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The Nixon Tapes:
Secret Recordings from the Nixon White House
on Luis Echeverría and Much Much More

Sidebar: Playing the Right Games

by Kate Doyle

Posted - August 18, 2003

Sidebar - Playing the Right Games
Sidebar - Nixon Speaks
Sidebar - The Tapes
Link - Proceso Magazine


On June 16, 1972, President Nixon talked with CIA Director Richard M. Helms on a White House telephone just after Nixon met with the Mexican leader. The conversation offers a tantalizing (and censored) glimpse of the CIA's interest in Mexico.

Nixon: Hello.
[Secretary]: Director Helms, Mr. President.
Nixon: Hello.
Helms: Good morning, Mr. President.
Nixon: Dick, I just left President Echeverría. He took me aside, you know he doesn't speak any English but - he says, I'm seeing Director Helms this afternoon. I said, "Good." I said, "He's - you can, uh - you know - I - he has authorized it directly to you from me."
Helms: Right.
Nixon: So you should tell him that I talked to you, and so forth. I don't know what games we're playing there, but… He's strong - he wants to play the right games. I had told him, I gave him a little fill-in on Russia and China, I said, now we've had all these initiatives but let me make one thing clear. I have no reason to believe but that both nations are going to continue their support of subversion in other countries. I said, that's just - I said, we have agreed on no overt confrontations, in effect, but I said this is what you've got to expect and I think - So that's the way I sorted it - I - We didn't go into any of the other domestic things he has, but ah -
Helms: Well thank you very much, sir. Dick [Vernon A.] Walters [Deputy Director of Central Intelligence] is going with me and we're going to have about an hour's chat with him. I-

[Section removed for national security reasons]

Nixon: Because I went into the - why we had to finish Vietnam in the right way, why it was important for us to hold the ring against aggression on all over the world, particularly in the western hemisphere, because nobody else was there to do it. And, ah - he's on our side, all right.
Helms: Oh that's great, Mr. President, thank you very much.
Nixon: All right, bye.

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