244. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of Defense Laird and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

L: Something came up over here . . . I haven’t cut in all the people at State—Sullivan hasn’t been briefed as far as the logistics build-up in Vietnam. Dave was in the WSAG meeting the other day2 and didn’t think he should point out we were transferring the A–1’s by September.

K: You can’t do that. That was not to be done!

L: The President’s order that I received said transfer those aircraft programmed by 1972.

K: It was not the intention to take them away from Laos.

L: You are sure of that?

K: I am positive, but I will check.

L: These are in Thailand.

K: I am positive this was not his intention.

L: I interpreted it . . . but it needs no interpretation . . . that all those planned for delivery to South Vietnam . . .

K: I am sure the President didn’t focus on this. He meant equipment in Vietnam.

L: Only equipment in Vietnam? We are transferring a lot of stuff from the U.S.

K: That’s all right—but not from Laos.

L: I have 22 ships loading. But Dave felt he shouldn’t discuss it with the WSAG group.

K: That was good of Dave, but I am sure he didn’t mean taking away from Laos. You had better cancel that part of it.

[Page 872]

L: We better get to the Vietnamese. I think we should sit down and go over the logistics movements I am making.

K: We better do that. Let me get back to you this afternoon.3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 11, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 241.
  3. No record of another conversation on August 12 was found. Kissinger and Laird spoke about the issue of troop levels on August 13, 12:30 p.m. According to a transcript of their conversation, Kissinger insisted that “11 or 13 divisions is the issue. We have to have one in Hawaii.” Laird assured him that “if we have 13 divisions there will be one in Hawaii. No problem with that.” Laird ended the conversation by stating he wished they could have met with the President that afternoon but “of course if the President is busy we will do it another time.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 11, Chronological File)