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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters on the Death of President Richard Nixon

April 22, 1994

The President. It is my sad duty to report to the people of the United States that Richard M. Nixon, who served as our 37th President, died this evening in New York City at 9:08 p.m., with his family at his side.

Hillary and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Nixon family. We hope that Tricia and Edward Cox, and their son, Christopher; and Julie and David Eisenhower, and their children, Jenny, Alex, and Melanie, know that the best wishes of all their fellow Americans are with them during their moment of sorrow.

It's impossible to be in this job without feeling a special bond with the people who have gone before, and I was deeply grateful to President Nixon for his wise counsel on so many occasions on many issues over the last year. His service to me and to our country during this period was like the rest of his service to the Nation for nearly a half century: He gave of himself with intelligence and devotion to duty. And his country owes him a debt of gratitude for that service.

We face today a world of increasing uncertainty and difficult challenges, but it is a world of great opportunity, in no small part because of the vision of Richard Nixon during a particularly difficult period of the cold war. He understood the threat of communism, but he also had the wisdom to know when it was time to reach out to the Soviet Union and to China. All Americans, indeed all people throughout the world, owe him what he regarded as the ultimate compliment: He was a statesman who sought to build a lasting structure of peace.

To be sure, he experienced his fair share of adversity and controversy. But his resilience and his diligent desire to give something back to this country and to the world provide a lesson for all of us about maintaining our faith in the future. In spite of everything, that faith led President Nixon to leave his mark on his times as few national figures have done in our history and led him to continue to serve right up to the end of his life. Indeed, no less than a month before his passing, he was still in touch with me about the great issues of this day.

Again I say the sorrow and the best wishes of the American people are with President Nixon's family. We thank them, and our prayers are with them.

Q. Have you spoken to the family, Mr. President?

The President. I have. I spoke with both Tricia Cox and Julie Eisenhower this evening, and we had a very good visit.

Q. Are you going to the funeral?

The President. Excuse me?

Q. Are you going to go to the funeral?

The President. I intend to go, yes.

Q. When will it be, do you know?

The President. The family has not made announcements, and I'm not sure they've made final decisions. It's my understanding that the funeral will be in California, and they'll announce something about it probably tomorrow.

Q. Will all the Presidents be going, former Presidents?

The President. I can't say that.

Q. Can you tell us something about your relationship with Mr. Nixon?

The President. Yes, well, we made contact with each other shortly after—I think shortly after the election—either that or shortly after I came in here. And then, as you will remember, I had him up to the White House for a visit.

We talked frequently on the phone. I sought his advice about a number of issues in foreign policy, and we talked quite a lot about Russia. We had a good, long visit right before he went to Russia, and as I said, just a month ago today, I think, he penned his last letter to me of his thoughts on that trip and his advice.

So our relationship continued to be warm and constructive throughout the period of my Presidency, and he went out of his way to give me his best advice. And I was incredibly impressed with the energy and the vigor and, frankly, the rigor that he brought to analyzing this issue.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:03 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. The related proclamation of April 22 and Executive order of April 23 are listed in Appendix D at the end of this volume.

William J. Clinton, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters on the Death of President Richard Nixon Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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