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

K: Just wanted to tell you I have talked to Dobrynin 2 and I just told him we considered his reply.3 I said be absolutely sure it stays in channel. I said we would get answer to big question when he returns. He said he hoped we would not surprise him as the last time. I said unless our friends in Hanoi do something, we anticipated nothing. He was slobbering all over me. He said he and I would have a lot of business when he returns.

P: You figure about three weeks.

K: About the middle of August.

P: What we mainly want to do is keep all of this in strictest of confidence. On the Middle East thing, it may break. If we could just keep the situation confused for a while—keep it from breaking down.

K: On the one hand, keep it confused but also keep the Israelis from starting something and also from telling so much that the Israelis would bring their troops out. That would be a tremendous coup.

P: A reduction of arms too. That would put the Israelis in a pretty good position.

K: I talked with Bill [Rogers] several times about his conversation with Rabin. I am going to stay out of it. We have given Rabin assurances on the first two points. Bill is working the rest out. We will get answer today or tomorrow.

P: It will be interesting. You gave him exactly the right line. We are not going to be quiet if other side does something.

K: I think they want meeting as much as we do. They didn’t have to give us these two answers.

P: I have the feeling that they want a meeting to solidify their framework. More and more they have historical perspective. They cannot look without concern on the enormous colossus of China. Also they feel that the Chinese may not give a damn. They could not only wipe out 20 or 30 Russian cities. What do they care.

K: They could march into Siberia. That is pretty unpopulated.

[Page 585]

P: It is desolate there.

K: Things are certainly travelling much more than we thought they would.

P: We must be quite firm but not give them anything to bitch about. I know that their position is not changed.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 364, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. Documents 188 and 189.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 185.