The Center for Grassroots Oversight

This page can be viewed at http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=amid1073nixonbreak


Context of 'Mid-October, 1973: Rumors Fly of Nixon’s Emotional and Physical Breakdown'

This is a scalable context timeline. It contains events related to the event Mid-October, 1973: Rumors Fly of Nixon’s Emotional and Physical Breakdown. You can narrow or broaden the context of this timeline by adjusting the zoom level. The lower the scale, the more relevant the items on average will be, while the higher the scale, the less relevant the items, on average, will be.

President Nixon eliminates the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP), and transfers its functions to the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The GSA will take over the agency’s civil defense, continuity of government, resource management, and other emergency preparedness functions, while HUD will be responsible for disaster preparedness and relief. (Message of the President 1/26/1973; Richard M. Nixon 6/27/1973 pdf file; Wing and Walton 1/1980, pp. 35; B. Wayne Blanchard 2/5/2008, pp. 18) Similar emergency planning responsibilities are held by the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, which was established by Nixon within the Department of Defense in May 1972 (see May 5, 1972).

Stories of President Nixon’s emotional and physical debilitation circulate around Washington, with rumors of bouts of heavy drinking and depressive episodes. The press does not report these rumors, mostly because Nixon keeps himself out of the public eye, shuttling between his home in San Clemente, California, his vacation home in Key Biscayne, Florida, and Camp David. In his notes taken during a meeting about the Yom Kippur War, Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill (D-MA) writes, “President is acting very strangely.” (Reeves 2001, pp. 606)

Amid rumors and observations of President Nixon’s crumbling physical and emotional state (see Mid-October, 1973), Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) writes in a memo to himself: “I have reason to suspect that all might not be well mentally in the White House. This is the only copy that will ever be made of this; it will be locked in my safe.” The memo will not be revealed until 2001, when it is reported in Richard Reeves’s biography, President Nixon. (Reeves 2001, pp. 606)


Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike