Treaty on Archaeological, Historical, and Cultural Properties

By Alex Marshburn

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In an effort to curb the amount of culturally and historically significant artifacts being illegally trafficked between the United States and Mexico, officials from each country met in 1967 and agreed to develop methods to prevent the unauthorized transfer of archaeologically significant artifacts.

The result of their efforts was a treaty that was signed in Mexico City on July 17, 1970. This document, called the United States-Mexican Treaty on Archaeological, Historical, and Cultural Properties allowed the two countries to work together to prevent the illegal trade and transfer of artifacts that were being looted from sites around Mexico. It also facilitated communication between law enforcement agencies and scholars in each country to repatriate any illegally obtained artifacts from the United States and Mexico.

On September 23, 1970 President Nixon presented this landmark Treaty to the Senate for their advice and consent to ratification. In this message, he explained the significance of the Treaty to the Senate, emphasizing the benefits of increasing communication and archaeological research within and between the scholarly and scientific communities of each country.

The regulatory networks that were established as a result of the Treaty are still relevant and useful today, aiding in the repatriation of stolen artifacts and the prosecution of those who facilitate their theft. In October of 2012, ICE was able to confiscate over 4,000 pre-Columbian artifacts from looters trying to move the artifacts into the United States. The following investigations led to the discovery of a consignor in Montana who had paid the Tarahumara to loot artifacts from burial caves around Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The illegal trade of historically and culturally significant artifacts is one of the most difficult types of crime to stop, and consequentially it is one of the oldest forms of cross-border crime. The steps taken by the United States and Mexico during the Nixon administration were some of the first and most important in the development of government regulation of the responsible industries in each country. The Treaty’s goal of opening communication between the art collection, law enforcement, and academic communities predated the UNESCO Convention and the Act on Importation of Pre-Columbian Monumental or Architectural Sculpture or Murals. It showed that the United States was willing to address the issue of looting and to do its part in establishing concrete controls over the domestic art market which had contributed significantly to the problem.

45 Years Later: Nixon and the Gates Commission


President Nixon meeting with future Nobel Laureate Dr. Milton Friedman, distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, and the leading voice of the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force. 

By Viraktep Ath

On February 21st, 1970, the Gates Commission presented to President Richard Nixon “The Report of The President’s Commission on An All-Volunteer Armed Force”, detailing the formal plan to end the draft and implement an all-volunteer force as well as addressing the moral obligation of the U.S to pursue such a force. The Gates Commission was formed at the request of the President shortly after his election with the goal of accomplishing the promise President Nixon made to the American people during his campaign. Former Secretary of Defense Thomas Gates would head the commission comprised of expert in military, public policy, and economic studies. View the entire Gates Commission report:

One of the leading voices of the committee and the original inspiration for an all-volunteer force was an economist by the name of Milton Friedman. Throughout the 1960s, Friedman wrote in favor of an all-volunteer force on the premise of individual freedom and liberty as well as basic economic reasoning. One of the many articles Friedman had written on the draft was in May of 1967, of which was published with the New Guard, a literary magazine of the conservative activist organization Young Americans for Freedom, titled “The Case For A Voluntary Army”. Read the article below:

The Gates Commission, formed two years later, would borrow much of the same arguments Friedman made in his article. The central ideas that shaped Friedman’s argument which became the key points of the Gates Commission were as such: (1) that young men who were forced into military service lacked the passion that an individual who was a volunteer would possess and in forcing any individual to serve would be to defy the principles of freedom; and (2) the condition of the U.S. military, which was at the time very poor and underfunded, could never improve unless it was forced to compete in the market and attract prospective volunteers. The freedom to choose would foster competition in the new market, hence building more efficient combat personnel within the armed forces. Additionally, the all volunteer military would be more in line with the principles of a free nation, and more cost efficient in the long run overall.

The work of the President’s Commission had served its purpose thoroughly and set the stage for RN to sway lawmakers on the hill towards the cause of a just society. With the strong intellectual foundation made possible by the Gates Commission, made possible by the contribution of Milton Friedman, it would only be a matter of time before congress voted in favor of ending the draft.

President Nixon’s position on the draft risked crossing the line of partisan politics, as it was an issue that was of concern to individuals from the far left to the far right. However, President Nixon often felt ending the draft was less of a political issue and more of a moral issue, and along those lines was able to successfully procure a beneficial transformation of America’s military. Ultimately, President Nixon’s goal in his administration was to achieve a just peace and freedom, and in pursuing a course of action towards ending the draft he would uphold the virtues of a free society and consequently instill a peace amongst concerned young Americans.

TIME Inc. v. Hill

By Alex Marshburn

In September, 1952 the Hill family of Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania was held hostage by three escaped convicts for nineteen hours. The Hills were released without incident, and two of the convicts were later killed by police officers attempting to capture them.

In the spring of 1953, author Joseph Hayes published The Desperate Hours, a novel describing a dramatic hostage situation. Hayes’ depiction showed a family taken hostage struggling with their captors in scenes of direct physical and verbal abuse. The novel was eventually adapted into a play which was well received. Though it made no direct reference to the events in Whitemarsh, Times published an article, “True Crime Inspires Tense Play”, which included pictures of the play’s actors in the Hill’s Whitemarsh home where they were held, blurring the distinction between fiction and reality and heavily implying that The Desperate Hours was meant to be a retelling of the Hill’s ordeal.

On April 27, 1966 former Vice President Richard Nixon presented his opening argument in the Supreme Court case of Time Inc. v. Hill. RN was defending the Hill family’s claim that Time had profited directly from a fictionalized account of the events in Whitemarsh. The article by Time, RN asserted, brought the family unwanted attention based on false information. He also noted that Time’s article deviated from the actual events of the Hill incident but was presented as news, making it indefensible as “freedom of the press” because it was fictional and inaccurate, and therefore un-newsworthy.

Nixon presented evidence that Time’s editors had acknowledged in an initial draft of the article that the veracity of the story was questionable and flagged it for additional fact-checking; however, the article was published without the error being reviewed. In the argument the Hill incident was compared to the trial of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, in which charges regarding false news reports were brought against the New York Times as showing a “reckless disregard of the truth”.

The court eventually ruled 5-4 in favor of Time Inc. because there was not sufficient evidence that Time had acted with malicious intent towards the Hills. They decided that such inaccuracies are inevitable within the press and therefore protected under the first amendment, in which the press must be allowed “the ‘breathing space’ that they ‘need to survive. . . .'”.

Though Nixon did not win the case, he did earn the respect of the legal community for his sound and thorough argument which he prepared in relative isolation over a span of two weeks and presented to the high court alone.

Upholding the Prestige of the Court

1972 Supreme Court

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court as seen on April 20, 1972.

By Evan Vassar

The Warren Court, throughout its judicial history, ruled on a myriad of cases that would leave Richard Nixon concerned with the Court’s use and expansion of judicial power. Among the justices on the Supreme Court was Abe Fortas, a close friend of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who would unfortunately, for him, resign his seat on the bench due to multiple reports of his financial ties with businessmen who may have had interests in particular court cases. On May 15, 1969, Fortas would send in his letter of resignation to President Nixon. However, nine days earlier, assistant to the president Patrick J. Buchanan would write a memorandum to the president describing the political situation and opportunity the president was being presented with in the wake of Earl Warren and Abe Fortas’ resignation.

View the memorandum below:

The memorandum highlights the declining reputation and respect for the court, and proposes a possible solution to the problem of the dissolving approval of the court. Buchanan notes in the memorandum that “for the last five years the Court has been under the most intensive fire since very probably the days of Dred Scott…” and “the prestige of the Courts has very probably rarely been lower in our history.” These two quotes are a testimony to the poor image the Court had painted for itself in the previous years, and would give President Nixon the chance to capitalize on the recent resignations by appointing Justices who would reignite the constitutional life in the court.

Buchanan would offer some of his advice to the president in regards to his appointments. Considering Abe Fortas and his recent scandal, and his close ties to President Johnson, Buchanan suggested that Nixon appoint a judge he had “never met”. He is quoted saying in the memorandum, “Because of the suspicion and skepticism toward the Court today, because of its recent decisions, it seems to me important – for the Court – that the President name a ‘constitutionalist’ as Chief Justice.” Buchanan felt that the Court and its integrity needed to be “re-established”, and appointing a “constitutionalist” would be the first step.

The memorandum is a remarkable representation of the early years of Nixon’s administration and the state of affairs concerning the Supreme Court and its apparent lack of respect among the people and the new administration. It is also a prelude to the nominations to the Court yet to come; Nixon would go on to nominate four “constitutionalists” throughout his first term as president.

Towards an All-Volunteer Force

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The Gates Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force, made possible by the works and recommendations of Martin Anderson and Milton Friedman.

In April of 1967, Martin Anderson, who served as the research director for the Nixon Campaign of 1968, would go on to write a memorandum urging the future President to take on the task of implementing an all-volunteer force as part of his future administration. The memorandum was written in the form of a brief outline for Nixon to take into consideration.

A majority of the ideas expressed in the outline were influenced by economist Milton Friedman, who was one of the pioneering voices of an all-volunteer force. The outline highlighted the moral, economic, political, social, and national security benefits to implementing an all-volunteer force. It also addressed the popular and contemporary arguments against such a force. Anderson concluded his outline with a statement saying “because it is moral and fair, because it increases our national security, and because it is economically feasible, we should give high priority to the goal of establishing an all-volunteer armed force…” Nixon was drawn to the idea, and encouraged Anderson to look further into the subject to provide him with a more elaborate analysis. The paper that Anderson would go on to write, “An Analysis of the Factors Involved in Moving to an All-Volunteer Armed Force,” would be the determining factor for RN’s presidential stance. On November 17, 1967, seven months after receiving Anderson’s outline, RN went on to make his first public statement regarding an all-volunteer force. His audience of choice was the Student Bar Association of the University of Wisconsin. A New York Times article published the day after his talk quoted RN as saying in response to a student’s question regarding the merits of a selective service system, “what is needed is not a broad-based draft but a professional military corps…” He suggested that the country “move toward a volunteer army by compensating those who go into the military on a basis comparable to those in civilian careers”. In an era of politically active college students, the article highlighted that “…his audience was attentive [and] polite” when considering just one week prior, Governor Romney, another potential Republican candidate in 1968, was disturbed by hecklers in his speech to students at the University of Wisconsin.

The issue of ending the draft would be a cornerstone of Nixon’s campaign in 1968. With the assistance and intellectual groundings of many passionate individuals such as Martin Anderson and Milton Friedman, RN acquired the foundation for which ending the draft would become a likely possibility in his administration. More importantly, in taking such a stance, RN addressed a problem that was plaguing the youth of America by offering a solution to help heal a nation suffering from the horrors of war in Vietnam.

Planning for Contingencies in Vietnam


John Negroponte, pictured on the far right, prepares briefing material for Henry Kissinger en route to Paris for the peace signings.

The year 1970 saw President Nixon make some profound decisions regarding United States operations in Vietnam in addition to some real progress in negotiations. Secret bilateral negotiations between Kissinger and Hanoi’s chief negotiator Le Duc Tho began early in the year, yet intelligence reports were indicating that Communist infiltration from North to South Vietnam was increasing substantially. Likewise, the North Vietnamese were beginning to move large caches of equipment and weapons into their Cambodian sanctuaries. All indications pointed to an imminent and concerted North Vietnamese (NVA) assault upon South Vietnam (SVN). However, the buildup did not persuade to continue his Vietnamization plan. On April 20, 1970, President Nixon announced the withdrawal of 150,000 additional American troops to be completed within a year’s time.

