387. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
  • Senator J. Glenn Beall
  • NSC Staff—John Lehman

Dr. Kissinger expressed his regret that Senator Beall’s illness and the requirements of the President had forced the cancellation of several previously scheduled visits. He expressed his great appreciation [Page 843] for Senator Beall’s firm support on issues of national security in the Senate.

Senator Beall stated that he would very much like to have Dr. Kissinger’s reaction to his proposed bill to create a joint Congressional-Presidential Commission to study the question of War Powers. He stated that the question had cooled somewhat since he first drew up the bill but that he expected it to hot-up once again in January. His purpose in drawing up the bill was two-fold:

It would be a useful study to have done for its own sake to clear the air on a number of issues.
It would be an effective measure to counter the strong and unacceptable Javits Bill.

At this point, Beall noted that he had been a co-sponsor of the Javits Bill when he was in the House but had since seen the error of his ways.

Dr. Kissinger replied that he saw much merit in the Beall approach but at the present time he wanted to delay the issue and thought it wiser to wait in introducing it.

Beall agreed.

Dr. Kissinger then briefly reviewed the bill itself and suggested that we had some reservations about the organization and the mandate of the commission but that these were technical rather than fundamental.

Senator Beall replied that he would be happy to work with us at the proper time to incorporate our suggestions in his bill.

Dr. Kissinger noted in particular the danger that failure to give close attention to the commission membership and the staffing held. He noted with dismay a great increase in irresponsibility in the groves of academe. He noted, that in his day intellectuals were all vigorously anti-Congress and pro-Executive branch, a natural proclivity since the intellectual establishment is at heart anti-democratic and elitist. Now, however, with a Republican President, and Senator Fulbright and the Foreign Relations Committee leading the pro-Congress wing, the intellectual community has changed its position 180 degrees. Dr. Kissinger further noted that an important source of the problem was to be found among the staff of individual senators and committees, many of whom are frustrated FSO’s (FSO’s being a difficult enough problem when they’re not frustrated). Senator Beall fully agreed with Dr. Kissinger’s comment that it is ironic that even the Republicans are having a difficult time in adjusting to a pro-Executive stance now that they have possession of the White House; Republican senators especially seem to have an ingrained instinct to have at the President.

Dr. Kissinger then stated that he agreed with some of Senator Javits’ points and had discussed his bill at length with him. There is no [Page 844] doubt, he stated, that this issue was a real problem, and that perhaps after ‘72 with a second term, the President himself might get behind a full reexamination of the question. Dr. Kissinger then noted that the Administration position and Senator Beall’s were very close, and that after January, Senator Beall should work with Mr. Lehman to refine the proposed bill.

[Omitted here is discussion of Vietnam and other legislative issues.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Subject Files, Box 315, Congressional, Vol. 3. Marked Secret on p. 1 and For Official Use Only on pp. 2–3. Drafted by Lehman. The meeting was held in Kissinger’s office.