Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activiti...

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.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
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Original Film:
[00.02.04-DEAN responding to GURNEY'S questioning about his meetings with NIXON in March 1973] Mr. DEAN. Well, as I said also, we had discussed the Watergate on previous occasions before that, we discussed it on the 13th. We talked about money and clemency. He had told me as early as my February -meetings -with him, that I was to report, directly to him at that point. If you check some of the exhibits that I have submitted you will see that there are a lot of Presidential decisions being made as a result of the La Costa meeting, and it was at one point I decided that I had to tell the, President what I thought the implications of this whole situation was. That I thought that not only was there a problem for some that were involved before the break-in had become known but I thought there, were a lot that had problems is a result of the break-in, and that the coverup could not continue. Senator GURNEY. Well, at any rate, whatever was being discussed at these meetings the 20th, the 21st, and the 22d, they certainly were very important matters affecting Watergate, is that not true? Mr. DEAN. They were affecting Watergate, to the degree of how to deal with this Senate, committee, yes. Senator GURNEY. You mean you only discussed the Senate committee in these meetings? Mr. DEAN. That is the thrust of virtually the entire. conversations that occurred, particularly -when Mr. Mitchell was present, the morning he was present, on the 22d. Senator GURNEY. What about the meeting of the 21st? You had two that day, one with the President when Mr. Haldeman came in later, and then another one, with Mr. Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and yourself and the President. Was that the subject of this committee here that you talked about? Mr. DEAN. I think, as I testified, that after I had completed my presentation to the President from some, of the, questions he asked and some of the statements he made I did not, feel that be fully understood the problem that people at the, White House had for their involvement in the post situation. It was somewhat like---- Senator GURNEY. So it was a much wider discussion than simply this committee? Mr. DEAN. Not really, Senator, it was, it was a rambling discussion. It did not have a particular focus. We never got down to specifics. The meeting--I assume what was going to happen as a result of the meeting that afternoon of the 21st and a subsequent meeting I had had earlier, at that meeting was that there was going to be an effort, to have Mr. Mitchell step forward and take the heat. [00.04.44] Senator GURNEY. Did you not seek the meeting of the 21st with the President? Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir, I did. Senator GURNEY. Why did you? Mr. DEAN. As I think I mentioned earlier to you, I had had a communication from Mr. O'Brien that, Mr. Hunt was making new and increased demands that were now coming directly to the White House, and I could. see that the White House was going to be increasingly and increasingly placed in a, position of having to deal with this situation. [00.05.17-GURNEY is suggesting that the HUNT crisis necessitated the INITIAL informing of NIXON about WATERGATE, DEAN suggests that NIXON was already aware and it was only necessary to impress on him the severity of the situation, and to advocate for the President to end the coverup] Senator GURNEY. And is that not what precipitated your request for this meeting with the President so that you call tell him the Whole broad outline of the Watergate and what it was all about? Mr. DEAN. Well, as I had discussed with Moore. Dick Moore, for many, many months how to end this situation, how to get the President out in front of it so that he would step forward and say, "This is what my involvement is, this is what the picture is from my standpoint." But there just seemed no way to do that. Senator GURNEY. Did you not discuss; the day before, March 20, as I recall, with Mr. Moore, that "Now I have got to go in and tell the President what this is all about, and I am going to make an appointment with him tomorrow." Is that not the substance of the conversation that morning? Mr. DEAN. That did-yes, and Mr. Moore encouraged me to go in, as a matter of fact. Senator GURNEY. Tell him about Watergate, the whole thing? Mr. DEAN. That is correct. But as I say, Mr. Moore, it, is much--it is parallel to the Segretti situation in this regard my conversation with Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore knew a lot but he did not know everything. For example, when he had recommended that the President merely issue a letter of censure to Mr. Chapin and keep him on at that point he had only the broadest understanding of Chapin and Strachan's involvement. He, had not heard the tape that I had recorded with Mr. Segretti. Senator GURNEY.. Well, perhaps we had better continue on because. there are other members I know who want, to question and I have got to close mine down here,. But at any rate after these meetings of the 20th, 21st, and 22d, you had no communication with the President until April 14, 15? Mr. DEAN. April 15. [00.07.02]