Secret White House Tapes

876–11

About this recording

876–11
  • President Richard M. Nixon
  • Stephen B. Bull
  • Manolo Sanchez
March 12, 1973
Conversation No. 876-11

Date: March 12, 1973
Time: 3:08 pm - 4:34 pm
Location: Oval Office

The President met with Col. Robinson Risner. Stephen B. Bull and the White House
photographer were present at the beginning of the meeting.

Introduction

Photographs
-Arrangements

Manolo Sanchez entered at an unknown time after 3:08 pm.

Refreshments

Sanchez
-Introduction to Risner

Sanchez left at an unknown time before 4:34 pm.

Sanchez's background
-Refugee
-43-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Cuba
-Spain

Prisoners of war [POWs]
-President's appreciation
-Character
-Leadership
-Risner
-Length of captivity
-Missions
-Number
-Than Hoa
-Ham Rong bridge
-Encounter with MiG aircraft
-Downing of airplane
-Type of weapon
-Missile site
-Ground defense
-Ejection from plane
-Parachute
-Escape from plane
-Wingman
-Escape

Risner’s captivity
-Imprisonment
-Isolation
-Impact
-Roommates
-Isolation
-Length
-Contact
-Exercise
-Bathing
-Food
-Cell
-Windows
-Beds
-Ceiling
-44-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Brainwashing
-Communism
-Capitalism
-Contradictions
-Methods
-Writings
-Camp radio
-Speakers
-Tape recorders
-Programs
-Length
-Volume
-American music
-Ills of American society
-Studies of North, South Vietnam
-“Voice of Vietnam”
-Contacts with other POWs
-Communications
-Knowledge of other prisoners
-Whistles
-Morse code
-Tapping on walls
-Codes
-Capt. Carlyle (\"Smitty\") Harris
-Tap code
-Sweeping
-Laundry
-Exercise
-Body signs
-Mute code
-Semafor

POWs
-South Vietnamese prisoners


******************************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 1
[National Security]
-45-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


[Duration: 1m 26s]

FOREIGN RELATIONS

END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 1
******************************************************************************


-Communication
-Walls
-Cups
-Morale
-Reassignment
-Risner
-Son Tay prison
-Col. [First name unknown] Huber [?]
-Approval of rescue
-Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS]
-National Security Council [NSC]
-Melvin R. Laird
-President’s decision
-Henry A. Kissinger [?]


*****************************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 7
[National Security]
[Duration: 5s]

INTELLIGENCE

END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 7
*****************************************************************************


-Hanoi Hilton [Wah Lo?]
-Consolidation of prisoners

Risner's captivity
-46-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Isolation
-Length
-Roommate
-Publicity for North Vietnam
-Meetings with visitors
-Refusal
-Personal photographs from Risner’s wife
-Letters received
-Publicity for North Vietnam
-Risner’s cooperation
-Meeting with East German film crew
-Dissatisfaction with Risner
-Punishment
-Interrogation room
-Major [first name unknown] Bai
-Loss of face
-Destruction of personal photographs
-Physical abuse
-Anger
-Destruction of personal photographs
-Repetition
-Injuries
-Destruction of letters, personal photographs
-Latrine
-Physical abuse
-Memory failure [?]
-Capitulation
-Apology, newspaper writing, tapes
-Period of isolation
-Contacts
-Reading
-Writing
-Denial
-Reading materials
-Propaganda
-Atrocity stories
-Recitation
-Brainwashing
-Realization of failure
-47-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-North Vietnamese expectations
-Consolidation of prisoners
-Roommate
-Risner’s isolation
-Time magazine photograph
-Notoriety compared to Lyndon B. Johnson, Dean Rusk
-Use of Risner
-Delegations
-Statements
-Propaganda
-Fellow POWs
-Torture
-Period of isolation
-Morale
-Religious faith
-Hope in government
-American people
-Family
-Mental, physical health
-Kidney stones
-East German film crew
-Medical care
-Windowless room
-Vents
-Effect on vision
-Consolidation of prisoners
-December 26, 1969
-1969 election
-Number of prisoners
-Beds
-Matting
-Clothes
-Washing
-Shaving
-Frequency
-Razor blades
-Cold water
-Soap
-Toilet papers, toothpaste, toothbrush
-48-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Dispossession
-Punishment
-Meals
-Timing
-Soup
-Contents
-Bread
-Variety
-Vegetables
-Meat
-Pork fat
-Fish
-Lean quality
-Fish meal
-Alcoholic beverages
-Holidays
-Tet, independence day, Christmas
-Beer, liquor
-Risner’s home in Oklahoma
-Mental activities
-Math problems
-Physical exercise
-Frequency
-Kinds


