To me, the office of the Vice Presidency of the United States is a
great office, and I feel that the people have got to have confidence
in the integrity of the men who run for that office and who might
I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or an
honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth. And that
is why I am here tonight. I want to tell you my side of the case.
I am sure that you have read the charges, and you have heard it,
that I, Senator Nixon, took $18,000 from a group of my supporters.
Now, was that wrong? And let me say that it was wrong. I am saying
it, incidentally, that it was wrong, just not illegal, because it
isn't a question of whether it was legal or illegal, that isn't
enough. The question is, was it morally wrong. I say that it was
morally wrong - if any of that $18,000 went to Senator Nixon, for my
personal use. I say that it was morally wrong if it was secretly
given and secretly handled.
And I say that it was morally wrong if any of the contributors got
special favours for the contributions that they made.
And to answer those questions, let me say this: Not a cent of the
$18,000 or any other money of that type ever went to me for my
personal use. Every penny of it was used to pay for political
expenses that I did not think should be charged to the taxpayers of
the United States. It was not a secret fund. As a matter of fact,
when I was on "Meet the Press" - some of you may have seen it last
Sunday - Peter Edson came up to me, after the program, and he said,
"Dick, what about this fund we hear about?" And I said, "Well, there
is no secret about it. Go out and see Dana Smith, who was the
administrator of the fund," and I gave him his address. And I said,
you will find that the purpose of the fund simply was to defray
political expenses that I did not feel should be charged to the
And third, let me point out, and I want to make this particularly
clear, that no contributor to this fund, no contributor to any of my
campaigns, has ever received any consideration that he would not
have received as an ordinary constituent.
I just don't believe in that, and I can say that never, while I have
been in the Senate of the United States, as far as the people that
contributed to this fund are concerned, have I made a telephone call
to an agency, nor have I gone down to an agency on their behalf. And
the records will show that, the records which are in the hands of
Well, then, some of you will say, and rightly, "Well, what did you
use the fund for, Senator? Why did you have to have it?"
Let me tell you in just a word how a Senate office operates. First
of all, the Senator gets $15,000 a year in salary. He gets enough
money to pay for one trip a year, a round trip, that is, for
himself, and his family between his home and Washington, D.C., and
then he gets an allowance to handle the people that work in his
office to handle his mail.
And the allowance, for my State of California, is enough to hire 13
people. And let me say, incidentally, that this allowance is not
paid to the Senator. It is paid directly to the individuals that the
Senator puts on his pay roll, but all of these people and all of
these allowances are for strictly official business; business, for
example, when a constituent writes in and wants you to go down to
the Veteran's Administration and get some information about his GI
policy - items of that type for example. But there are other
expenses that are not covered by the Government. And I think I can
best discuss those expenses by asking you some questions.
Do you think that when I or any other senator makes a political
speech, has it printed, should charge the printing of that speech
and the mailing of that speech to the taxpayers?
Do you think, for example, when I or any other Senator makes a trip
to his home state to make a purely political speech, that the cost
of that trip should be charged to the taxpayers?
Do you think, when a Senator makes political broadcasts or political
television broadcasts, radio or television, that the expense of
those broadcasts should be charged to the taxpayers?
I know what your answer is: It is the same answer that audiences
give me whenever I discuss this particular problem. The answer is
no. The taxpayers should not be required to finance items which are
not official business but which are primarily political business.
Well, then the question arises, you say, "Well, how do you pay for
these and how can you do it legally?" And there are several ways
that it can be done, incidentally, and it is done legally in the
United States Senate and in the Congress. The first way is to be a
rich man. So I couldn't use that.
Another way that is used is to put your wife on the pay roll. Let me
say, incidentally, that my opponent, my opposite number for the Vice
Presidency on the Democratic ticket, does have his wife on the pay
roll and has had her on his pay roll for the past ten years. Now let
me just say this: That is his business, and I am not critical of him
for doing that. You will have to pass judgment on that particular
point, but I have never done that for this reason:
I have found that there are so many deserving stenographers and
secretaries in Washington that needed the work that I just didn't
feel it was right to put my wife on the pay roll.
My wife's sitting over there She is a wonderful stenographer. She
used to teach stenography and she used to teach shorthand in high
school. That was when I met her. And I can tell you, folks, that she
has worked many hours on Saturdays and Sundays in my office, and she
has done a fine job, and I am proud to say tonight that in the six
years I have been in the Senate of the United States, Pat Nixon has
never been on the Government pay roll.
What are the other ways that these finances can be taken care of?
Some who are lawyers, and I happen to be a lawyer, continue to
practice law, but I haven't been able to do that.
