LBJ Tapes: Nixon “treason”By
Declassified tapes from the Johnson administration provide evidence that “strongly implicated (audio)” Richard Nixon in back-channel communications with South Vietnam that sabotaged the Paris peace talks at the height of the 1968 presidential election campaign:
By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks – or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had “blood on his hands”.
Nixaon feared a breakthrough in Paris would doom his election chances. In late October, the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks.
Publicly Nixon was suggesting he had no idea why the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks. He even offered to travel to Saigon to get them back to the negotiating table.
Johnson felt it was the ultimate expression of political hypocrisy but in calls recorded with Clifford they express the fear that going public would require revealing the FBI were bugging the ambassador’s phone and the National Security Agency (NSA) was intercepting his communications with Saigon.
So they decided to say nothing.
The president did let Humphrey know and gave him enough information to sink his opponent. But by then, a few days from the election, Humphrey had been told he had closed the gap with Nixon and would win the presidency. So Humphrey decided it would be too disruptive to the country to accuse the Republicans of treason, if the Democrats were going to win anyway.
Instead, Nixon won, escalated the war and bombed Laos and Cambodia. An additional 22,000 Americans lost their lives and hundreds of thousands more in Southeast Asia before the peace agreement signed in 1973.