing going to the EOB office. They would they would know this and the little light moves from Oval Office to EOB office. It doesn't actually move to EOB office until the
President enters the EOB office. And as that light moves, there is a tiny audio signal so that if one is preoccupied, such as I might be, I realize that the locator box is indicating a change in the President's location and that kind of information was important to me. My office was located immediately adjacent to the President's Oval Office on the West side. My duties involved going in and out frequently and working directly with the President. Mr. Steve Bull, who at that time worked on the other side of the President, on the East side of the Oval Office, had one of these locator boxes and Mr. Hallamann had a third. I believe there was a fourth in Mr. Chapin's office. In fact, I'm sure there was a fourth in Mr. Chapin's office. We were probably the four who would be most concerned, or at least most immediately concerned, where the President's whereabouts are the fact that he was changing locations. In that the Oval
Office and the executive office building office were indicated on this locator box. The installation was installed in such a way that when the light was on Oval Office, the taping device was at least triggered. It was not operating, but it was triggered. It was spring loaded, if you will. And then it was voice actuated. So when the light was on Oval Office, in the Oval Office and then the Oval Office only, the taping device was spring loaded to a voice actuating situation. When the President went to the EOB office and the light was on EOB office, there was the same arrangement. For those two offices, the arrangement was the same, and the taping picked up all conversation or all noise in those two offices when the light was at those positions. We'll
discuss the Oval Office and the EOB office. What about the cabinet room? Was the taping device in the cabinet room? Yes, there was. Was it activated in the same way? No, sir, it wasn't, and my guess is, and it's only my guess, is that because there was no cabinet room location per se on the locator box, there was only a West Wing indication. When the light was on West Wing, that meant the President was in one of two places, the cabinet room or the barber shop. When he went into the cabinet room, the light went to West Wing, but he could have been someplace else in the West Wing and so to ensure the recording of business conversations in the cabinet room, a manual installation was made. I don't want to hurt you, Mr. Butterfield, but I understand there's a vote in about 12 minutes, so
if we could go through it rather rapidly, the first time we might come back up and come back and pick up some of the loose ends. I understand the recording device in the cabinet room was manually operated then. Is that correct? That's correct. There are buttons on the desk in the cabinet room there that activated that device. There were two buttons. There was also an activating device on your telephone. Yes, sir. There was an off-on button or one that said halled them in one that said Butterfield that was on and off, respectively, and one on my telephone. How was the device usually activated by the buttons or by your telephone activator? To my knowledge, the president did never pay any attention to the buttons at the cabinet table. It was activated by the button on my telephone by me. As far as the Oval Office and the U.L.B. Office is concerned, would it be your opinion?
- 1973 Watergate Hearings
- Part 2 of 4
- Producing Organization
- Contributing Organization
- Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer anchor gavel-to-gavel coverage of day 21 of the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In today's hearing, Richard Moore, Alexander P. Butterfield and Herbert W. Kalmbach testify.
- Broadcast Date
- Asset type
- Event Coverage
- Politics and Government
- Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
- Media type
- Moving Image
Anchor: MacNeil, Robert
Anchor: Lehrer, James
Producing Organization: WETA-TV
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1957609-1-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-16; Part 2 of 4,” 1973-07-16, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-jm23b5x51c.
- MLA: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-16; Part 2 of 4.” 1973-07-16. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 9, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-jm23b5x51c>.
- APA: 1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-16; Part 2 of 4. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-jm23b5x51c