August 18, 1973 – The end of a hair-raising week worth of Watergate and the end of an excursion into Cambodia.
On August 14th, the bombing campaign of Cambodia by American Air Force bombers came to an end. By resolution passed in May, the bombing and incursion of U.S. troops came to an end, and our role in Cambodia was over. The Cambodian government was on its own and it was one more element in our slow withdrawal from the seemingly endless nightmare in Southeast Asia.
But much of that was overshadowed by the continuing saga of Watergate and the embattled Nixon White House. Once again, President Nixon took to the airwaves to reiterate a position he took earlier in the year; that he had no prior knowledge of the Watergate Break-in and coverup. It was clear support for Nixon was eroding, as revelation after revelation stunned and dismayed the American public. The believability of Nixon’s innocence was getting less and less acceptable. And every day some new development came to light, adding to an already disturbing turn of events. Polls showed that only 22% of American people believed Nixon was telling the whole truth. The vast majority convinced there was a lot more to come. The question of innocence was no longer an issue, but the issue of how long this was going to go on and what other new, horrific discovery was going to be made added a new sense of dread hanging over the Presidency.
Making matters worse for Nixon was a demand the White House hand over all the Watergate-related tapes recorded in the Oval Office. Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox filed a brief, contending that the law required the President to turn over the pertinent parts of those tapes. The White House Legal staff replied that President Nixon was “above the law until and unless impeached”.
And the drama continued.
That’s a small slice of how the world went this week, as presented by CBS Radio and The World This Week for the week ending August 18, 1973.