I am so far away from California and I have been so busy with my
senatorial work that I have not engaged in any legal practice, and,
also, as far as law practice is concerned, it seemed to me that the
relationship between an attorney and the client was so personal that
you couldn't possibly represent a man as an attorney and then have
an unbiased view when he presented his case to you, in the event
that he had one before Government.
And so I felt that the best way to handle these necessary political
expenses of getting my message to the American people and the
speeches I made - the speeches I had printed for the most part
concerned this one message of exposing this Administration, the
Communism in it, the corruption in it - the only way I could do that
was to accept the aid which people in my home state of California,
who contributed to my campaign and who continued to make these
contributions after I was elected, were glad to make. And let me say
that I am proud of the fact that not one of them has ever asked me
for a special favour. I am proud of the fact that not one of them
has ever asked me to vote on a bill other than my own conscience
would dictate. And I am proud of the fact that the taxpayers, by
subterfuge or otherwise, have never paid one dime for expenses which
I thought were political and should not be charged top the
Let me say, incidentally, that some of you may say, "Well, that is
all right, Senator, that is your explanation, but have you got any
proof?" And I would like to tell you this evening that just an hour
ago we received an independent audit of this entire fund. I
suggested to Governor Sherman Adams, who is the Chief of Staff of
the Eisenhower campaign, that an independent audit and legal report
be obtained, and I have that audit in my hand.
It is an audit made by the Price Waterhouse & Co. firm, and the
legal opinion by Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, lawyers in Los Angeles,
the biggest law firm, and incidentally, one of the best ones in Los
I am proud to report to you tonight that this audit and legal
opinion is being forwarded to General Eisenhower, and I would like
to read to you the opinion that was prepared by Gibson, Dunn, &
Crutcher, based on all the pertinent laws, and statutes, together
with the audit report prepared by the certified public accountants.
[Nixon reads from report.]
It is our conclusion that Senator Nixon did not obtain any financial
gain from the collection and disbursement of the funds by Dana
Smith; that Senator Nixon did not violate any federal or state law
by reason of the operation of the fund; and that neither the portion
of the fund paid by Dana Smith directly to third persons, nor the
portion paid to Senator Nixon, to reimburse him for office expenses,
constituted income in a sense which was either reportable or taxable
as income under income tax laws.
Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher,
by Elmo Conley
That is not Nixon speaking, but it is an independent audit which was
requested because I want the American people to know all the facts
and I am not afraid of having independent people go in and check the
facts, and that is exactly what they did.
But then I realized that there are still some who may say, and
rightly so -- and let me say that I recognize that some will
continue to smear regardless of what the truth may be -- but that
there has been, understandably, some honest misunderstanding on this
matter, and there are some that will say, "well, maybe you were
able, Senator, to fake the thing. How can we believe what you say --
after all, is there a possibility that maybe you got some sums in
cash? Is there a possibility that you might have feathered your own
nest?" And so now, what I am going to do -- and incidentally this is
unprecedented in the history of American politics -- I am going at
this time to give to this television and radio audience a complete
financial history, everything I have earned, everything I have spent
and everything I own, and I want you to know the facts.
I will have to start early: I was born in 1913. Our family was one
of modest circumstances, and most of my early life was spent in a
store out in East Whittier. It was a grocery store, one of those
The only reason we were able to make it go was because my mother and
dad had five boys, and we all worked in the store. I worked my way
through college, and, to a great extent, through law school. And
then, in 1940, probably the best thing that ever happened to me
happened: I married Pat, who is sitting over here. We had a rather
difficult time after we were married, like so many of the young
couples who might be listening to us. I practiced law. She continued
to teach school.
Then, in 1942, I went into the service. Let me say that my service
record was not a particularly unusual one. I went to the south
pacific. I guess I'm entitled to a couple of battle stars. I got a
couple of letters of commendation. But I was just there when the
bombs were falling. And then I returned. I returned to the United
States, and in 1946, I ran for Congress. When we came out of the war
-- Pat and I -- Pat, [who] during the war had worked as a
stenographer, and in a bank, and as an economist for a Government
agency--and when we came out, the total of our savings, from both my
law practice, her teaching and all the time I was in the war, the
total for that entire period was just less than $10,000 -- every
cent of that, incidentally, was in Government bonds--well, that's
where we start, when I go into politics.
Now, whatever I earned since I went into politics--well, here it is.
I jotted it down. Let me read the notes. First of all, I have had my
salary as a Congressman and as a Senator.
Second, I have received a total in this past six years of $1,600
from estates which were in my law firm at the time that I severed my
connection with it. And, incidentally, as I said before, I have not
engaged in any legal practice, and have not accepted any fees from
business that came into the firm after I went into politics. I have
made an average of approximately $1,500 a year from non-political
speaking engagements and lectures.
