Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, June 29, 1973 (2/2)

Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[01.15.35-DEAN discussing March 22, 1973 meeting with NIXON, HALDEMAN, EHRLICHMAN on maintaining coverup through ERVIN COMMITTEE investigation] At that point. the, President turned to me and said --John, I think that, you ought to go up and discuss with Senator Ervin the parameters of executive privilege" and I said to the President, "I thought that would be very unwise because, I am the, point at, issue in the Gray hearings and I am there negotiating my own position." He agreed. and Mr. Ehrlichman said that he would come, and visit with Senator Ervin on discussing executive privilege vis-a-vis appearances of White House, staff. The meeting was very much of this tenor. There was nothing dramatic that happened. and again this was somewhat to my surprise. The meeting concluded, Haldeman and Ehrlichman departed the, office, Mr. Mitchell stayed 'and had a social conversation -with the President, they were talking about----- Senator BAKER. Were you there at the time? [01.16.31] Mr. DEAN. I -was in and out for this reason, here is a point that I had really forgotten about that, occurred in front of Mr. Mitchell. The President said in front of Mr. Mitchell that "John has been doing an excellent job on this whole problem." and it was just a compliment he paid me in front of Mr. Mitchell. I Was trying to make just make an arrangement for Mr. Mitchell to meet with Paul O'Brien who had been wanting to meet with him and as; you know outside. the President's suite there, there is an empty office that he makes available for guests. I was talking to the, receptionist as to Mr. Mitchell's availability of that. I went even to that office myself I called my secretary to tell her to make arrangements for Mr. O'Brien to come over to meet with Mr. Mitchell in that office. I meanwhile went back in the President's office and told the President and Mr. Mitchell that that office had been set up and that my secretary was trying to arrange the meeting so that Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Mitchell could meet and, as I recall, I departed then for Mr. Ziegler's office, again to see, what had happened with the White House response on Mr. Gray's statement regarding myself. Senator BAKER. All right. Does that conclude the important aspects of the March 22 meeting? Mr. DEAN. I think that does; yes. Senator BAKER. And once again with the caveat that whatever else you have said in your prepared statement will be incorporated for the purposes of our colloquy here. [01.18.05] Do we move then to April 15? Mr. DEAN. That is correct. Senator BAKER. All right. Would you go ahead, please. Mr. DEAN. Well, I might add, now, I had a conversation with the President on March 23. Senator BAKER. All right. Would you tell us about that? Mr. DEAN. The President suggested, as he had on previous occasions, and in fact my wife and I had talked about it, he had said, "John, have, you ever been up to Camp David," and I said "Well, only once on a very brief visit" which had been on November 15, Senator BAKER. Where was this conversation? Mr. DEAN. These were in the Oval Office and they would come up at the end of a meeting or something in which he had suggested I go to Camp David to enjoy Camp David. Senator BAKER. What time during the day of March 23? Mr. DEAN. Did I receive the call? Senator BAKER. I am not quite sure I understand. Mr. DEAN. All right. Senator BAKER. There was a meeting 'with the President. [01.19.00] Mr. DEAN. I was referring to the fact that, I know there has been some--I have read in the press that, you know, the President was continually trying to send me to Camp David. Well, the invitations I was getting to go to Camp David were not to go for any personal reasons other than to go up and enjoy Camp David and relax as during the Gray hearings as my name was coming more to the forefront and the President was telling me, "Don't bother to read the newspaper, I have been through this sort of thing before," and he told me, that on countless occasions to ignore the newspapers and not let this get to me. And I had relayed this to my wife and told her that the President had been very gracious in saying that we should go to Camp David and enjoy the facilities up there. [01.19.45] Senator BAKER. Was there a meeting on March 23? Mr. DEAN. No; there was a telephone call that came in, it must have been after lunch time, some time, I don't recall precisely when, what hour, but we arrived there at about 3:30 or so. so I would say that the call probably came in, given the fact that it is about over a 2-hour ride, about 1, 1:30 or so, and I would assume the President was calling, by then he had left for Florida. [01.20.18] The President said to me, he said. the most interesting thing I remember that is relevant to your inquiry now is, he said, "Well, John, your prediction is correct." That was in reference to the fact on the 21st I told him I thought one of the defendants, would--would not remain, not all the defendants would remain silent and here in fact this had occurred when Mr. McCord had submitted his letter to the court on the 23d. [01.20.48-BAKER continues to examine DEAN'S conversations with NIXON at a point when the COVERUP was in serious jeopardy] Senator BAKER. Let's examine that just a Moment, Mr. Dean. Did the President say that, you were proved correct because McCord has said so and so or is this an inference you draw from the circumstances? Mr. DEAN. Well, he was quite aware of the fact that McCord had, in the conversation that came up he was aware of the fact, that McCord's letter had been read in court that morning. Senator BAKER. Tell me what he said, please? Mr. DEAN. He just acknowledged the fact that he was aware of Mr. McCord having submitted a letter to the court. Senator BAKER. Can you recall the language? Mr. DEAN. No; I cannot, [01.21.26]