Ten days later, President Nixon ordered the joint US/ARVN assault on Cambodian Communist sanctuaries, one of the most successful offensive operations of the entire war.

Following this success and an indication that Hanoi was seriously considering U.S. proposals during peace talks, it appeared that the turmoil of the late 1960s was turning to hope. However, the South Vietnamese presidential elections were quickly approaching and the sustained strength of a stable South Vietnamese government was far from certain.

One who had served ten years in the foreign service and dedicated a majority of that time as a provincial specialist in Vietnam, John Dimitri Negroponte was brought onto Kissinger’s NSC staff for his experience in Indochina affairs. He acquired immense expertise as a result of his time analyzing the political situation as a provincial reporting official in South Vietnam following the deposition of Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963 and later with his involvement in the Paris peace talks of 1968. Negroponte understood the dangers associated with a volatile South Vietnamese government and the residual effect it had on the South Vietnamese countryside, an area highly vulnerable to the Viet Cong political apparatus.

In late 1970, as Negroponte was transitioning into a full time role with the National Security staff as a member of the planning staff, he crafted a memo to Kissinger outlining possible contingencies in case the situation in South Vietnam unraveled. Negroponte warned of the possibility that as presidential elections were approaching, South Vietnam may revert to its cycle of instability, as was witnessed from November 1963 to May 1966. Stability was SVN’s greatest hope, but contingencies needed to be accounted for. Kissinger signed the document with his initials, indicating that he had reviewed it, and scribbled a very prominent “Excellent.”

View Negroponte’s memo below:

Negroponte outlined three different ways he believed things in South Vietnam could quickly unravel. He cited the dangers of a political crisis in South Vietnam coinciding with presidential elections, the prospects of military setbacks in I and II Corps in the northern South Vietnamese regions, and an overextension of South Vietnamese governmental resources in Cambodia.

Negroponte offered steps to placate these circumstances in the event that they occurred:

Political Crisis in South Vietnam

-Stability of GVN is essential to Vietnamization, and therefore support for Thieu, upon his likely decision to run, is highly advantageous.

-Play the situation as a “temporary setback” to Vietnamization, which would not delay long-range plans.

-No change in the present diplomatic position, because irrespective of internal situation in GVN, Communist insistence on negotiating away the GVN’s existence is a constant.

Military Setbacks in I and II Corps

-Citing, again, a “temporary setback” to Vietnamization, recalling past GVN recoveries from even more substantial NVA/VC pushes such as the Tet Offensive.

-Continue redeployments while lifting some operational constraints of remaining combat forces, altering the ratio of remaining combat to support troops, or a brief bombing campaign.

-The alternative option of stopping redeployments, which would be welcomed by the GVN and would frustrate Hanoi, would incite rath at home.

-In the case of this “temporary setback,” on the diplomatic front urge the GVN to be more forthcoming on internal political matters while maintaining a firm stand on military issues. Warn Hanoi of the futility and risks involved in increasing application of force.

Overextension of GVN Resources in Cambodia

-Stress Hanoi’s responsibility for widening the war, citing GVN’s intervention as evidence of regional effort.

-Military efforts would be similar to contingency B–the difference being that the GVN would seek to sharply reduce its commitments in Cambodia and that the U.S. would be faced with either saving Cambodia unilaterally with Thai assistance or to beef up military support for affected areas in SVN to retain RVNAF forces in Cambodia.

With Negroponte’s contingency options, Kissinger began 1971 well prepared for his uphill negotiating battle with the North Vietnamese.

Nixon in New York


Richard Nixon enjoys time with his dog, Checkers, in Central Park, New York City.

In 1963, after losing the governor’s race in California, Richard Nixon moved away from politics and his home state. He and his family relocated to New York City where he resumed his career in law. He joined the Wall Street law firm Mudge, Stern, Baldwin, and Todd which was subsequently renamed Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, and Alexander.

