17
Nov
08

On This Day, 11-17-2008: I’m Not a Crook

November 17, 1973

Nixon insists that he is not a crook

On this day in 1973, in the midst of the Watergate scandal that eventually ended his presidency, President Richard Nixon tells a group of newspaper editors gathered at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, that he is “not a crook.”

Nixon made the now-famous declaration during a televised question-and-answer session with Associated Press editors. Nixon, who appeared “tense” to a New York Times reporter, was questioned about his role in the Watergate burglary scandal and efforts to cover up the fact that members of his re-election committee had funded the break-in. Nixon replied “people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.” He did, however, admit that he was at fault for failing to supervise his campaign’s fund-raising activities.

At one point during the discussion, Nixon gave a morbid response to an unrelated question about why he chose not to fly with back-up to Air Force One when traveling, the usual security protocol for presidential flights. He told the crowd that by taking just one aircraft he was saving energy, money and possibly time spent in the impeachment process: “if this one [plane] goes down,” he said, “they don’t have to impeach [me].”

Nixon was trying to be funny, but in fact the scandal was taking a toll on his physical and mental health. In Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s book All the President’s Men, Nixon is described at this time as being “a prisoner in his own house–secretive, distrustful…combative, sleepless.” Nixon’s protestations of innocence with regard to the Watergate cover-up were eventually eroded by a relentless federal investigation. On August 8, 1974, he resigned the following day.

“Nixon insists that he is not a crook.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Nov 2008, 10:58 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=52010.

On This Day

1558 – Elizabeth I ascended the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary Tudor.

1800 – The U.S. Congress held its first session in Washington, DC, in the partially completed Capitol building.

1869 – The Suez Canal opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean and the Red seas.

1903 – Russia’s Social Democrats officially split into two groups – Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

1913 – The steamship Louise became the first ship to travel through the Panama Canal.

1913 – In Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm banned the armed forces from dancing the tango.

1968 – NBC cut away from the final minutes of a New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game to begin a TV special, “Heidi,” on schedule. The Raiders came from behind to beat the Jets 43-32.

1970 – The Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the Lunokhod 1. The vehicle was released by Luna 17.

1979 – Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

1988 – Benazir Bhutto became the first woman leader of an Islamic country. She was elected in the first democratic elections in Pakistan in 11 years.

1990 – A mass grave was discovered by the bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. The bodies were believed to be those of World War II prisoners of war.

November 17, 1969

SALT I negotiations begin

Soviet and U.S. negotiators meet in Helsinki to begin the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). The meeting was the climax of years of discussions between the two nations concerning the means to curb the Cold War arms race. Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Gerard Smith was put in charge of the U.S. delegation. At the same time, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger began negotiations with the Soviet ambassador in America. The negotiations continued for nearly three years, until the signing of the SALT I agreement in May 1972.

Talks centered around two main weapon systems: anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) and multiple independent re-entry vehicles (MIRVs- missiles with multiple warheads, each capable of striking different targets). At the time the talks began, the Soviets held a slight advantage in ABM technology; the United States, however, was quickly moving ahead in developing MIRVs, which would give it a tremendous qualitative advantage over Soviet offensive missile systems. From the U.S. perspective, control of ABMs was key. After all, no matter how many missiles the United States developed, if the Soviets could shoot them down before they struck their targets they were of limited use. And, since the Soviets had a quantitative lead in the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), an effective Soviet ABM system meant that the Russians could launch devastating nuclear attacks with little fear of reprisal. From the Soviet side, the U.S. development of MIRV technology was particularly frightening. Not only were MIRV missiles technologically superior to Soviet weapons, there were also questions as to whether even an advanced ABM system could protect the Soviet Union from this type of missile. It was obviously time to discuss what seemed to be a never-ending arms race.

The SALT I agreement reached in May 1972 limited each nation to no more than 100 ABM launchers at each of two sites of their own choosing. Offensive weapons were also limited. The United States would be held to 1,000 ICBMs and 710 SLBMs; the Soviets could have 1,409 ICBMs and 950 SLBMs. The administration of President Richard Nixon defended the apparent disparity by noting that nothing had been agreed to concerning MIRVs. American missiles, though fewer in number, could therefore carry more warheads.

Whether all of this made the world much safer was hard to say. The United States and Soviet Union essentially said they would limit efforts to both defend themselves and destroy the other. Their nuclear arsenals, however, were still sufficient to destroy the world many times over.

“SALT I negotiations begin.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Nov 2008, 11:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2487.

Advertisements

0 Responses to “On This Day, 11-17-2008: I’m Not a Crook”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


November 2008
S M T W T F S
« Oct   Dec »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 280 other followers


%d bloggers like this: