230. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and His Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: Mr. President.

P: Hello. Itʼs all directly on just what we discussed.

K: And what are they going to do?

P: Stick with the ceasefire and withdrawal and give nothing at all on that. That he [Rogers] says is Pakistanʼs position.

K: Exactly.

P: The Somalia Resolution2 basically.

K: Exactly.

P: And he said that was what we would do and we would stick right with it and I said, “Absolutely …” He said that was what he was going to do and I said thatʼs what I wanted done. So, thatʼs that.

K: Terrific, Mr. President.

P: Now, I asked him what the hell we could do about the British, the French. He said nothing. So dammit, I think—well, the British I guess want to get along with India in the future. I said to him that I didnʼt think there was a hell of a lot that—he said that the British had to be on the winning side as you said because they figured they had to get along with India in the future. I said, “Well, maybe it means [Page 644] something to them but it doesnʼt mean anything to us except a $10 billion drag in foreign aid over the last 20 years.” I said, “Maybe let the Russians pick up that tab.” Well, that sort of shook him. He said, well, we really didnʼt want to get that out too much because you know it will look [omission in the source text] I said, no, Iʼm just referring to what we do and thatʼs what I mean. I donʼt think even you, Henry, [know] how tough I feel about that aid business. We are not going to aid countries that engage in aggression and then donʼt do a goddamn thing when we ask them to get out.

K: Mr. President, if we donʼt [do?] act this toughly, Iʼm completely aboard. This is going to be a dress rehearsal for the Middle East in the spring.

P: Thatʼs right, thatʼs right.

K: And Iʼm much more worried about the impact on the Russians.

P: Right.

K: And in fact we ought to consider seriously getting Vorontsov in and telling him if the Russians continue this line, these talks on the Middle East and others just arenʼt going to be possible.

P: Yeah. Well, get him in. Why donʼt you send a letter from me to Brezhnev?

K: All right.

P: Why not play it a little tougher and just say that I have very good talks—Iʼve got an idea, just let me look at it tomorrow—I had very good talks with Mrs. Meir when we were here and that we can make progress on this matter at our further discussions there possibly. However, I must tell you that in the event that this present situation goes on in Pakistan that that will seriously jeopardize those talks.

K: Excellent, I think you should.

P: And a letter from me to him. Letʼs see what happens.

K: Or at least a message.

P: Huh? Whatʼs that?

K: I think thatʼs right.

P: It may or may not help but letʼs—but that will pass on. See, in other words, do it in a way that we are passing on to him that we have made very good progress. Now, Mr. Chairman, we would like to know what you are going to do on this, we are keeping our side but I am very distressed after the talks Iʼve had with Mr. Gromyko and Dr. Kissinger has had with Mr. Dobrynin to see what are the developments here in India and Pakistan. Now, the point is, what do we want the Russians to do though? You know, about India and Pakistan.

K: They could get it stopped. They could at least take a more helpful line in the UN.

[Page 645]

P: Yeah. Well, how about getting that message to him immediately. Now, that should not be public, you understand. I donʼt want that to be out in the public.

K: Oh, no, no. We could do that as an oral message.

P: An oral message. But to who, that stupid Dobrynin.

K: No, no; to Vorontsov here. Dobryninʼs DCM.

P: Well, I want it to be from me to Brezhnev.

K: You donʼt want it in writing, do you?

P: It doesnʼt bother me, if that will help. Whatever will help the most do.

K: Well, let me draft something and show it to you first thing in the morning.

P: Why, what would be the dis—well, the main thing—rather than waiting a day, if itʼs going to be oral, get him in today.

K: Okay, why donʼt I get Vorontsov in today.

P: Get him in today and tell him Iʼve just talked with you on the phone; that the President would send this in writing but he wants this oral message to go from him; I donʼt want to use the hotline; you know, give him a little of that crap and that, Mr. Chairman, we have developed this very good relationship, Iʼm delighted but I must be very frank with you. On [At] first in the Mid-East we made very great progress and I would be interested to discuss this—Dr. Kissinger will discuss with Dobrynin when he returns. Then, now, on India–Pakistan we find your attitude very hard to understand and what are you going to do? And we have got to play it with that with them on that and the same time, Henry, on the—it will make them realize thatʼs where our three-day strike is also going to help.

