43. Notes of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and His Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

The President thought of a couple of other things K might tell Sidey.2 The President mentioned a book by Thompson, “1940” which is the story of what really happened when Churchill came in.3 He mentioned the story about Patton and Pershing and that there were never tired decisions, only tired commanders. In terms of history, when we talk about the crusades that H.G. Wells talked about, for example the moon thing, had the effect of bringing to Western Europe not just the discovery in the East but the fact that Western Europe at that time devoted itself to a great cause beyond itself. It changed Western Europe. (The President read passages from H.G. Wells.) The President said nations must have great ideas or they cease to be great. They talked about what happened to England and France and that peoples’ greatness [Page 143] has to be extra-dimensional and move beyond themselves. The question is whether we do what we need to both abroad and in the ghettos. If we just go to the ghettos and let go abroad, apart from the destruction that might come from a war, we might destroy ourselves. Roosevelt talked about it as the white man’s burden. Both of these people were searching for that same feeling that people need.

K said he would have a talk with Sidey and do his best.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 1-10 Nov 1969. No classification marking.
  2. Hugh Sidey of Time magazine.
  3. Laurence Thompson, 1940 (New York: William Morrow, 1966).