372. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Shultz)1

K: I take it you wanted to talk about that memo.

S: I wanted your reaction.

[Page 807]

K: I think if you want action on that and give it to the Secy. of State he will go with it and switch it to State. It’s just not clear enough. If you want substance of what we are talking about you cannot avoid a fight. It may not be open but it will be real. The only thing that Bill is interested in is State Dept. status and you are wasting your breath on arguments. You have to make clear who is in charge. He will chair the Secretary’s group. I wouldn’t put in this that State, Treasury. I don’t think State has the staff to do it. The only agency that could do staff work is Treasury and that’s not good.

S: These are the Depts. that have the most people and greatest amount of potential.

K: You have to tell the President exactly what you recommend. You have to tell him other points of view. Unless you get yourself or whoever as chairman, you will be in an endless guerrilla war.

S: Suggest a change in the way it’s written and I will attempt it.

K: I would do a memo with my recommendations. Two pages saying what it should be. Do other memo on why you have objected other possibilities. That will still give everyone a hearing.

S: You think that memo is too long.

K: I think it’s too wishy-washy, to be impolite, in so far as what this group is supposed to do on the whole foreign economic strategy. Secondly, on the way the papers flow into the Cabinet level committee. You see, the big bureau departments like Cabinet level committees to gas around; since they control the action they can do it through the cables. Unless you create a focal point through which you can force the ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? on the key items, it’s an endless battle. This is just too vague. “A working group ? ? ? ? ? ?” And then you give him 4 choices.

S: At that point that could be changed and a paragraph of arguments of putting it into EOB could be inserted.

K: And explain the chairman more fully and what the chairman should do.

S: If you want to make some notes on that I will appreciate it and I will work on it tonight.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 364, Telephone Records, Chronological File. No classification marking. The conversation, which began at 4:50 p.m., appears to reference topics contained in Document 369.