K: Exactly.

P: You see, we have just got to—and Bill to my surprise, I didnʼt do any convincing so apparently whatever the WSAG meetings or something, he got …

K: Oh, yeah, I gave it very hard to Sisco so he got it from Sisco.…

P: He was totally on board.

K: Good.

P: But all he said was, he says Iʼm glad—I told him what a good job Sisco had done but that didnʼt seem to—he said, well, fine; we couldnʼt have done it until now though because we wouldnʼt have had the public opinion on our side.

K: Yeah.

P: Thatʼs wrong, of course, we should have done it earlier.

K: Right, we should have done it earlier.

P: But, nevertheless, it was well worth doing now rather than not at all.

[Page 646]

K: Exactly.

P: But, Henry, donʼt feel that the whole thing is lost yet—

K: Oh, I donʼt think itʼs lost if we play it hard.

P: And incidentally, when I say play it hard, let me understand, we are not going to roll over after they have done this horrible thing. They [We] are not going to roll over and say, “Now, India, everything will be like it was and weʼll come help you again.” And I mean we will cut the gizzard out and let the Russians come help the Indians.

K: Right.

P: The arguments from the New York Times and others will be “we will buy ourselves a century or decades of hatred and suspicion from the Indian people.” Bullshit! What is [has] $10 billion of foreign aid bought us?

K: Exactly.

P: But hatred and suspicion from the Indian people.

K: Exactly.

P: Tell me one friend weʼve got in India, do you know any?

K: Exactly.

P: How about putting it that way? Just as cold as that. Letʼs start getting some top anti-Indian propaganda out.

K: And that wonʼt be unpopular in America.

P: Thatʼs right. I want to be sure that you fill Connally in on this.

K: Iʼm seeing him tomorrow morning.

P: Now, I have decided that what we will do is to have a meeting. Iʼm going to call Haldeman, you donʼt do anything about it.

K: Right.

P: But I have decided to have a meeting to start at 1:30 so we will have an hour and a half meeting tomorrow on the damn thing.

K: Terrific.

P: I think we better. I think that Connally should be there due to the aid3 part of it, donʼt you agree.

K: Absolutely.

P: I donʼt want Mitchell there; I donʼt think itʼs that sort of a thing. I think Laird should be there if he is around. If not,—

K: Packard would be good.

P: Packard, right, And thatʼs it.

[Page 647]

K: And Moorer, I guess Moorer.

P: Yes, to report on the military situation.

K: Right.

P: Um-humm.

K: The same group as which as did the Middle East thing with the addition of Connally.

P: Yeah.

K: Connally to replace Mitchell really.

P: Well, now, letʼs ask—maybe we shouldnʼt have Connally, what do you think?

K: I think Connally would be good.

P: Yeah. Well, I think he would be good for the discussion, yeah, because he will be tough as hell. Yeah. Because this will be a subject for discussion; Iʼm not going to have those cameras for the whole meeting, only for the first 10 minutes.

K: Right.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to South Asia.]

P: Yeah. Well, now getting back to this thing on India, there was no question at all—I mean I didnʼt lean him at all, I was trying to see what the position was but Bill is completely on board.

K: Terrific.

P: No, no—he said, no give at all on this resolution; we canʼt do it. And thatʼs that. Heʼs told Bush to pass the word around that thatʼs the line that weʼre going to—and he said we would veto another resolution—another ceasefire alone. I said, fine; you bet your life we will veto it.

K: Good, good. I told that to Sisco and Bush this morning and they must have brought him around. And that WSAG meeting.

P: All right.

K: Good, Mr. President.

P: Fine, bye.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 397, Telephone Conversations, Home File, Dec 1971. No classification marking. The President was in Key Biscayne, Florida; Kissinger was in Washington. The conversation was tape-recorded at Kissingerʼs residence and subsequently transcribed at the White House. No time appears on the transcript.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 229.
  3. A transcript of a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Connally on December 5 in which they discussed cutting off economic assistance to India is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 159.