YORBA LINDA, Calif., June 24 (UPI) -- Richard Nixon said abortion could foster "permissiveness" but could be justified in cases of rape and interracial marriages, newly released tapes reveal.
"There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that -- when you have a black and a white … or a rape," he said on the tapes, The New York Times reported.
After the Supreme Court's January 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, Nixon had made no public statement.
The tapes, released Tuesday by the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., were recorded by secret microphones in the Oval Office in January and February 1973.
In the conversations, Nixon also spoke of Watergate and the Vietnam War.
If necessary, he told Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, he would "cut off the head" of South Vietnam's president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to get him to sign a treaty to end U.S. involvement in the war, the Los Angeles Times said.
In a Jan. 20, 1973 conversation with aide Chuck Colson, Nixon said the media had stoked criticism of the bombing of Hanoi, and he labeled opponents' anti-war remarks "treasonable."
Speaking more broadly of Nixon's political opposition, Colson said it included "the blacks and the poor," the Los Angeles Times reported, and Nixon added, "and the intellectuals."