And then unfortunately, we have inherited little money. Pat sold her
interest in her father's estate for $3,000, and I inherited $1,500
from my grandfather. We lived rather modestly.
For four years, we lived in an apartment in Park Fairfax, Alexandria
Virginia. The rent was $80 a month. And we saved for a time when we
could buy a house. Now that was what we took in.
What did we do with this money? What do we have today to show for
it? This will surprise you because it is so little, I suppose, as
standards generally go of people in public life.
First of all, we've got a house in Washington, which cost $41,000
and on which we owe $20,000. We have a house in Whittier,
California, which cost $13,000 and on which we owe $3,000. My folks
are living there at the present time.
I have just $4,000 in life insurance, plus my GI policy which I have
never been able to convert, and which will run out in two years.
I have no life insurance whatever on Pat. I have no life insurance
on our two youngsters Patricia and Julie. I own a 1950 Oldsmobile
car. We have our furniture. We have no stocks and bonds of any type.
We have no interest, direct or indirect, in any business. Now that
is what we have. What do we owe?
Well, in addition to the mortgages, the $20,000 mortgage on the
house in Washington and the $10,000 mortgage on the house in
Whittier, I owe $4,000 to the Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C., with
an interest at 4 percent.
I owe $3,500 to my parents, and the interest on that loan, which I
pay regularly, because it is a part of the savings they made through
the years they were working so hard - I pay regularly 4 percent
interest. And then I have a $500 loan, which I have on my life
Well, that's about it. That's what we have. And that's what we owe.
It isn't very much. But Pat and I have the satisfaction that every
dime that we have got is honestly ours.
I should say this, that Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does
have a respectable Republican cloth coat, and I always tell her she
would look good in anything.
One other thing I should probably tell you, because if I don't, they
will probably be saying this about me, too. We did get something, a
gift, after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio
mention that our two youngsters would like to have a dog, and,
believe it or not, the day we left before this campaign trip we got
a message from Union Station in Baltimore, saying they had a package
for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was?
It was a little cocker spaniel dog, in a crate that he had sent all
the way from Texas, black and white, spotted, and our little girl
Tricia, the six year old, named it "Checkers."
And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the dog, and I just
want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about
it, we are going to keep it!
It isn't easy to come before a nation-wide audience and bare your
life, as I have done. But I want to say some things before I
conclude, that I think most of you will agree on.
Mr. Mitchell, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee,
made this statement, that if a man couldn't afford to be in the
United States Senate, he shouldn't run for Senate. And I just want
to make my position clear.
I don't agree with Mr. Mitchell when he says that only a rich man
should serve his Government in the United States Senate or Congress.
I don't believe that represents the thinking of the Democratic
Party, and I know it doesn't represent the thinking of the
I believe that it's fine that a man like Governor Stevenson, who
inherited a fortune from his father, can run for President. But I
also feel that it is essential in this country of ours that a man of
modest means can also run for President, because, you know -
remember Abraham Lincoln - you remember what he said - "God must
have loved the common people, he made so many of them."
And now I'm going to suggest some courses of conduct. First of all,
you have read in the papers about other funds, now, Mr. Stevenson
apparently had a couple. One of them in which a group of business
people paid and helped to supplement the salaries of state
employees. Here is where the money went directly into their pockets,
and I think that what Mr. Stevenson should do should be to come
before the American people, as I have, give the names of the people
that contributed to that fund, give the names of the people who put
this money into their pockets, at the same time that they were
receiving money from their state government and see what favours, if
any, they gave out for that.
I don't condemn Mr. Stevenson for what he did, but until the facts
are in there is a doubt that would be raised. And as far as Mr.
Sparkman is concerned, I would suggest the same thing. He's had his
wife on the pay roll. I don't condemn him for that, but I think that
he should come before the American people and indicate what outside
sources of income he has had. I would suggest that under the
circumstances both Mr. Sparkman and Mr. Stevenson should come before
the American people, as I have, and make a complete financial
statement as to their financial history, and if they don't, it will
be an admission that they have something to hide.
And I think you will agree with me - because, folks, remember, a man
that's to be President of the United States, a man that is to be
Vice President of the United States, must have the confidence of all
the people. And that's why I'm doing what I'm doing and that is why
I suggest that Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Sparkman, if they are under
attack, that should be what they are doing.
