6. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: Mr. President.

N: Hi, Henry. One point. I’m going to do the briefing on this thing, and then Ron may catch it later. But I may get a question as to whether you’re going to Saigon. I think I should just say no, the Vice President is in Saigon discussing matters, and that Ambassador . . .

K: And you might consider . . .

N: And Ambassador Sullivan will go there after your trip.

K: Right.

N: How does that sound to you?

K: That sounds . . .

N: I don’t think we should leave it that, uh.

K: That I might.

N: That, well, because the way it is here in the thing that somebody prepared for Ron, one of your people apparently. This is all we have on Dr. Kissinger’s schedule at the present time. Well that immediately will put pressure on you to go to Saigon. And that will, well, you know what I mean—you don’t want to go to Saigon.

K: No, no.

N: Well, I’ll just say Sullivan will go to Saigon.

K: That’s very good, Mr. President.

N: Is that all right? And I’m just going to say, no, you have no plans to go to Saigon. The Vice President is consulting with the leaders of the South Vietnamese government and you are going to Hanoi. How does that sound?

K: That sounds very good, Mr. President. You might . . .

N: It gets you totally off the hook on it.

K: And when you talk about Thieu, meeting with Thieu, if you could put it into March, or not before March.

N: Oh, yes, yes.

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K: It would help with the North Vietnamese.

N: Oh, I would say, yes, later this spring—sometime this spring.

K: Sometime this spring.

N: I think this spring, that’s better.

K: That would be the best.

N: Because I sure as hell don’t plan to have it, believe me, until about the first of April. That’s when I’m thinking of, you know.

N: Because there’s no reason for us to. He’ll get along.

K: Right.

N: You see, the point is, once we get it staffed and so forth then we can announce when he’s coming. Okay, I thought that was the case. You see, we’ve got a good excuse. We have already told the Foreign Minister we had Mrs. Meir coming and all that.

K: That’s right.

N: All right, fine, Henry. Thank you.

K: Right, Mr. President

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 18, Chronological File. No classification marking. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon was meeting with Ron Ziegler in the Executive Office Building when he placed the telephone call to Kissinger. (Ibid., White House Central Files)