Newly released tapes reveal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau called President Richard Nixon in May 1973 to express his "great confidence and respect" to the embattled U.S. president over "the Watergate thing."
Trudeau made the call to Nixon on May 11, less than two weeks after a growing scandal over a break in at the Democratic National Committee's offices at the Watergate hotel spurred the resignations of Nixon's top White House staffers, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, and the firing of White House counsel John Dean.
"I wanted to phone you to tell you how distressed I was about all this noise that is going on around the Watergate thing," Trudeau begins after saying he had just returned from vacation.
"I'll tell you that, as far as I'm concerned, the people here … and certainly myself have great confidence and respect, and amongst politicians, we realize how, how, how initial actions can be seized upon and distorted," Trudeau continued.
A seemingly appreciative Nixon replied, "I'll tell ya, we'll survive it, Mr. Prime Minister," before adding, "but your call, I will always remember."
The exchange is contained in an audio recording of secret tapes Nixon had made during his time in the White House, and that ultimately helped in his downfall. It was among dozens of taped conversations released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Wednesday. T
The latest batch of 340 hours of audio recordings that were released Wednesday cover the period between April 9, 1973, to July 12, 1973. They cap the chronological release of 3,000 hours of tapes Nixon recorded between February 1971 and July 1973.
"This is a really big release in volume and importance, because of the time period it covers," said Luke Nichter of Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, who has a website cataloging Nixon's secret recordings. "This is the end of taping and this is Watergate really beginning."
A further 700 hours of Nixon recordings are still classified or restricted. They have not been released because of national security and privacy concerns.
With files from The Associated Press
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