Nixon during Watergate

Another blog post on President Richard Nixon’s activities during the Watergate investigation. The first one can be found here.

In June of 1973, Nixon hosted Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev for a second round of talks on arms reductions known as Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). They traveled around to a number of locations including Camp David and Nixon’s vacation home in San Clemente, California. They also met aboard the U.S.S. Sequoia, the presidential yacht, and the photograph below shows them engaged in a lively conversation on the yacht. Nixon and Brezhnev established a relatively cordial relationship despite the intensity of their negotiations. In fact Nixon presented Brezhnev with a Lincoln Continental at Camp David, which turned into a wild ride for the president as portrayed in this video.

Nixon and Breshnev meeting

Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev aboard the U.S.S. Sequoia discussing arms reductions (June 1963). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 24, Folder 9. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

In July of 1973, Nixon hosted the Shah of Iran and his wife, Farah Pahlavi, at the White House. This diplomatic meeting was held to counterbalance the regional power of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. Britain had pulled its military out of the region by the late 1960s, so Nixon and Henry Kissinger, the U.S. Secretary of State, allowed the sale of advanced military weapons to Iran in order to maintain a strategic ally. Iran bordered the Soviet Union, so the assumption was the Soviet Union would not attempt to invade a heavily armed neighbor. Of course, the United States’ reliance on oil from the region also influenced the decision to arm an oil-producing country that was perceived as friendly towards the United States.

Nixon, Mrs. Nixon, Shah of Iran, and

(From left to right) The Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi), Richard Nixon, Farah Pahlavi, and Pat Nixon greeting the crowd from a balcony at the White House (July 1973). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 46, Folder 11. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area finding aid updated

The League of Women Voters (LWV) was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the women’s suffragist movement. Its purpose is to encourage citizens to participate actively in government by supporting the party of their choice. While the LWV is a nonpartisan organization, and therefore does not support individual candidates, it does take a position on issues of a national, state, and local scale selected by the membership. In the past the LWV has garnered support for such issues as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, and equal opportunity for women in government.

I recently had the opportunity to update the finding aid for the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax area with new accessions from 2012 and 2013. Within these new accessions I noticed a folder for the Observer Corps with materials dating from 1970 to 1980. Inside the folder is an Observer’s Manual from the League of Women Voters of Michigan. I was instantly interested. What is the Observer Corps, I wondered. The graphic on the manual is of a young woman peeking from behind a notebook.

Observer’s Manual, League of Women Voters of Michigan, December 1970. League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area records, Collection #C0031, Box 72, Folder 2. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University.

Apparently members of the Observer Corps go to meetings of interest, observe the proceedings, and report back to the League through a short report that is featured in a bulletin. A position description from 1980 specifies qualifications such as: “1. Interest in government and desire to learn. 2. Ability to keep eyes and ears open and mouth shut. 3. Reliability.” According to issues of the Fairfax Voter from 2010 and 2012 it seems that the Fairfax league has restarted their Observer Corps and is looking for interested individuals.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth!

Key to the city of Fairfax from the Joseph L. Fisher papers, Collection #C0028, Box 116, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University.

Although we don’t collect a lot of political memorabilia, this key to the city of Fairfax from the Joseph L. Fisher collection is a pretty cool piece. It was given to Fisher on July 4, 1979.

Fisher’s career, spanning over fifty years, included planner member of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia’s 10th congressional district (1974-1981), Virginia Secretary of Human Resources, special assistant to the president of George Mason University, and president of the National Academy of Public Administration. In addition, Fisher was deeply involved in community activities, having been chairman of the Arlington County Board, chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), president and chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG), and moderator and chairman of the board of the Unitarian Universalist Association. He also wrote several books, including World Prospects for Natural Resources (1964) and Resources in America’s Future (1963).

The Joseph L. Fisher collection relates to Fisher’s career as an economist, educator, and U.S. Congressman. The materials include lectures and comments on conservation and natural resources, scrapbooks, pamphlets, appointment books, and correspondence. Materials that relate to his political career in U.S. House of Representatives include correspondence, speeches, press releases, reports, newspaper clippings, issue papers, testimony, statements, questionnaires, background publications, guidelines, charts, and legislation.

The finding aid for the Fisher collection has been recently updated.