President Nixon’s Yellow Pad Notes on the Silent Majority Address

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Our greatness as a nation has been our capacity [to] do what had to be done when we knew our cause was right.

In asking for your support, I do not challenge the right to disagree.

  1. If some believe we should leave – you have every right – to say it
  2. The great majority do want to leave – they want a just peace – I offer a plan to bring that peace –
    The more support we have for our plan – the sooner the war will end –

What can I do –

To the great silent majority – I ask your support
I pledge to end the war –
I shall keep that pledge –
We have a plan which —

The hopes of world rest with us –
When history is written – America must meet the test –
We shall meet that test and for those who live in peace and freedom will thank us for having had the courage to meet our challenge


Wilson – he kept us out of war –
FDR – a peace candidate – both died
HST [Truman] split his party –
Ike – ended war – that S. Korea is free of [unintl]
K [Kennedy] – confrontation

The choice is clear:

1) I do not offer easy way –

a. Destroying N.V.Nam – would not win the peace – The key is S.V. Nam strengthened to point they can defense selves

2) I do not offer easy way – get out –

3) I offer the right war: end war, win peace

a) Vietnamization

b) Negotiation

You determine the latter

1) I know some want defeat
“Lose in Vietnam”

a) Majority for Peace

2) Dissent – but do so – America is united behind a reasonable offer – we shall not be defeated

Whether I win or lose does not matter – whether peace and freedom survives does

Time for great silent majority to speak up for America – to speak of for end[ing] the war and win[ning]

1) ½ million – [unintl] of all the policy will not be made in streets
Will affect enemy
Will us/

2) Other are right
Let them know – end the war – win peace

3) There is another voice

The war will not be an issue in 72 – It may not be in 70 –

Our fighting men can’t be defeated
S.V.Nam will not break –
The question is – will America break –
History will record that we met the test of greatness

I won’t predict, give a timetable
It will not be an issue in 72
For great majority not an issue in 70 – Regardless of [unitl]


Enemy should not miscalculate

1) Our withdrawal is from strength, not weakness

2) It is planned – not helter skelter
Will not be affected by propaganda

3) It will continue – It will succeed

4) Time is not on their side –

a) As S.V.Nam gets stronger – gains among people – their position becomes weaker

Mention Laird on Vietnamization
Program exceed our expectation


Peace with Honor – or Peace with humiliation
End War – to win the Peace – or lose the Peace

War waged on many fronts –
We wage peace on many fronts –
We discuss anything – peace fair to both – They nothing but our defeat

I could end the war – blame it on my predecessors –
Get credit win in landslide
What matters is not
Whether I win – but
Whether America wins – comes out right

One year ago – stopped the bombing
1) Since the negotiation

The war had been Americanized
Time to Vietnamize it
War had been escalated – time to deescalate
Men had been going in – time to bring out –
“Lose in Vietnam” – bring boys home –


Exact figures of refugees – in South from N.V.Nam –

Johnson’s War –
Nixon’s war –
The question – is let it be American Peace

Just settlement
V.N. speech – any public statements.

N.V.Nam can’t defeat or humiliate U.S. –
1) Only America can do that.


A President must listen to people –

1) He must decide – on basis of all the facts

2) Policy can’t be made in streets –

a) Day it is America is finished.

In this room:
1. T.R. President – be brought peace between Russia and Japan –

2. W Wilson – Kept us out of war – had to lead us into war –

3. F.D.R. – in 40 – against war – had to lead us to war –

4. Harry Truman – split with his party

To stop American through
Greek Turkish aid –

5. Ike – ended war in Korea – [unintel] – Cuban Missile Crisis – J.F.K.

Those were not easy – It is easier to turn away – they did not turn away –

I do not turn away.
America will stand up.

Something else is on the line:

Confidence of allies – N.V.Nam –
Confidence of America in itself –

1) A great people has a responsibility –
-Turn away – we would be
Ashamed – fail to play role
We must play if peace and
Freedom are to remain in world


Even more disturbing then the messages on the
Placards was the message I saw on the
Faces of the young Americans who were demonstrating.
It was I saw the faces of hatred
It was hate for the President – bitter, deep and implacable
I was not [unintel] personally – but for the note.
I would like to address a word to all who listen to
Me and who disagree the young in the country who
May feel the way or who oppose my policy for peace –

1. I do not hate those who oppose me –

2. I understand your concern – I share it – I commend this [unintel]
I know that hate [unintel]
I saw on these young faces – reflected a deep
Idealism – which makes our young people – such
A potential path for good in America and world

3. I want peace as much as you do –

1) The political reasons are irrelevant

1) I have chosen a plan for peace –

1) I believe it will succeed.
2) If program is to be wrong what the
Critics say now won’t matter.
3) If it does work – what anything
I say then will not matter –

2) There are more powerful reason: which concerns me personally

1) This week I signed letters to mothers, fathers, wives and [unintel] of those who gave their lives for America in V.Nam –
2) This was only 1/3 as many as [unintel]
3) But this is small satisfaction
4) There is nothing I want more than the day –
When I no longer must write those letters

3) There is another reason which concerns you
I believe in America’s young people –
— motivated by idealism –
I want those who that great energy and dedication against now directed in protest for the war –
To be directed to the challenges for a decent life for all – in America and world

I want to end war to save lives
I want to end it in a way which will [unintel] so that his younger brother and their sons will not have to fight in some future war –


Demonstrators carried signs –

1) They have a right
2) But I would be unfaithful if I allowed demonstrations in street –
I realize that great majority [unintel]
Do not want U.S. to lose –
They do not want slaughter in S.V.Nam –
They want peace –

I want peace –

1) I sign letters to the mothers and fathers and wives of those who die in V.Nam
2) I want to stop this
3) I want out young people – demonstrators against war – idealism – to be transferred to great goals of peace and better world

To those I say:

1) I make a pledge –
2) I have plan –
3) It will work and end the war
4) It will end sooner – with your support

50 years ago – Woodrow Wilson –
In this room – at this very desk
Spoke eloquently of his belief –
That WWI was war to end war –
His great dream for world peace
Was shattered and he died – broken in
Body and spirit

I do not say war in V.Nam is war to end war
I do say let us end the war in a
Way that will help to bring the just peace
To which Woodrow Wilson and every President
Has been dedicated