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Details About Presidential Taping

March 1, 2000

Details about presidential taping systems:

The first president to tinker with a secret recording system, Franklin Roosevelt, recorded mostly Oval Office press conferences in 1940. Sometimes, when the machine wasn’t turned off, the recorder also captured meetings and conversations.

President Truman used Roosevelt’s system to record a 1945 press conference and a few conversations.

President Eisenhower is known to have recorded at least 26 meetings, but recordings for only a handful of meetings have been found.

President Kennedy recorded 260 hours of White House meetings and telephone conversations.

As president, Johnson recorded more than 9,000 telephone conversations totaling more than 640 hours.

President Nixon recorded more than 3,700 hours of tape, including conversations about Watergate that led to his resignation.

President Ford taped only three phone calls, including a historical one to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Twelve audiocassettes that Reagan left behind have not yet been released.

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