52. Editorial Note
John Connally replaced David Kennedy as Secretary of the Treasury on February 11, 1971, and Kennedy was sworn in as Ambassador at Large for Foreign Economic Policy Development. On December 29, 1971, President Nixon announced that he intended to appoint Kennedy as U.S. Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which he did on March 17, 1972. Kennedy continued to serve as Ambassador at Large for Foreign Economic Policy Development and remained in that position until March 8, 1973.
On December 2, 1971, Kennedy, who was in London, sent a back channel message to Kissinger at the White House outlining his understanding of [Page 125] the parameters of his prospective appointment as Permanent Representative to NATO. To realize the President’s objective of a strong representation in NATO, Kennedy recommended, among other things, that the President make a “clear and unequivocal” statement emphasizing particularly that Kennedy was being assigned to Brussels as “Ambassador at Large and as a member of the Cabinet to illustrate the importance the President attaches to NATO and our economic relations with Europe in general.” Kennedy also requested that the Ambassadors to USEC and USOECD clear with him all important issues to “ensure the President’s policies and programs were properly and consistently presented to the Europeans.” (Attachment to letter from Kennedy to Connally, December 6; Washington National Records Center, Department of the Treasury, Records of Secretary Shultz: FRC 56 80 1, Miscellaneous)
Kissinger discussed Kennedy’s message with the President during an Oval Office meeting at noon on December 2. He reported that Kennedy was prepared to accept the NATO appointment subject to some conditions, which Kissinger explained. As Kissinger concluded, the President said “those are all fine.” He wanted “somebody who will be my man, who will play ball. Rogers probably wants him out of his hair at State anyway. Don’t tell him about the understanding.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, December 2, 1971, 11:35 a.m.-12:13 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation 628-2)