Duke University decided last week to postpone active pursuit of a planned Richard M Nixon Memorial Library because of economic and political realities, the university counsel said this week.
Eugene McDonald, who presented an oral report on the subject last week to the board of trustees, said Wednesday. "It does not seem propitious at this time to pursue aggresively a proposal" to obtain Nixon's archives.
Nevertheless, the university, located in Durham, N.C., would still seek to obtain the archives, McDonald said, adding that pursuit has been relegated to a "passive mode."
University officials and associates of the ex-President have been discussing how to bring the Nixon archives to Duke since August Nixon graduated from Duke Law School.
McDonald outined several major reasons for last week's decision. Any move to establish presidential archives requires an act of Congress, McDonald said, and Congress is currently preoccupied with budgetary concerns. He added that a request for such an act would be "politically inflammatory" in an election year. Additionally, prospects for the private solicitation of funds for the projects are not good with the present economic climate, McDonald said.
A small museum in San Clemente, California that housed a collection of Nixon's personal memorabilia closed about four months ago. Warren Esterline, editor of the San Clemente Daily Sun Post, said yesterday, because "basically not enough people came" to keep the museum open.
Pete Mitchell, curator of the closed museum, denied yesterday that the museum had any financial trouble, saying that the building that had housed the collection had been sold. He added that he was looking for a new building to house the exhibit.