96. Memorandum From the President’s Military Assistant (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
Per your instructions, I have prepared a memorandum for you including talking points for your use in your meeting with the President tomorrow.2 I have pondered this most difficult of problems at great length this weekend and have concluded that you should not raise this issue in either the terms I have outlined or in any other terms unless you have in your own mind definitely decided to leave Government without any qualms or reservations. In my view, there is no way to pose a set of alternatives to the President along the lines outlined which will not ultimately result in your departure. As I told you earlier, I believe the President will pay any price to keep you happy and on board, but only at the expense of a bill which he will collect on later and probably to your disadvantage.[Page 214]
I am confident that the President has been completely aware of your problems with Rogers, perhaps to a greater degree than you realize. If you are to hit him with the hard alternative now, it should not be with the view toward achieving a temporary victory which will ultimately deteriorate, but rather with the view toward providing him with notice that you intend to leave as soon as it can be conveniently managed.
I recognize the risks that your continuation in this job will pose for you personally and even for the country in the long run; however, I also believe that the overriding consideration is our country’s current need for the kind of counsel and advice that only you have been able to provide in the present structure of things. Thus, after careful thought, I am against your taking this course of action now.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 148, State/WH Relationship, Vol. 3. Secret; Nodis; Exclusively Eyes Only. Haig wrote in hand at the top of the first page: “my file only; get all other copies Laura has.”↩
- The attached memorandum is printed but not the talking points.↩
- Document 70.↩
- See Document 95.↩
- According to the President’s Daily Diary, Kissinger had lunch and met with Nixon at Camp David from noon to 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, February 22. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files) Haldeman recorded in his diary entry for February 23: “K back from his journey Saturday night. Reported to P Sunday at Camp David. Is pretty pleased, feels made a start towards some real progress. Long talks and he was (he says) very tough.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition)↩