White House Tape – 2.2.1972 – 10:05 am
Nixon Presidential Library
NIXON: And we thoroughly intend to do so. The main thing we all have to understand here, is that the greatest miscalculation the North Vietnamese make is that we will pay, on our part, an exorbitant price because of the political situation in the United States. That’s not true. Because there’s one determination I’ve made: we’re not going to lose out there. I determined that long ago. We wouldn’t have gone into Cambodia; we wouldn’t have gone into Laos, if we had not made that determination. If politics is what was motivating what we were doing, I would have declared, immediately after I took office in January of 1969, that the whole damn thing was the fault of Johnson and Kennedy, it was the “Democrats’ War,” and we’re ending it like Eisenhower ended Korea, and we’re getting the hell out, and let it go down the tube. We didn’t do that. We didn’t do it, because politically, whatever, it would have been wrong for the country, wrong for the world, and so forth and so on, but having come this long way and come to this point, the United States is not going to lose. And that means we will do what is necessary. But we can’t do it in terms of pusillanimous planning and options that are inadequate. So, we want to see what you have. [unclear]
AGNEW: Don’t just write it for the record.
NIXON: No, I know we’re going to write all of this stuff out. We’ll ask for all this, you know, turn down this story that appeared in the New York Times. [unclear] I don’t think anybody else sitting in this chair would have ordered Cambodia or Laos. If we hadn’t had Cambodia or Laos our casualties would be a hundred a week today rather than—
HELMS: At least.
NIXON: —five. So my point is, even with the election facing us, even with the diplomatic initiatives we have, we, we have to win it. We have to be sure we don’t lose here for reasons that affect China. They affect Russia. They affect the Mideast. They affect Europe. That’s what this is all about.