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John D. Ehrlichman Papers, White House Special Files, 01/20/1969 - 04/30/1973
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John Ehrlichman's papers pertain to his many activities as Counsel to the President and as Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs. The files include a full set of Ehrlichman's handwritten notes of meetings with the President. Other materials of interest include records of the Domestic Council, as well as files pertaining to Supreme Court nominations, reorganization of the executive branch, welfare reform, drafts of Presidential speeches, Watergate, and other topics.
John Daniel Ehrlichman was born on March 20, 1925 in Tacoma, Washington. He received a Distinguished Flying Cross award while serving during the Second World War in the United States Army Air Corps between 1943 and 1945. After leaving the military, Ehrlichman earned a B.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1948 and a J.D. at Stanford University in 1951. He was then admitted to both the California Bar and the Washington State Bar. During the years 1952-1968, John Ehrlichman was a partner in the Seattle law firm of Hullin, Ehrlichman, Roberts and Hodge. It was during this period that he was recruited by former UCLA classmate H. R. Haldeman to work as an Advance Man in Richard Nixon’s 1960 presidential campaign. He later worked as a Scheduler in Nixon’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign. In June-November 1968, Ehrlichman was Tour Director and Director of Convention Activities for Nixon’s second presidential campaign. After Nixon’s election victory, he became Counsel to the President on January 20, 1969. Ehrlichman held several titles during his time in the Nixon administration. In November 1969, he transitioned from Counsel to Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and retained that position until May 1973. He also served as a member of the Federal Property Review Board between 1970 and 1973 as well as a member of the President’s Council on International Economic Policy during 1971-1973. John Ehrlichman was instrumental in creating the White House special investigation unit known as “The Plumbers” in the summer of 1971. Members of the unit engaged in criminal activities as part of their efforts to assist the Committee to Reelect the President – most notably, the Watergate burglary. In July 1973, as the investigation into the events surrounding Watergate intensified, President Nixon demanded and received the resignations of both John Ehrlichman and fellow staff member H. R. Haldeman. Ehrlichman testified before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities that same month. In March 1974, Ehrlichman was indicted for conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up. Four months later, on July 12, Ehrlichman, G. Gordon Liddy, Bernard L. Barker, and Eugenio Martinez were all convicted for their roles in connection with the burglary of the office of Dr. Lewis J. Fielding, psychiatrist to Daniel Ellsberg. Ehrlichman was found guilty of three counts of perjury and one of conspiracy. He was sentenced on July 31, 1974 to at least 20 months in prison. Following a second trial, John Ehrlichman was convicted on January 1, 1975 of four felony counts in connection with the Watergate break-in and cover-up, including conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury. On February 21, he was given a prison sentence of 2 ½ to 8 years. Also sentenced at that time were Haldeman and former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell. Ehrlichman entered the Swift Trail Federal Prison Camp in Safford, Arizona on October 28, 1976 and was released on April 27, 1978. After his release, he moved to Sante Fe, New Mexico. Following his time in politics, he worked as a writer, artist and commentator. The Ehrlichman family eventually moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked as Senior Vice President at the engineering firm Law Environmental. As an author, John Ehrlichman is credited with four books. These are The Company (1976), The Whole Truth (1979), Witness to Power: The Nixon Years (1982), and The China Card: A Novel (1987). Beginning in 1995, Ehrlichman collaborated on an unreleased Watergate documentary project titled John Ehrlichman: In the Eye of the Storm. Materials relating to that project are held by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia, Athens. John Ehrlichman died of diabetes-related complications at his home in Atlanta, Georgia on February 14, 1999.
31 linear feet, 1 linear inch; 71 boxes
Most government records are in the public domain, however, this series includes commercial materials, such as newspaper clippings, that may be subject to copyright restrictions. Researchers should contact the copyright holder for information.
Collection is open for research. Some materials may be unavailable based upon categories of materials exempt from public release established in the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974.