Nixon Knew What He Liked in Art and Wine, Memos Show

Associated Press

Former President Richard M. Nixon wrote myriad memoranda while in office on subjects ranging from modern art to the quality of French wines served at state dinners, according to a new book.

Excerpts from “FROM: The President, Richard Nixon’s Secret Files,” edited by Bruce Oudes and published by Harper & Row, appear in People magazine’s Dec. 5 issue. They show that Nixon peppered his staff and family alike with memos signed “The President” and often referred to himself as “RN.”

Some examples:

Jan. 9, 1970, to U.S. Information Agency Director Frank Shakespeare: “What is the situation with regard to the horrible modern art in some of our embassies? I realize we can’t censor this stuff, but I would like a report as to what embassies have some of these atrocious objects.”


March 16, 1970, to Nixon assistant H. R. Haldeman: “Would you please have the Bordeaux years checked? I know that ’59 is an excellent year, even with my unsophisticated taste; but my recollection is that ’66 is one of the poor years. The reason I ask is that we seem to have a huge stock of ’66 Bordeaux on hand, and I wondered why.”

July 24, 1972, to daughters Tricia and Julie: “It occurs to me that from time to time you may be asked for anecdotes which would relate to some of the political events that have occurred over the years. . . . On a personal side, you might mention some of our Christmas parties when I played the piano for group singing, etc., always by ear. . . . You can say that these kinds of events are not publicly known, but they have been part of the Nixon story that is to you most heartwarming.”