Deputy Assistant to President Nixon;
Secretary to the Cabinet


Summaries and notes concerning the July 13, 1973 interview at which Butterfield revealed the existence of the White House taping system.

ca. 150 pages

Joseph Levine and the George Mason University Foundation (accession number 84-39)

Open. Shorthand notes are closed pending their translation into standard script.

Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them.

David Horrocks, April 1985; revised by Stacy Davis, March 2007
[s:\bin\findaid\butterfield, alexander - papers.doc]


Alexander P. Butterfield

1926 - Born in Pensacola, Florida

1949-69 - United States Air Force

1956 - B.S., University of Maryland

1967 - M.S., George Washington University

1969-73 - Deputy Assistant to President Nixon; and Secretary to the Cabinet

1973-75 - Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration

1975-76 - Lecturer, senior management consultant

1977-79 - Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, International Air Service Co. Ltd. (San Francisco); California Life Corporation (Los Angeles)

1979-80 - President and Chief Operating Officer, International Air Service Co. Ltd.; California Life Corporation

1981-1983 - Chairman, GMA Corporation and Global Network, Inc. (Los Angeles)

1984-94 - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Armistead and Alexander, Inc. (Los Angeles)

1995 - Retired

1999-2004 - Undergraduate and Graduate Student, University of California, San Diego

2004 - M.A., University of California, San Diego

2004-2006 - Chairman, Chancellor’s Associates, University of California, San Diego


The Alexander Butterfield Papers exclusively concern Butterfield's July 13, 1973 interview with staff of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (Ervin Committee), which was investigating the Watergate burglary and related illegal activities. During the interview in response to direct questions, Butterfield made his historic disclosure that presidential conversations in the Oval Office and elsewhere had been secretly taped record at the direction of President Nixon. A few days later, on July 16, Butterfield repeated the disclosure in open committee testimony before live television cameras. The effect was electric, and the White House tapes and their contents remained at the center of the controversy leading to Nixon's resignation from office on August 9, 1974.

The papers consist of stenographer Marianne Brazer's shorthand transcript of the interview, her handwritten verbatim transcript of what she deemed the "salient" portions of the interview, and an Addendum summarizing those portions of the interview which concerned the taping system. Ford Library archivists have added photocopies of two documents in the Ervin Committee records at the National Archives: a copy of the Addendum with extensive comments and corrections in Butterfield's handwriting; and a summary of the many parts of the interview which did not relate to the taping system. This last document is interesting not just for "Watergate" information, but for information on Oval Office paper flow and recordkeeping in general. Butterfield managed the flow of paper to President Nixon.

At the time of his testimony, Butterfield was the recently appointed head of the Federal Aviation Administration. He was previously Deputy Assistant to President Nixon and Secretary to the Cabinet. Butterfield remained as head of the FAA until President Ford requested his resignation in March 1975.


Box 1 - Alexander Butterfield Interview Notes and Transcript

  • Interview Summary or Addendum
  • Interview Transcript [shorthand]
  • Interview Transcript of "Salient" Portions
  • Photocopies of related documents in the Ervin Committee Records at the National Archives