Letters to the White House about the Abominable Snowman
You never know what you will come across in our archives. The Nixon Library’s interns were surprised, and a little giddy, to uncover this exchange about the Abominable Snowman.
Memoirs v. Tapes: President Nixon and the December Bombings
On February 3, 1973, President Richard Nixon took a moment from managing the start of his second term to review a controversial decision he had made in the final months of his first term. In a confidential conversation with his long-time personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, the President recalled the secret back-story to his decision to initiate a massive bombing campaign against North Vietnam in December 1972. President Nixon lamented to Woods that the press blamed him for what was called “the Christmas bombing,” when, in fact, it was Henry Kissinger who had been the greater advocate for bombing North Vietnam. The President assured Woods that he had forced a reluctant Kissinger to continue the Paris negotiations when his national security advisor wanted to break off the talks and resume heavy bombing.
When Kissinger wrote his 1979 memoir of the first term, White House Years, he presented a different reconstruction of the decision-making before the December bombings. The President, he wrote, “had no trouble with my view that in case of a breakup we would have to step up military pressure. Indeed, he was eager to order an attack by B-52s on the Hanoi-Haiphong complex even before my talks resumed on December 6.”
Can newly released Nixon White House tapes, when combined with declassified documents, help resolve the contradiction between these two versions? Was President Nixon accurately recollecting the events of December 1972 when he unburdened himself to Rose Mary Woods? Or is Henry Kissinger’s detailed memoirs a more accurate recreation of the decision to launch the December bombing campaign? The Nixon Presidential Library has just opened a new web exhibit in which you can listen to President Nixon and his closest advisors discuss the Vietnam War, the progress and delays of the Paris Peace talks, and their discussions on the bombing of North Vietnam. Then you can make up your own mind about this turning point in America’s Vietnam commitment.
Can newly released Nixon White House tapes, when combined with declassified documents, help resolve the contradiction between these two versions? Was President Nixon accurately recollecting the events of December 1972 when he unburdened himself to Rose Mary Woods? Or is Henry Kissinger’s detailed memoirs a more accurate recreation of the decision to launch the December bombing campaign?
The Nixon Presidential Library has just opened a new web exhibit in which you can listen to President Nixon and his closest advisors discuss the Vietnam War, the progress and delays of the Paris Peace talks, and their discussions on the bombing of North Vietnam. Then you can make up your own mind about this turning point in America’s Vietnam commitment.
Splashdown, Apollo 11.
After their historic journey to the moon, astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins splashed down in the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia at 11:49 a.m. CDT on July 24, 1969. The location was about 812 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii.
Here are some pictures of the day’s events. Top: President Richard Nixon greeting Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin on-board the recovery ship U.S.S. Hornet; Left: Apollo 11 crew awaiting pickup by a helicopter from the U.S.S. Hornet; Right: Mission Control in Houston celebrating after Apollo 11 splashdown; Bottom: Armstrong strums a ukulele while Aldrin and Collins are at a side window in the Mobile Quarantine Facility.
images via NASA Image Gallery
"Neil and Buzz, I am talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House. And this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made."
-President Richard Nixon speaking with astronauts on the moon. July 20, 1969
White House Super 8 movies and sound recordings are mixed together in this short video that captures the earth-to-moon phone call between Nixon, Aldrin, and Armstrong.
-created by the Nixon Library archival team
Moonshot Mondays: Apollo 11 First Manned Mission to the Surface of the Moon
This past Saturday marked the anniversary that Apollo 11 launched into space on it’s historic flight to the moon. On July 16, 1969, at the invitation of President Richard Nixon, Former President Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson watched the launch of Apollo 11 at Cape Kennedy, Florida. Four days later, Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed the lunar module on the moon while Astronaut Michael Collins piloted the command module in its orbit around the moon.
This photograph above shows the liftoff of Apollo 11 at 9:32 a.m., EDT, on July 16, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center launch pad with Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin A. “Buzz” Aldrin, on its flight to the moon.
Below, Lady Bird Johnson, Former President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Vice President Spiro Agnew view the launch of Apollo 11. The sunglasses in the crowd are pretty nifty, too.
We’ll be tracing events from the Apollo 11 flight this week, so stay tuned for more of the moon mission of 1969.
-from the Presidential Timeline
"HAVE FUN IN RED CHINA. HOPE THEY KEEP YOU"
-Telegram to The White House in response to President Nixon’s announcement that he would visit China. Maryann Grelinger, July 16, 1971
On July 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon announced to the nation that the People’s Republic of China had invited him to visit China, and he had accepted. He also stated that Henry Kissinger, Assistant for National Security Affairs, had made a secret trip to Peking in order to plan for the visit. His announcement resulted in strong public reactions for and against the President’s planned trip.
The messages pictured here express both the anger and admiration towards President Nixon’s decision. Next to the telegram quoted above is a letter from actor Kirk Douglas commending the impending trip as a “giant step forward, not only toward peace in Vietnam but, global peace.”
-from the Nixon Presidential Library
Betty Ford serves as a witness as Gerald Ford takes the oath of office as 40th Vice President of the United States. The ceremony was administered by Chief Justice Warren Burger, and also witnessed by President Richard Nixon, and a joint session of Congress. December 6, 1973 in the House Chamber, U.S. Capitol.
“That amendment, as you know, provides for the right to vote of all of our young people between 18 and 21, 11 million new voters as a result of this amendment…”
-President Nixon speaking at the Twenty-sixty Amendment Certification Ceremony. July 5th, 1971
The Twenty-sixty Amendment to the Constitution lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age. President Nixon certified this addition to the Constitution 40 years ago today, and you can watch a clip of the ceremony here.
Our education specialist at the Nixon Presidential Library has created an interactive exhibit on the Twenty-sixth Amendment where you can explore documents, video, and correspondences related to the voting age in America. We think it’s pretty interesting, and you can check it out through the Presidential Timeline.