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Nixon Legacy Forums

Revised 3/11/2015

Beginning in January, 2010, Geoff Shepard, along with Frank Gannon and support staff from the Richard Nixon Foundation, began arranging and producing a series of Nixon Legacy Forums.

The forums focus on policy initiatives of the Nixon Administration and feature discussions among administration members who worked on them—and helped create the documents and other materials now available to scholars and researchers at the Richard Nixon Library.

The idea for these forums came from a two day reunion of Nixon administration officials who worked on drug abuse treatment programs in the early 1970s, which was arranged and hosted by Dr. Robert DuPont, who had headed the DC treatment program and later was Executive Director of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP). This is a longer series and features presentations from more individuals, but certainly covers the beginnings of the administrations war on drugs.

These forums are best seen as an overview of particular policy initiatives, which can then be followed up by more detailed research by those interested in learning more about a particular topic.

They are co-sponsored by the National Archives and the Richard Nixon Foundation. Many also have been broadcast on C-Span’s American History channel.

The forums, over thirty to date, have been arranged into three groupings: structural changes laying the foundation for the modern presidency, foreign affairs initiatives, and domestic initiatives. (All personnel titles are during the Nixon administration, unless otherwise noted.)

I.   The Foundation of the Modern Presidency. President Nixon instituted a number of structural changes to the White House staff, which enabled him and his successors to better run the Executive Branch. His accomplishments have led him to be characterized as an Architectural President and have laid the foundation for the modern presidency.
     

The Chief of Staff-- The consolidation of White House functions under a single chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman (February 15, 2010, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA).

The National Security Council (NSC):The changes to the functioning of the NSC under Henry Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. (May 12, 2014, National Archives, Washington, D.C.)

Moynihan as Presidential Counsellor: The unique partnership of President Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan as head of the newly created Urban Affairs Counsel (November 10, 2010, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC)

The Ash Council: The creation of the Ash Council and its recommendations for reorganizing the Executive Office of the President (January 29, 2014, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA).

The Domestic Council: The creation of Domestic Council under John Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs (January 9, 2010, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA)

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) -Part I: The transformation of the Bureau of the Budget into OMB, as seen by career civil servants from that era. (September 11, 2014, LeBow College of Business at Drexel University in Philadelphia).

  • Title: Managing the Presidency: Nixon Creates the Office of Management and Budget
  • Links:
  • Moderator: Geoff Shepard, formerly of the Domestic Council
  • Panelists: Career civil servants, Paul O’Neill, later deputy OMB director; Andy Rouse, later Ash Council executive director; Edwin Harper, later deputy OMB director and assistant to President Reagan for domestic affairs, and Richard Nathan, assistant director of both BOB and OMB

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-Part II: The early challenges faced by presidential appointees to the newly created OMB (May 22, 2014, Hoover Institution at Stanford University)

  • Title: Richard Nixon as Architectural President
  • Links:
  • Moderator: Geoff Shepard, Associate Director of the Domestic Council
  • Panelists: Former presidential appointees to OMB: George Shultz, Director; Fred Malek, Deputy Director, and Kenneth Dam, Associate Director.

The Presidential Appointment Process: The changes to the recruitment process for presidential appointees (June 8, 2012, National Archives, Washington, DC)

The President’s Speechwriters: President Nixon’s use and interaction with his speechwriters (April 18, 2011, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, DC)

The First Lady: Pat Nixon’s role as First Lady (April 5, 2012, National Archives, Washington, DC)

Nixon’s Supreme Court Appointments, Part I: The impact and legacy of Nixon’s Supreme Court appointments, especially the transition from the Earl Warren Court to the Bill Rehnquist Court. (November 17, 2011, National Archives, Washington, DC)

  • Title: Nixon and the Court, the Story behind Nixon’s Supreme Court Appointments
  • Links:
  • Moderator: Fred Fielding, Counsel to Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Bush II
  • Participants: Pat Buchanan, RN campaign speechwriter; Wallace Johnson, Associate Deputy Attorney General for Legislation; Earl Silbert, US Attorney for the District of Columbia, and G. Robert Blakey, DOJ prosecutor and Chief Counsel of Senate Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee, now professor at Notre Dame Law School

Nixon’s Supreme Court Appointments -Part II: The selection, qualification, confirmation and formation of the Supreme Court from Chief Justices Warren through Rehnquist (November 13, 2012, National Archives, Washington, DC)

II.   Foreign Affairs Initiatives. President Nixon is best known for his series of foreign affairs triumphs, which ushered in the golden age of diplomacy.
     