****************************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 8
[Privacy]
[Duration: 2m 15s ]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 8
****************************************************************************


Personal plans
-Age
-Experience compared to President
-49-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Fitness

Risner's captivity


******************************************************************************
[Begin segment reviewed under deed of gift]


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 9
[Personal returnable]
[Duration 7s]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[End segment reviewed under deed of gift]
******************************************************************************


-Teeth
-Condition
-Compared to Holocaust survivors
-Dr. William O. Chase


******************************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 10
[Privacy]
[Duration: 13s ]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 10
******************************************************************************
-50-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)



-Diet
-Rice compared to bread
-Effect on teeth
-Watch
-Passage of time
-Gongs
-Bells of Hanoi

Personal plans
-Military service
-Fighter pilot
-Compared to Maj. Gen. James D. (“Don”) Hughes


*****************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 2
[Privacy]
[Duration: 23s ]


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 2
*****************************************************************


-Corrective eyewear
-Flying

Oval Office
-Risner’s first visit
-Theodore Roosevelt
-Seal
-Flags
-President’s possession
-Library

Risner's family
-Wife
-Preparation for homecoming
-51-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Detail
-Pride
-Help

Risner's captivity
-Women
-Kitchen help
-Medical care
-Doctors
-Competence
-Medics
-Quality

Risner's family
-Wife
-Faith
-Children
-Boys
-Number
-Ages

US culture
-Gratitude for POWs’ contributions
-Changes in nation
-1960s
-Revolutionary decade
-Decline of patriotism
-1968 election
-Eugene J. McCarthy candidacy
-Radicals
-Mainstream viewpoint
-Campuses
-Media
-Television [TV], radio, newspapers
-Splits in religious groups
-President’s, Risner’s religious affiliation
-Catholics
-Anti-Communist
-Protestants
-52-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-William F. (“Billy”) Graham
-Fundamentalist
-Demographics
-Support for war [?]
-Quakers
-Pacifism
-Conscientious objectors [?]
-Presbyterian
-Loss of faith in nation
-University teachers, students
-Elite
-Business leaders [?]
-Vietnam
-Isolationism
-Federal budget
-Ghettos
-Armed forces
-Prevalence
-Impact on POWs
-Loss of values
-General public’s view
-End of Vietnam War
-Duration
-Reasons
-South Vietnam’s integrity
-Credibility of US
-Domestic impact
-Method
-Nuclear option
-Sense of national spirit
-Impact of returning POWs
-Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr.
-Public statement
-Press manipulation
-Brainwashing comment
-Asset to nation
-Exploitation of POW's
-Criticism by press
-New role on return
-53-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Suffering
-Significance
-Impact on American spirit
-Revitalization
-Survival
-Significance for nation
-Continued military service
-Return to civilian life
-Reception from public
-Discouragement
-Criticism
-GI program
-Vietnam War
-Encouragement
-POWs’ leadership
-Role in nation's future
-Attempts to isolate nation from world's problems
-Cutbacks
-Europe, Asia
-Opportunity for Communists
-Risner's reaction to US
-Youth
-Searching
-Unrest
-Optimism
-Talks to students
-Reassessment of values
-Religious faith, patriotism
-Reassertion
-Letter from Oklahoma high school counselor
-Copy for President
-Students’ reception
-Ovation
-Talks with school children, college students
-Nazarean College
-Oklahoma
-Fundamentalist
-Reception
-High school
-54-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Size
-Effects of college

