Forever Tricky

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.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Forever Tricky

  1. I have to admit the economy was great for me during his administration and he brought many friends of mine back from Vietnam (the ones still alive after JFK & LBJ’s terms). I was a single parent back then, but it was good living, After that – everything went back to hell in a hand-basket!


  2. I saw the “notes” they are very hard to read, but I don’t see where they tell South Vietnam to not negotiate.

    We do know, however, that Lyndon Johnson not only bugged Goldwater’s campaign in 1964, but also Nixon & Wallace in 1968. If this was a major theme of Nixon’s campaign, certainly LBJ would have found out about it through his system of bugging the campaigns.


      1. That note doesn’t prove that Nixon did anything to affect the peace talks in 1968. It is barely legible and doesn’t prove, by itself, any interference. The Story goes that Anna Chennault cause the South Vietnamese to delay negotiations, the truth is that the North Vietnamese were intentionally delaying negotiations as a military tactic. It took Nixon over four years of negotiating to get a treaty signed ending the war. A big reason that the North was willing to sign in 1973 was due to the fact that China and The Soviet Union cut back their support after the Détente and Rapprochement. Had Nixon’s other foreign policy initiatives not occurred, a peace agreement would have taken even longer. There wasn’t going to be a peace treaty in 1968 no matter what Nixon did.

        As far as the election goes, Nixon won the electoral vote 301-191, a pretty big difference. Humphrey wasn’t even close.


      2. Spoken like a spin doctor.

        The same argument is often used to defend Alger Hiss- “he wasn’t an effective agent, so therefore….

        It does not hold water.

        The notes prove Nixon set the delaying tactics into motion prompting various responses from the players. Nixon’s actions are rightly criticized by historians now.

        Any election with a margin of victory inside million popular votes deserves scrutiny.


      3. The note actually proves nothing. The spin doctors are trying to use it to blame Nixon for the Vietnam war and to absolve LBJ of wrong doing. All it says is to speak with Chennault about the South Vietnamese.

        Popular votes don’t matter, it’s the electoral vote that does, and Humphrey got his ass whupped.


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