The Nixon renaissance is over before it could really take hold…recent renovations at the Nixon library were designed to renew interest in the 37th President’s foreign policy achievements – and to potentially redeem his reputation. The new scrutiny has allowed researchers to bring forward evidence that Nixon’s 1968 Presidential campaign actively disrupted Lyndon Johnson’s attempts at peace talks to end the Vietnam War.
HR Haldeman’s hand-written notes detailing instructions from Nixon… to utilize powerful Republican donors with ties to China and Taiwan– ties that would thwart attempts by Johnson to bring North Vietnam to the negotiating table. News of the potential for peace allowed Hubert Humphrey to close the gap with Nixon as the Summer of 1968 drew to a close. Preventing the talks became essential campaign strategy for Nixon- his intermediaries worked tirelessly through October to build suspicion in China and in the South Vietnamese government. The talks failed to materialize…. Nixon edged Humphrey by .07% of the popular vote.
Nixon publicly denied his involvement until his dying day… and his defenders are responding to the Haldeman notes by portraying the chances for peace as “slim.” The impact of Nixon’s interference is for historians to now decide. The consistent deceit is evidence itself of the historical magnitude of Nixon’s actions.