POWs
-Reception at White House
-H. R. (“Bob”) Haldeman
-Denton
-Date
-Announcement
-Plans
-Attendees
-Children
-POW’s wife, mother, fiancée
-Briefing on foreign policy, national security
-Kissinger
-President, Thelma C. (“Pat”) Nixon
-Evening dinner party
-Entertainment
-Numbers
-Leslie T. (“Bob”) Hope
-Vietnam Christmas show
-Les Brown Band
-Hollywood celebrities
-TV broadcast
-Briefing
-State Department
-Wives
-Attendance
-Value
-POWs charged with collaboration
-President’s news summary
-Sensitivity
-Risner’s viewpoint
-Defense Department’s recommendations
-Numbers
-Acts
-Code-of-conduct violations
-Antiwar statements
-Torture
-55-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Charges
-Col. John Flynn
-Senior officer
-Repatriation to US
-Rank compared to Risner
-Confidentiality
-Risner’s briefing of POWs
-Debriefing of misconduct
-Timing
-POW returnees
-Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
-POWs’ preference
-Leaks
-Defiance of orders
-Taped statements
-Writings [?]
-Meetings with delegations
-Correspondence with “peaceniks”
-Three who accepted early release
-Aid to North Vietnam
-Problems
-Vietnam
-Communism
-Cruelty
-Destruction
-POW treatment
-Reasons
-Reparations
-National interests
-Cease-fire
-Laos
-Reaction of POWs
-Clark Air Force Base press conference
-Risner’s comments
-Previous discussion
-Risner's discussions with high-level official
-POW statements
-Kissinger's visit to Hanoi
-President’s visit to North Vietnam
-56-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Risner's discussion with Maj. [first name unknown] Bai
-Threats
-Denton, James B. Stockdale
-Attitude towards Vietnam
-Support for President
-Purpose
-Level of negotiation
-Cease-fire violations
-Aid restrictions
-Ho Chi Minh Trail
-US reaction
-Influence over North Vietnam
-People’s Republic of China [PRC]
-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]
-Sino-Soviet rift
-US diplomacy
-High councils
-Threats compared to aid
-Pragmatism

Vietnam
-President’s meeting with Moorer
-Peace marches
-October 1969
-Cambodia invasion
-Cambodia invasion
-Purpose
-Risner’s knowledge
-May 8, 1972 decision on bombing Hanoi and mining Haiphong Harbor
-Impact on summit with USSR
-US standing
-Meeting with Leonid I. Brezhnev
-Soviet tanks in Hue
-Position of strength
-December 18, 1972 decision on bombing
-1972 election
-Cease-fire
-Breakdown of negotiations
-Conditions
-57-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Release of civilian prisoners
-South Vietnam
-Impact on POWs
-Use of airpower
-B-52s
-Moorer’s reluctance
-President’s decision
-Losses
-Criticism
-Chicago Tribune
-Message to North Vietnam
-Resumption of talks
-December 26, 1972 bombing
-State Department’s viewpoint
-President's conversation with Moorer
-Kissinger
-B-52s
-Number
-Impact on negotiations
-Bombing
-POWs' knowledge
-Proximity of bombers
-Reaction
-Damage to structures
-Support of POWs
-Dr. Roger E. Shields
-Responsibility of President
-President as “mad bomber”
-Necessity of bombing
-Critics
-Lyndon B. Johnson's decision
-Bombing and mining
-Military training
-Peace negotiations
-Accuracy of B-52s
-Civilian casualties
-Risner’s knowledge
-POW support
-Night vigil
-58-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)
Conversation No. 876-11 (cont’d)


-Surface to air missiles [SAMs]
-Damage to Hanoi
-Reaction of captors to B-52s
-Psychological effect
-Talk with Risner
-Accusations
-Change in attitude of guards
-Fear

POWs
-B-52 crews in captivity [?]
-Attitudes
-Generational differences
-Torture
-Risner’s strength

Presidential gifts
-Golf balls

Risner’s support for President
-Conversations with POWs
-Reconstruction aid
-Stories of treatment
-Delay
-POW repatriation
-Torture
-Public knowledge
-Support for aid
-POW leaders

POWs
-Reunions
-Harry S. Truman’s artillery unit from World War I [WWI]
-Bond

President's thanks

Risner’s hat
-59-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. Aug-2010)


Risner left at 4:34 pm.
Secret White House Tapes |

876–11

This recording is currently not available on millercenter.org. To listen to it, please email Mike Greco at mdg4u@virginia.edu

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