Nixon’s Treachery

There is more documentation to show that Richard Nixon sabotaged Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative.

A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench the initiative. …

…Nixon had entered the fall campaign with a lead over Humphrey, but the gap was closing that October. Henry A. Kissinger, then an outside Republican adviser, had called, alerting Nixon that a deal was in the works: If Johnson would halt all bombing of North Vietnam, the Soviets pledged to have Hanoi engage in constructive talks to end a war that had already claimed 30,000 American lives.

But Nixon needed the war to continue so that he could run against it.

Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

Nixon had a pipeline to Saigon, where the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, feared that Johnson would sell him out. If Thieu would stall the talks, Nixon could portray Johnson’s actions as a cheap political trick. The conduit was Anna Chennault, a Republican doyenne and Nixon fund-raiser, and a member of the pro-nationalist China lobby, with connections across Asia.

“! Keep Anna Chennault working on” South Vietnam, Haldeman scrawled, recording Nixon’s orders. “Any other way to monkey wrench it? Anything RN can do.”

Nixon told Haldeman to have Rose Mary Woods, the candidate’s personal secretary, contact another nationalist Chinese figure — the businessman Louis Kung — and have him press Thieu as well. “Tell him hold firm,” Nixon said.

Nixon also sought help from Chiang Kai-shek, the president of Taiwan. And he ordered Haldeman to have his vice-presidential candidate, Spiro T. Agnew, threaten the C.I.A. director, Richard Helms. Helms’s hopes of keeping his job under Nixon depended on his pliancy, Agnew was to say. “Tell him we want the truth — or he hasn’t got the job,” Nixon said.

Lyndon Johnson knew at least some of this was going on but decided to not go public with the knowledge, because he lacked absolute proof of Nixon’s direct involvement.

In a conversation with the Republican senator Everett Dirksen, the minority leader, Johnson lashed out at Nixon. “I’m reading their hand, Everett,” Johnson told his old friend. “This is treason.”

“I know,” Dirksen said mournfully.

What might have been. More than 21,000 American troops died in Vietnam while Nixon was president.

13 thoughts on “Nixon’s Treachery

  1. Nixon:

    The man who hatched countless ratfuckers, who’ve managed to ratfuck their way to making America a country soon to be the worlds best-armed Third-World Banana Republic – all thanks to banana’s Republicans and billionaire-sponsored career opportunities as ratfuckers in Wingnut Welfare

    Oh, if only we liberals had something along those lines.
    But, sadly, we don’t.

    We’re not rats.
    And we’re more lovers, than fuckers…

  2. This deserves a HST quote, as his writings have received further validation posthumously.

    “…Just because a person can subject himself to the degradations of a lifetime in politics and finally end up in the White House is certainly no reason to respect him, as Nixon has recently given us elegant evidence to confirm.

    Almost all political writers cover campaigns on the basis of what they learned from the last one.  I came into the ’72 campaign knowing very little about the last one.  I hadn’t covered a campaign before.  I was in and out of it in ’68, so I didn’t have any real preconceived strictures in my head.  I just wrote what I saw, what I thought, and what I felt on instinct.  I really have great faith in my instincts.

    Some of the things I called Nixon obviously were not accurate.  Nixon does not, as far as I know, fuck pigs and sell used cars with cracked blocks.  Nor is he corrupt beyond the ability of modern man to describe it.  My concern with accuracy is on a higher level than nickels and dimes, in a word, line by line.

    Woody Creek, January 1990”

    Dr.Hunter S. Thompson, Songs of the Doomed: more notes on the death of the American Dream, Gonzo Papers Vol. 3 p.144.

  3. Ya know–if you watch a wo/man’s history, from childhood, you can generally peg them pretty closely. We tend to do that with friends. Wonder why we don’t with political figures? Nixon told us who he was when he did Helen Gahagan Douglas; Ronnie sold out to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee; W goofing off in Texas and Alabama instead of fighting his war (or blowing up frogs with firecrackers); Romney directing his gang to down, and cut the hair of another student; Der Turnip’s own testimony on tape of how to treat women. . . . All the information any political party or voter needed. All ignored. What the hell is wrong with us?

