March 5, 2005


Nixon Library Cancels Vietnam Conference (Rick Shenkman, 3/05/05, HNN)

In a surprise move that has left many scholars aghast and baffled, the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace has abruptly cancelled an academic conference scheduled for April that was to examine the history of Nixon and Vietnam. The conference, already advertised in the American Historical Association's newsletter and other places, was to have featured a score of prominent Nixon scholars and critics including Stanley Kutler, Richard Reeves, Jeffrey Kimball, and Larry Berman.

The conference was jointly sponsored by the Nixon Library and Whittier College, Nixon's alma mater. In an email to participants sent last night Whittier's history department chairman, Laura McEnaney, expressed anger at the decision. Many of the participants today said that they shared her sense of outrage. Jeffrey Kimball told HNN: "It appears that the directors of the Nixon Library were concerned that professional historians, seeking historical truth based on archival evidence, would, in reporting their findings, damage Nixon's reputation by telling the truth as they found it."

John Taylor, executive director of the Library, blamed the cancellation on the absence of public interest and budget concerns, noting that "our substantial invitation mailing and advertising, in addition to whatever Whittier was able to do to pass the word, had generated seven sign-ups by the end of last week. The budget the College and we had agreed on called for 200 paid attendees." The cost of attending the two-day conference was $180, including two meals per day.

Taylor noted that he had wanted to include headliners like Robert McNamara and Henry Kissinger to draw interest. But the "College took the view then, and has reiterated it this week, that such figures would have added little if anything to the debate about the war in Vietnam."

Yeah! What do they know?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2005 6:18 AM

In McNamara's case, nothing. If he had any decency or honor or dignity or integrity, he would have withdrawn from public life and moved to Mt Athos, never to be seen or heard from again, where he could spend the rest of his miserable existence praying for his immortal soul. And Henry Kissinger should never be allowed anywhere without having to wear a sign reading in big red letters,'HIGHLY PAID APOLOGIST FOR THE DICTATORS OF BEIJING.'

Posted by: Bart at March 5, 2005 11:24 AM