Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, June 27, 1973

.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.02.00-DEAN answering questions from Sen. GURNEY, who wants to make DEAN out to be the primary architect of the COVERUP, in keeping with the White House's "BLAME IT ON DEAN" strategy] Mr. DEAN.----and shred documents. I had to come up in my own mind with a persuasive argument for Mr. Ehrlichman as to why not to "deep-six" and destroy documents. I decided the best, way to persuade him was to tell him that there was a chance that the men who had drilled the safe had seen it, that the Secret Service agent who was present at the time of the drilling had seen it, that Mr. Fielding and Mr. Kehrli had been there and had seen it, and, of course, Mr. Fielding had gone, through all of the documents and for -all those people, to be, quizzed by the FBI would result in an awful lot of lying. [00.02.34] Senator GURNEY. Was it, your suggestion to turn those papers over to Mr. Gray? Mr. DEAN, Yes, it was because I told Mr.--- Senator GURNEY. Why did you suggest this? Mr. DEAN. I told Mr. Ehrlichman that if I were ever asked I wanted to be able to testify that, I turned everything over to the FBI and subsequently when that came up and they were getting more Specific with that I told---- Senator GURNEY. What was the conversation in the office at the time the documents were turned over to Mr. Gray?, Mr. DEAN. Well I it was a very brief conversation and, as, I say, my encounter during that was very short. I had preceded Mr. Gray, as I recall the sequence, to Mr. Ehrlichman's office. Mr. Ehrlichman informed me he was going to meet with him and said, "Bring the documents over." I brought the documents over and laid them on a coffee table in Mr. Ehrlichman's office. Senator GURNEY. Didn't you and Ehrlichman agree to set up the meeting? [00.03.24-GURNEY will not accept that DEAN was following EHRLICHMAN'S lead in the coverup] Mr. DEAN. I have the impression Mr. Ehrlichman was going to Meet with Mr. Gray on something else. That it was not specifically on this subject. Senator GURNEY. I thought You said You suggested to Mr. Ehrlichman that you have a meeting with Gray to turn the documents over to him. Mr. DEAN. I suggested we turn them directly over to Mr. Gray, and Mr. Ehrlichman, and after I turned the rest, of the material over and I was still holding this I thought we ought to get the remainder over, called--that happened on a Thursday or Friday, over the weekend. I said--there is a delay here-and called Ehrlichman on Monday and he said, "I am meeting with Mr. Gray this evening, why don't you bring documents over then," something of that nature. Senator GURNEY. 'NOW then, what transpired when they were turned over? Mr. DEAN. As I said, I took the documents and had a very brief discussion with Ehrlichman. I laid them on the coffee table in Ehrlichman's office. Mr. Gray was called up from the reception area, came in and Mr. Ehrlichman made the initial--initially raised the matter, said something to the that these are materials from Mr. Hunt's safe, I believe, Dean has turned over other material to the Bureau directly. Senator GURNEY. Did you have. any discussion with Mr. Ehrlichman when you brought the documents in and laid them on the coffee table? Mr. DEAN. I am sure there -was. Senator GURNEY. What was-- Mr. DEAN. About this was the way I could very easily handle the Situation if I was ever asked if Mr. Gray had been useful and seen them. Senator GURNEY. Did You discuss with Mr. Ehrlichman what you might be going to tell Mr. Gray? Mr. DEAN. I was going to tell him that I did not think these related to the Watergate incident, which I did not. Senator GURNEY. No, I am talking about the, papers. The purpose of the meeting was to turn some very ,sensitive documents over to Mr. Gray. Mr. DEAN. Yes. Senator GURNEY. So YOU could get rid of them and Mr. Ehrlichman could get rid of them. Now, prior to his coming into the office, I understand that, you went in and took the papers in and laid them down. My question is, did you have any discussion with Mr. Ehrlichman at that time to what you were going to tell Mr. Gray when you turned the papers over-or when he turned them over? [00.05.36] Mr. DEAN. It was pretty well understood what the meeting was for, so it was not necessary to have any extended discussion other than the fact that, the, documents were very politically sensitive, that as I recall, I called them political dynamite when I raised them with Gray, that he should take custody of them, and that that would be the way to handle it as far as the White House -was concerned. I do not recall any discussion of telling Mr. Gray to destroy the documents. [00.06.07-GURNEY wants to resolve a conflict between GRAY'S recollection and DEAN in favor of the WHITE HOUSE.] Senator GURNEY. You and Mr. Ehrlichman must have had, certainly some feeling that Mr. Gray was not going to take this back to the FBI and put it in the files somewhere. Mr. DEAN. Well, he was told that they should never be leaked or be made public, something to that effect, Yes. Senator GURNEY. Well, did you 'discuss something to that, effect before he came in the office? Mr. DEAN. Well, Senator, if we did, I have certainly no recollection of it at this time. As I recall the transaction, it, was brief, I came, over immediately preceding the meeting, Gray was called up, there was this brief conversation. Gray, was virtually en route up. He came in. This was explained to him. He at that point in time, as I recall, placed the documents in a small sort of briefcase--not really a briefcase, but one of these thin legal briefcases that he placed the documents in, and seemed quite willing to take them. He did not have a lot of hesitancy and he seemed to understand that indeed, this was an appropriate proceeding although an unusual one. [00.07.19]