  4. puddle – you only list republicans with defects and I’m not going to say that both parties are equal or I wouldn’t be a registered democrat. But most politicians from both parties are working for the money and the big prize after they leave office and can cash in quite legally-which is why half of Congress (and not just republicans) after they retire, become registered lobbyists making on average – fourteen TIMES what they did as members of Congress. That doesn’t count those who to to work on Wall Street (Cantor) or those who work for special interests as the reps who hire lobbyists.

    So the problem isn’t that we should be able to identify politicians with massive character defects – the problem is that politics attracts people with character defects instead of patriotic virtue. And there’s a fix that will create an environment where ‘self deportation’ isn’t just likely – it’s guaranteed. We need a wall – a wall of separation between big money and OUR government. That won’t guarantee a progressive government – but of those who chose to stay, all of them will be working for the people. And when the money is out of it, we won’t get perfect legislation, but we’ll get progress thru compromise.

    The problem isn’t the republican bums in government – it’s the bums in government and we can change the menu of options in elections by eliminating the opportunity to feed greed. And do it without partisanship because republican voters have had it, too.

  5. Puddle’s right. The only way I can think of it, is as a kind of collective insanity. Nixon’s treachery was just one in a series of tragically successful assaults on our democracy. The clear lesson was that dirty tricks work far better than honest debate. We also have the “October Surprise” engineered by the Reagan campaign. The government shutdown and blatant obstructionism of the Republicans was repulsive, but, it worked. I think even the most fiendish among the Republicans weren’t quite ready for Trump. That is to say, they didn’t think they could get away with it. But, the master con man thought it was worth a try. Now, they will all line up behind him. At this stage a lot will be revealed, because there is no longer any reason or necessity for pretense. Corporatist state, here we come!

  6. To all mourning America’s ethics after the EC selected the second minority-vote president in 16 years: please note the Princeton study proving that the poorer 90% of the people have insignificant effect on policy. Evidently the majority also has insignificant effect on first impressions. An obviously wrong guy runs but wins anyhow.
    So what’s wrong with us, puddle? The illusion of representation.

  7. I am already sick and tired of hearing the phrase, “The Trump era.” How do you merit an “era” before you even take office?

    it doesn’t bode well.

  8. I’m a bit puzzled as to why this is news. Nixon’s treachery in damaging Johnson’s peace initiative has been known for years. Rick Perlstein’s excellent 2008 book, Nixonland, describes the event in some detail, and I’ve heard other accounts as well.

  9. There is a pattern here, and Trump’s “win” MAY be part of it:

    1968: Nixon undermines Viet Nam peace negotiations
    1980: Reagan undermines Iran Hostage negotiations

    Look up Robert Parry’s work on these things, at or Significant credible evidence in both cases, of Republican Party using outside contacts with foreign governments to influence US elections.

    That’s Treason, isn’t it? IIRC, the US Constitution is pretty specific about penalties for that.

  10. What the hell is wrong with us?

    I hate to come off as a holier than thou preacher, but to me the short answer is moral decay. With all the opportunity to see what a dirt bag charlatan Trump is, and yet vote for him in spite of all the evidence presented leads me to conclude there’s a serious disconnect in the standard for what’s acceptable to be morally fit. I think America dropped the ball. There is a spiritual decay that is eroding the greatness of America.
    How can any citizen feel good about their country when they’ve chosen an obvious and blatant pathological liar to be their leader? WOW! I don’t know what or when, but history dictates there’ll be a price to pay for choosing Trump.

  11. Right, goatherd. People who should know better, like Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, are referring to the “Trump era”. Trump doesn’t even have a mandate, much less an era. At least wait until the Reichstag fire.

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