129. Editorial Note

On November 28, 1970, the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Alexander Haig forwarded to the President’s Assistant H.R. Haldeman five items that he considered “indicative of the problems we are having with the Department of State.” One item, for example, was a Jack Anderson column stating that “diplomats are saying Richard Nixon may go down in history as the President who lost Latin America.” In his covering memorandum, Haig contended that the “lack of discipline” was “largely attributable to known or imagined differences between the White House and State Department. Secretary Rogers is a major factor,” but “even on issues where the Secretary may not be directly involved Department personnel know they can exploit the existence of a divergence between Secretary Rogers and Dr. Kissinger as they pursue their own policy conceptions whether or not they coincide with approved Presidential policies. I cannot overemphasize the concern with which I view this problem area within security terms and in terms of the problems which it will pose for the President as ’72 approaches.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 148, State/WH Relationship, Vol. 3)

On both December 3 and 4, the President discussed the problem of State Department leaking with Haldeman. On December 4, according to Haldeman’s diary entry, Nixon told him that he should definitely “go ahead on the talk with Rogers, making the point that there are two different fights involved here. One is with [Kissinger] and Rogers, and that the P[resident], of course, has to side with Rogers on. But the second one is much more important: that’s the foreign service vs. the P. There it’s unforgivable, and the P is going to have heads [Page 278] rolling. Since Cambodia, they’ve been taking on the P, leaking, etc. These things don’t just happen, and from now on, it’s us or them. State can’t be told anything, and that’s the way it is.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition)

At the same time the President asked for a record of press leaks attributable to State which undercut Presidential policy. On December 7 Haig sent the President a 23-page detailed description of more than 70 press leaks concerning, among other topics, Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and SALT. In his covering memorandum Haig stated the leaks were “clearly and probably attributable to State” and indicated a “a consistent pattern of dissent.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 148, State/WH Relationship, Vol. 3)