Now let me say this: I know this is not the last of the smears. In
spite of my explanation tonight, other smears will be made. Others
have been made in the past. And the purpose of the smears, I know,
is this, to silence me, to make me let up. Well, they just don't
know who they are dealing with. I'm going to tell you this: I
remember in the dark days of the Hiss trial some of the same
columnists, some of the same radio commentators who are attacking me
know and misrepresenting my position, were violently opposing me at
the time I was after Alger Hiss. But I continued to fight because I
knew I was right, and I can say to this great television and radio
audience, that I have no apologies to the American people for my
part in putting Alger Hiss where he is today. And as far as this is
concerned, I intend to continue to fight.
Why do I feel so deeply? Why do I feel that in spite of the smears,
the misunderstanding, the necessity for a man to come up here and
bare his soul? And I want to tell you why.
Because, you see, I love my country. And I think my country is in
danger. And I think the only man that can save America at this time
is the man that's running for President, on my ticket, Dwight
You say, why do I think it is in danger? And I say look at the
record. Seven years of the Truman-Acheson Administration, and what's
happened? Six hundred million people lost to Communists.
And a war in Korea in which we have lost 117,000 American
casualties, and I say that those in the State Department that made
the mistakes which caused that war and which resulted in those
losses should be kicked out of the State Department just as fast as
we can get them out of there.
And let me say that I know Mr. Stevenson won't do that, because he
defends the Truman policy, and I know that Dwight Eisenhower will do
that, and he will give America the leadership that it needs. Take
the problem of corruption. You have read about the mess in
Washington. Mr. Stevenson can't clean it up because he was picked by
the man, Truman under whose Administration the mess was made.
You wouldn't trust the man who made the mess to clean it up. That is
Truman. And by the same token, you can't trust the man who was
picked by the man who made the mess to clean it up and that's
Stevenson. And so I say, Eisenhower, who owes nothing to Truman,
nothing to the big city bosses - he is the man who can clean up the
mess in Washington.
Take Communism. I say as far as that subject is concerned, the
danger is greater to America. In the Hiss case, they got the secrets
which enabled them to break the American secret State Department
They got secrets in the atomic-bomb case which enabled them to get
the secret of the atomic bomb five years before they would have
gotten it by their own devices. And I say that any man who called
the Alger Hiss case a red herring isn't fit to be President of the
I say that a man who, like Mr. Stevenson, has pooh-poohed and
ridiculed the Communist threat in the United States--he has accused
us, that have attempted to expose the Communists, of looking for
Communists in the Bureau of Fisheries and Wildlife. I say that a man
who says that isn't qualified to be President of the United States.
And I say that the only man who can lead us into this fight to rid
the Government of both those who are Communists and those who have
corrupted this Government is Eisenhower, because General Eisenhower,
you can be sure, recognizes the problem, and knows how to handle it.
Let me say this, finally. This evening I want to read to you just
briefly excerpts from a letter that I received, a letter which after
all this is over, no one can take away from us. It reads as follows:
Dear Senator Nixon,
Since I am only 19 years of age, I can't vote in this presidential
election, but believe me, if I could, you and General Eisenhower
would certainly get my vote. My husband is in the Fleet Marines in
Korea. He is in the front lines. And we have a two month old son he
has never seen. And I feel confident that with great Americans like
you and General Eisenhower in the White House, lonely Americans like
myself will be united with their loved ones now in Korea. I only
pray to God that you won't be too late. Enclosed is a small check to
help you with your campaign. Living on $85 a month it is all I can
Folks, it is a check for $10, and it is one that I shall never cash.
And let me just say this: We hear a lot about prosperity these days,
but I say, why can't we have prosperity built on peace, rather than
prosperity built on war? Why can't we have prosperity and an honest
Government in Washington, D.C. at the same time?
Believe me, we can. And Eisenhower is the man that can lead the
crusade to bring us that kind of prosperity.
And now, finally, I know that you wonder whether or not I am going
to stay on the Republican ticket or resign. Let me say this: I don't
believe that I ought to quit, because I am not a quitter. And,
incidentally, Pat is not a quitter. After all, her name is Patricia
Ryan and she was born on St. Patrick's Day, and you know the Irish
But the decision, my friends, is not mine. I would do nothing that
would harm the possibilities of Dwight Eisenhower to become
President of the United States. And for that reason, I am submitting
to the Republican National Committee tonight through this television
broadcast the decision which it is theirs to make. Let them decide
whether my position on the ticket will help or hurt. And I am going
to ask you to help them decide. Wire and write the Republican
National Committee whether you think I should stay on or whether I
should get off. And whatever their decision, I will abide by it.
But let me just say this last word. [Nixon rises from chair and
points to the camera.] Regardless of what happens, I am going to
continue this fight. I am going to campaign up and down America
until we drive the crooks and the Communists and those that defend
them out of Washington, and remember folks, Eisenhower is a great
man. Folks, he is a great man, and a vote for Eisenhower is a vote
for what is good for America...