Before his move across the country, RN delivered a press conference that appeared to mark the unequivocal end of his political career.  Shortly thereafter his political career was detailed in a documentary that aired on ABC bearing the title “The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon”, a blunt and apparently final assessment of his political career.

In a Los Angeles Times interview, RN expressed his desire to stay in California, claiming it was where he would prefer to live because of proximity to family and friends; however, he was still viewed as a Party leader in California, and the challenges of organizing and maintaining the Party without staff were becoming too taxing. He stated that he was personally spending upwards of $50,000 per year (or, roughly $380,000 adjusted for 2015) answering political mail. As a lawyer RN would be able to work without the emotional and financial stresses of political campaigning, making the move and change of career an attractive decision.

The move to New York had a profound effect on RN. In a short amount of time he was already expressing that a career in law did not have the same driving purpose as a career in public service.

This time away from his political career, which would later be known as RN’s “Wilderness Years”, offered him clarity, intellectual preparation and perspective. It would thus become the great motivator for him to resume his life in politics, ultimately leading to his decision to campaign for the presidency in 1968.

1.15.71 – The Dedication of The Eisenhower Center

Eisenhower-Center-Dedication-560x822On a brisk morning forty four years ago on Capitol Hill, President Richard Nixon stood before members of Congress and the National Committee to give a brief speech dedicating the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Republican Center. Upon completion, the building was intended to house the National Committee, the Congressional and Senatorial Campaign Committees, the Young Republican Federation, the Federation of Republican Women, and the Capitol Hill Club.

In his speech, Nixon reflected on a conversation he had had with General Eisenhower after their victory in the 1953 presidential election, in which they had discussed the most valuable qualities an individual can present to an organization. The clear answer to Eisenhower was selflessness, described by him as the ability to sacrifice personal comfort for the good of the organization. In his address, Nixon praised US Representative James C. Auchincloss specifically for his dedication to the completion of the Center, and the selflessness and perseverance that he had exhibited in spite of an occasionally daunting lack of support.

Nixon also emphasized that though selflessness of the individual was important, an organization should also work towards its own form of this trait. He argued that the Republican Party was at risk of losing that attribute by working harder at defining itself by its limits rather than its goals. The President also stated that in doing so, Republicans could be potentially shutting a door on individuals who would otherwise be able to use the Republican Party as a platform to achieve their own goals and benefit the country. He invited those at the ceremony to be open minded about those willing to come together to support the Republican Party.

Nixon stated that the Republican Party should be thought of as an open and inclusive organization whose primary goal is to promote freedom for all people. He invited those gathered to view the Eisenhower Center as the first step towards building a symbolic ‘open door’ for those citizens devoted to the promotion of freedom and the unity of the nation.

“…ours should be the party of the open door, open to all people, all parties, all faiths, all races.”
–Richard M. Nixon

In closing his address, Nixon reiterated the two key thoughts he believed General Eisenhower would have wanted to convey on this occasion. First, the importance of personal sacrifice within political campaigns, no matter the outcome, and, secondly his advice that the Republican Party should focus on keeping its doors open to every American citizen.

President Nixon Congratulates the #1 College Football Team in America

RNNebraska001-560x372President Nixon addresses football players and students of the University of Nebraska at the university’s Coliseum in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 14, 1971.

On January 14, 1971, President Nixon made an appearance at the University of Nebraska to present its football team with a presidential plaque recognizing them as undisputed national champions. The 1970 Nebraska Cornhuskers compiled an impressive record of 11-0-1, and capped off their national championship season with a gritting 17-12 victory over Louisiana State University in the Orange Bowl on January 1.

“This year of football, a year of many great teams, a year in which many can perhaps rightfully claim to be number one, to come to Nebraska, a great university clearly apart from its great records in the field of athletics, to come here to the only major college team that was undefeated, and to make an award is something that I am very proud to do, proud to recognize this university, to recognize its coach, to recognize its co-captains, to recognize its fine members of the team, and in so doing to present the plaque from the President of the United States.”

In his capacity as President of the United States, RN used this ceremonial occasion to expound upon the common problems faced by young and old people of the time. With the student body of the University of Nebraska in mind, the President consoled a generation weary from the burdens of war, and offered inspiration for what was expected to be the foundation for a generation of peace.

“I want yours to be the first generation in this century to enjoy a full generation of peace,” President Nixon emphasized.

To accomplish this would in no way be an easy task. For a nation that had seen all generations of the 20th century at war, the challenges with sustaining peace were just as great as the challenges of war. President Nixon understood this and afforded a solution to this tremendous endeavor.

“There needs to be something more than the mere absence of war in life. Young people need something positive to respond to, some high enterprise in which they can test themselves, fulfill themselves. We must have great goals–goals that are worthy of us, worthy of our resources, our capacities, worthy of the courage and the wisdom and the will of our people. And we do have such great goals at home in America.”

The great goals at home lay in the principal problems America faced domestically. From problems of the environment to the conditions of America’s cities, there were plenty of pressing national issues that required national attention and participation.

“We must face them together. There can be no generation gap in America,” the President The destiny of this Nation is not divided into yours and ours. It is one destiny. We share it together. We are responsible for it together. And in the way we respond, history will judge us together.”

Nixon and Cuomo: An Unlikely Duo

RN-and-Cuomo-560x351A never-before-seen memo from former President Richard Nixon addressed to Governor Mario Cuomo of New York uncovers an unlikely relationship between two political heavyweights on opposing ends of the political spectrum.

Governor Cuomo, a staunch and old-school Democrat who passed away on January 1 of 2015, formed a surprisingly amicable relationship with the former President—a camaraderie that facilitated some animated intellectual and political exchange.

In an article that highlights the late Governor’s relationship with her and President Nixon, Washington Times editor Monica Crowley sheds light on their relationship.

“Nixon and Cuomo often shared copies of books they found interesting. They’d leave Nixon’s hands dog-eared and underlined, only to come back after Cuomo had read them, even more beaten up. After both men had read each book, a long conversation would ensue,” Crowley recalls when she worked as President Nixon’s foreign policy assistant from 1990 until his death in 1994.

“They may not have agreed on much, but they admired each other’s wide-ranging minds and scope of impact.”

Much like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, RN admired the colorful Governor whom he considered a man “refreshing and stimulating.” The men respected each others’ intellectual desire, nor did they refrain from sharing their ardent views with one another.

On September 19, 1987, Governor Cuomo began a much anticipated trip to the Soviet Union for what was deemed a mission of peace. Tapped as a possible presidential candidate for the 1988 presidential elections despite having already announced his decision not to run, Cuomo’s trip attracted ample media attention. Among his traveling party were 12 reporters.

Two days prior, in understanding of the gravity of Cuomo’s trip, RN wrote a letter to the Governor offering advice on how he should handle his trek to Moscow. RN listed four suggestions taken from his prior experiences: advice on handling the media, on talking points in the case of a conversation with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, on Afghanistan and on how Cuomo should address the prospect of annual summits on arms control and trade.

“The media will have an enormous interest in what you say,” RN suggested, warning Cuomo that those in the press corps will want him to criticize President Reagan openly. “I would suggest that you should parry their queries by saying that you have some differences with the Reagan Administration’s foreign policy but that you will always follow the practice of never criticizing your own country’s policies while travelling abroad and will make such criticisms only when you are in the United States.”

Evidently, Cuomo took RN’s advice in this regard. In his public statements before his departure, Cuomo stated that he would not criticize his president or his country.

“I go there as an American, not a Democrat,” stated Cuomo to the press. “I will not say anything that criticizes my president or my country.”

Later, Cuomo would publicly praise the former President’s advice.

“Nixon was very, very helpful.”

Read the memo below: