The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, operated by the National Archives, has opened to the public over 500,000 pages of textual materials, one hour of dictabelt recordings, and an online exhibit focusing on the December 1972 bombing of North Vietnam.
The textual release includes more than 4,000 pages declassified, in whole or in part, as the result of mandatory review requests from individual researchers and as a consequence of the 25-year systemic review program. These documents focus primarily on national security matters, including: U.S. intelligence analysis of Vietnam Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker’s cables regarding negotiations with South Vietnam’s President Thieu in 1972; Henry Kissinger’s meetings with the Chinese leadership before President Nixon’s February 1972 trip; and U.S. policy toward Latin America.
The bulk of this textual release comprises the 200,000-page David Gergen collection, which contains the White House speechwriting staff office files from 1973-1974 and the 300,000-page Congressional relations office collection (known as the William E. Timmons collection).
Also included are small White House name files (Alpha files) on Shirley Temple Black, the Reverend Billy Graham and Charles “Bebe” Rebozo.
The release also includes an initial release of recordings made by the President and some members of his staff on dictabelt machines. The recordings include dictations and recorded telephone conversations. The recordings in this first installment are of less than an hour in duration.
The Nixon Library is launching the first in its “Exploring Our Sources” web exhibits. This one, called “Memoirs v Tapes: President Nixon and the December Bombing” is a multimedia presentation of previously-released tapes, documents, photos, and videos relevant to understanding the decision-making surrounding the December 1972 bombing of North Vietnam and the successful conclusion of the Paris Peace negotiations.