”We nominated the wrong man.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower, privately expressing his doubts about Nixon to Former President Harry Truman, in 1960.
At the time it was common knowledge Harry Truman was not a fan of Richard Nixon’s. So why Eisenhower confided to Truman about Nixon was a surprise, as Nixon found out almost immediately. Richard Nixon never discussed this with President Eisenhower, but it definitely changed their relationship.
On June 3rd, 1961, Richard Nixon received a very unusual message at the Statler Hotel front desk: “Dick, I owe you the biggest apology any man ever deserves. It is very urgent you contact me immediately.”
Nixon had wadded the private message and threw it in the trash, immediately recovered by a Statler employee.
Shortly after July 24, 1959, Nixon returned to the United States from a debate held in Moscow. According to Nixon’s typed report concerning the event:
“Historical records had been discovered by the Brits that a man by the name of Kitchener refused to bow to diplomatic pressure by continuing to provide intelligence and support on the German front in World War 1. The Soviet Union is considering putting the man’s face on their currency, a first for any nation, and clearly, the western world is against that. It was a tough debate, the man may very well have saved the Soviet Union from Germany in World War 1. I was there in an advisory capacity only and my contributions were limited as the exchange was predominantly between the British and the Soviets. When my advice was requested, On behalf of the United States I advised against this, and explained that we in the west prefer our icons to remain ours and to see a man from your country on another’s country’s currency is… for lack of better words – disrespectful to the country they may hail from.”
A type-written reply to the report was sent by Eisenhower:
“Dick, I sent you to the Kitchen Debate, not the Kitchener Debate which I quite frankly have never heard of. I checked with the British and they’re aware of a Kitchen debate, but nothing by the name of Kitchener. Is this some kind of joke? If so, the joke’s over, could you please provide your report on the The Kitchen Debate? Your voyage to the Soviet Union was for a cultural debate – you agreed to go there to promote cultural understanding. Do you mind providing a real brief with your words on this debate by tomorrow, the Brits are now asking for my perspective.”
Nixon showed up to the White House not long after with Eisenhower’s response in hand. Doors to the Oval Office shut, yelling could clearly be heard through the walls.
“What in Sam hell are you talking about? It’s Kitchen debate, not Kitchener! ,” Eisenhower could be heard yelling.
“Ike, why on God’s blue Earth would we have a debate over something as trivial as culture? This sounds like a debate two women might have! For Chrissake, you even found an appropriate name for it!” responded Nixon equally as loud.
“I found nothing and you will NOT raise your voice at me in this office. You need to go have yourself checked out. Leave this office IMMEDIATELY!” Eisenhower yelled, clearly furious.
At this point it was reported that a red-faced Nixon stormed out of the Oval Office, slamming the door behind him, and within seconds, a red-faced Eisenhower emerged but it was too late, Nixon was gone.
This whole exchange caught Eisenhower’s staff off guard, as this was so wholly out of character for the regularly calm man. That’s when he demanded his staff find any evidence that Nixon was at the ‘Kitchen Debate’.
The next day Eisenhower sent the following secured photo privately to Nixon:
Attached to the photo was this hand scribbled message:
“It looks to me you were downright heated at the Kitchen debate.
Advised Khrushchev, my ass!
On June 4th, the very next day, Eisenhower himself was waiting in the lobby.
A member of the Statler staff overheard the start of the conversation:
“I had a feeling I needed to apologize in person,” said Eisenhower.
“Ike, I’m a very busy man and you’re retired. Shouldn’t you be doing something ….retired?,” said Nixon.
“I’ll get to the point quick then. Something’s going on with Russia, Richard. I didn’t believe you when you first came to me about the Kitchen Debate. Two days ago a man came to me as if I was the current leader of the United States. And just today your man Khrushchev caused a stir with Kennedy acting completely out of character when he threatened to sign a peace treaty with East Germany – subverting the pact with the allies,” said Eisenhower.
“It’s Kitchen Debate, Ike, and isn’t this a problem for the President to handle? You’ve seen to it that I have no respect on Capital Hill, why are you telling me this, now?,” Nixon responded.
At this point, the two retreated privately, but the room they retreated to was… bugged.
Sergei and I had a history, I assumed at first that’s why he came straight to me – but then Sergei said something I didn’t fully understand. Sergei’s clearly a great scientist – but he said – what if the problem is based on their perception of time itself?”
“Meaning?,” Nixon asked
“Meaning, you saw something and reported something else when you went to the Soviet Union. Sergei’s actions lead me to believe he’s seeing something else. Khrushchev acted way out of alignment of normal with Cuba. And now Kennedy’s acting completely out of character, like we have a Hollywood drama unfolding.”
“I am sorry, Ike, but you are no longer President and I am no longer taken seriously,” said Nixon.
“And that is exactly why I contacted you. We can use this to our advantage. Before I get into that, do you remember the Nazi´s Time Travel experiments?,” Eisenhower said.
“Who doesn’t? Hitler went bat shit crazy by the end, digging into the occult, and pretty much anything we call fiction,” Nixon said.
“Yet he had an entire country at his beck and arguably the most advanced technology in the world. Do you remember hearing about the Nazi Bell?,” Eisenhower said.
“Of course I do. they never produced evidence of it’s existence, ” Nixon said.
Eisenhower then slid across the table to Nixon this photo.
‘It’s official name is Die Glocke,’ Ike said, solemnly.
‘Jesus, it’s real?,’ Nixon said.
‘How would you like to lead an organization that no one is going to take seriously if they discover anything about it, because of your relation with it?´’, Eisenhower said.
‘What is in it for me?,’ Nixon said.
‘Presidency,’ Eisenhower responded.