Letter Responding to Senate Committee Subpoenas Requiring Production of Presidential Tape Recordings and Documents.
Dear Mr. Chairman:
White House counsel have received on my behalf the two subpoenas issued by you, on behalf of the Select Committee, on July 23rd.
One of these calls on me to furnish to the Select Committee recordings of five meetings between Mr. John Dean and myself. For the reasons stated to you in my letters of July 6th and July 23rd, I must respectfully refuse to produce those recordings.
The other subpoena calls on me to furnish all records of any kind relating directly or indirectly to the "activities, participation, responsibilities or involvement" of 25 named individuals "in any alleged criminal acts related to the Presidential election of 1972." Some of the records that might arguably fit within that subpoena are Presidential papers that must be kept confidential for reasons stated in my letter of July 6th. It is quite possible that there are other records in my custody that would be within the ambit of that subpoena and that I could, consistent with the public interest and my Constitutional responsibilities, provide to the Select Committee. All specific requests from the Select Committee will be carefully considered and my staff and I, as we have done in the past, will cooperate with the Select Committee by making available any information and documents that can appropriately be produced. You will understand, however, I am sure, that it would simply not be feasible for my staff and me to review thousands of documents to decide which do and which do not fit within the sweeping but vague terms of the subpoena.
It continues to be true, as it was when I wrote you on July 6th, that my staff is under instructions to cooperate fully with yours in furnishing information pertinent to your inquiry. I have directed that executive privilege not be invoked with regard to testimony by present and former members of my staff concerning possible criminal conduct or discussions of possible criminal conduct. I have waived the attorney-client privilege with regard to my former Counsel. In my July 6th letter I described these acts of cooperation with the Select Committee as "genuine, extensive and, in the history of such matters, extraordinary." That cooperation has continued and it will continue. Executive privilege is being invoked only with regard to documents and recordings that cannot be made public consistent with the confidentiality essential to the functioning of the Office of the President.
I cannot and will not consent to giving any investigatory body private Presidential papers. To the extent that I have custody of other documents or information relevant to the work of the Select Committee and that can properly be made public, I will be glad to make these available in response to specific requests.
[Honorable Sam J. Ervin, Jr., Chairman, Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510]
Note: The text of the letter, dated July 25, 1973, was released July 26.
Richard Nixon, Letter Responding to Senate Committee Subpoenas Requiring Production of Presidential Tape Recordings and Documents. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255704