The Cold War: How President Nixon addressed Cold War issues (May 27, 2011, Navy Memorial, Washington, DC)

Ending the Vietnam War: -President Nixon’s leadership in bringing about an end to the Vietnam War (December 5, 2014, National Archives, Washington, DC)

Opening to China: -President Nixon’s leadership in bring about the opening to China (November 12, 2014, National Archives, Washington, DC)

Vist to China: -White House staff arrangements for President Nixon’s Visit to China (October 13, 2010, The US-China Institute at the University of Southern California)

Nixon’s Opening to China: A day long program co-sponsored by the United States Institute for Peace and featuring Henry Kissinger as keynote speaker. (March 7, 2012)

Détente with the Soviet Union: -President Nixon’s leadership in bringing about a reduction in tensions with the Soviet Union (February 23, 2015, National Archives, Washington, DC)

  • Title: Détente and Arms Control with the USSR
  • Links:
  • Moderator: KT McFarland, Fox News National Security Analyst
  • Panelists: Former NSC staff members Winston Lord, Philip Odeen and Jan Lodal, along with former Assistant Secretary of State, Arthur Hartman.

The Middle East: How President Nixon addressed the complex political issues in the Middle East (April 23, 2012, National Archives, Washington, DC)

Vietnam’s POWs: Discussion on the extraordinary POW experiences and their celebratory homecoming (May 25, 2013, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA).

Additional panels are planned on the diplomatic and military initiatives to end the Vietnam War, the diplomatic challenges in the opening to China, and the efforts to achieve détente with the Soviet Union.

III.   Domestic Initiatives.. President Nixon’s domestic accomplishments are less well-known, but include a surprising number of public policy initiatives designed to address legitimate grievances. Many of these can be characterized as his “pursuit of a just society.”
     

The New Federalism: Discussion of the core innovation of President Nixon’s domestic initiatives, titled the New Federalism, which reprogramed federal grant money to states and localities (August 8, 2011 Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA)

School Desegregation: How the Nixon Administration was able to bring about substantial school desegregate of Southern schools in the fall of 1971. (February 1, 2012, The Hoover Institution at Stanford University).

Home Rule for the District of Columbia: Discussion of how President Nixon led the effort to revitalize the nation’s capital city and bring home rule to the District of Columbia. (May 16, 2014, National Archives, Washington, D.C.)

  • Title: President Nixon and D.C. Home Rule
  • Links:
  • Moderator: Professor Dean J. Kutlowski, Salisbury University
  • Panelists: Egil (“Bud” Krogh and Sallyanne Peyton, formerly of the Domestic Council and Donald Santarelli, formerly Associate Deputy Attorney General for

Ending the Draft: Discussion exploring how Richard Nixon led efforts to reform and finally replace the draft with an All-Volunteer Force (January 19, 2012, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA).

  • Title: RN Ends the Draft: The Creation of the All-Volunteer Force
  • Links:
  • Moderator: Bernard Rostker, former Director of the Selective Service Commission and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Author of I Want You: The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force.
  • Panelists: Jonathan Rose, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs, Annelise Anderson, 1968 campaign issues advisor, and Martin Anderson, 1968 campaign issues advisor and Deputy Assistant to the President under Arthur Burns.

Native American Rights -Part I: Two initial panel discussions exploring President Nixon’s leadership in restoring self-determination for Native Americans (May 23, 2012, University of Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum, Oklahoma)

Native American Rights -Part II: Further exploration of achieving Native American Self-Determination (November 17, 2012, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC).

Hispanic Initiatives: President Nixon’s various initiatives for Spanish speaking Americans (October 9, 2010, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA)

Welfare Reform: President Nixon’s innovative proposals for welfare reform, including the Family Assistance Plan (June 2, 2010, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, DC)

Defeating Organized Crime: Discussion of how President Nixon and his Department of Justice took down organized crime in many of the nation’s cities (June 13, 2011, University Club, Washington, DC)

The Environment: President Nixon’s leadership on environmental initiatives (April 22, 2010, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA)

The First Energy Crisis: President Nixon’s response to the oil embargo (October 19, 2011,Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC)

Labor Policy: Discussion of how Labor Secretary George Shultz transformed labor policy in the Nixon Administration. (December 5, 2011, National Archives, Washington, DC)

Watergate: Differing theories what was really behind the Watergate scandal (May 24, 2010, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA)

Nixon’s Legacy: Panel discussion of Nixon’s legacy by former staff members attending the 20th Anniversary of founding of the Nixon Library (July 21, 2010, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA)