At one of the hardest-hitting press conferences of his Presidential career, President Nixon on Friday (26 October) stressed that Middle East peace prospects were the beat they had been in 20-years.
GV White House
CU Nixon speaking
CU Nixon speaking
GV Member of press questioning Nixon ZOOM TO Nixon replying president walks from dais as press shout "Mr. President Mr. President."
The President opened the conference, originally called to explain the latest Watergate developments, with a statement on the Middle East crisis. He said:
"I think I could safely say that the chance for not just a ceasefire -- which we presently have, and, of course which we have had in the Mid East for some time -- but the outlook for a permanent peace, is the best that it has been in 20-years. The reason for this is that the two major powers, the Soviet Union and the United Sates, have agreed -- this was one of the results of Dr. Kissinger's trip to Moscow -- have agreed that we would participate in trying to expedite the talks between the parties involved. That does not mean that the two major powers will impose a settlement. But it does mean, however, that we will use our influence with the nations in the area to expedite a settlement."
Then the questioning turned to Watergate. Questioning was clamorous and the President at fire ???ed ruffled. But then, calmly, he said:
"Today, White House Counsel contacted John Sirica -- we tried yesterday but he was in Bestec, as you know, and arrangements were made to meet with John Sorica on Tuesday to work out the delivery of the taper to John Sorica. Also, in consultations that we've had in the White House today, we have decided that next week the Acting Attorney-General, Mr. Bork, will appoint a new special prosecutor for what is called the Watergate Matter. The special prosecutor will have independence. He will have total co-operation from the Executive Branch, and he will have as his primary responsibility to bring this matter, which has so long consumed the American people -- draw it to an expeditious conclusion, because we have to remember that under our constitution it has always been held that Justice delayed is justice denied, at which time those who are going to be prosecuted, be and for those who are innocent to be cleared."
President Nixon was then bombarded with a barrage of shouted pleas for recognition from reporters. One he selected asked:
"Could you explain the (INDISTINCT) new of a long-order administration Covering up evidence -- prima facia evidence -- of high crimes in this (INDISTINCT)?"
President Nixon replied:
"Well, I should point out that perhaps all the other reporters in the room are aware we have waived Executive Privilege on all individuals that are in the Administration. It's been the greatest waiver of Executive Privilege in the whole history of this nation and, as far as any other matters are concerned, the matters of the tapes, the matters of the Presidential conversations -- those are matters in which the President has a responsibility to defend his office, which I shall continue to do."
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Background: At one of the hardest-hitting press conferences of his Presidential career, President Nixon on Friday (26 October) stressed that Middle East peace prospects were the beat they had been in 20-years. Speaking coolly and confidently at the outset of the searching questioning, the President said the United States and the Soviet Union had agreed that negotiations between Israel and the Arab states must be started. He credited the U.S.-Soviet detente with avoiding a major conflict.
But when the subject of Watergate and other related matters was broached, the conference turned into a verbal battlefield with pressmen shouting out their questions and the President coming back with slashing and scathing attacks on new media commentators.
He vowed he would stay in office to complete his term when there was speculation about his health. The conference ended abruptly after only 40-minutes.