Conrad Black describes the circumstances in Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full as follows:
The inevitable swarms of conspiracy theorists claim that [Alexander]
Haig brokered a pardon for Nixon from Ford. Both Haig and Ford deny
this and have done so in identical and strenuous terms for over thirty
years at the time of writing ... Further, Nixon considered himself
a wronged and tormented man; he was not seeking anything that would
imply admission that he had done anything that justified the present
legal condition ...
At Ford's first presidential press conference, on August 28 ,
there was a question about a possible pardon of Nixon, which Ford
parried. Hugh Scott and [Nelson] Rockefeller had both said publicly
that Nixon had endured enough and should not be pursued further. Ford
said that he agreed with Scott and Rockefeller, but that there was no
judicial process under way and he thought it inappropriate to comment
further. The press took this to mean that Ford would pardon Nixon
after a trial but not before ...
In Washington, Haig had spoken to Nixon and been bombarded
with calls from his daughters and sons-in-law expressing concern about
Nixon's health and morale. David Eisenhower called President Ford on
August 28 and made the same point with him. [Leon] Jaworski advised Ford
that he was not planning to ask for an early indictment against Nixon,
but a grand jury might prefer one, and that it would take at least
nine months to get a trial started. No one seriously thought it would
be possible to empanel an impartial jury anywhere in the United
States in such a case, and the timetable Jarkowski outlined would have
the trial of the former president rolling into and trough the
election year of 1976.
Ford told his counsel, Philip Buchen, to tell Nixon's new lawyer ...
that he was considering a pardon, but that he wanted a statement from
Nixon that would be an act of contrition ... There were four drafts,
mainly composed by Nixon, who refused to acknowledge any guilt, but
was prepared to express some remorse ...
[Benton] Becker finally requested to see Nixon, so he could report to Ford on
his condition. He found the ex-president shockingly diminished in the
month since he had left Washington. He was jowly, pallid, almost
shrunken, and had a limp handshake and a distracted manner. Becker
reported to Ford that Nixon was severely depressed and he doubted if
he would life more than another couple of months.
On Sunday, September 8, Ford went on television on radio, explained
that he wished to put Watergate behind the country and the terrible
divisions it had created, and read his proclamation of a "full, free,
and absolute" pardon for Nixon.
Hope this helps.