217. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

D: You were playing golf with the President?

K: No, I don’t play. I just talked to the President2 and he is extremely occupied tomorrow and is going to Camp David tomorrow night. What he wonders is if you could give me the messages. If there is anything warranting a personal reply from him he will see you later in the day. That’s his position.

D: I have to check it with Moscow, if you don’t mind.

K: No.

D: In this particular case when I left they asked me to ask for an audience with him. I would have to ask my government in this case.

K: I understand, but you recognize that he is leaving Friday night for Camp David.

D: That’s why they asked me to come earlier back to Washington. But it’s up to the President.

K: If a written reply is needed we will give that; if something else … But under no circumstances will he have much time.3 Why don’t you ask Moscow if you can tell me, then we can have 15 minutes later in the day for you to get his reactions.

D: It is up to Moscow; it is not up to me. This is really the question. I can’t decide myself. It is not that they don’t want me to speak with you.

K: Of course, if there is something in your communication that warrants his reaction, he will, of course, see you, but not for long.

D: The question is how he will react on this, not just telling him [Page 658] the things and nothing else.

K: If it requires a significant reaction he will react, but first he wants to see what it is. Call me in the morning and see if you can give it to me; if so, I propose 10:30.

D: I will check with Moscow. When will he be back?

K: October 6.

D: He is not going anyplace after the 6th?

K: He will be in and out. We told you his schedule was very crowded for October and November. November is the political campaign and he will be taking several trips.

D: I understand, but it is a question of a 10-minute talk.

K: We don’t reject the idea of a 10-minute talk. We just want to see if there’s something to talk about.

D: All right. I will check with Moscow and call you tomorrow morning before 10:00 to clarify the situation from my side.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Office Files, Box 128, Chronology of Cuban Submarine Base Episode, 1970–1971. No classification marking.
  2. Kissinger spoke on the telephone with the President at 6:40 p.m. and summarized his earlier conversation with Dobrynin. Nixon responded: “Tell [Dobrynin] you would like to have a look at [the message concerning Cuba] and that you would look at my schedule. I don’t think we want to appear that everytime he comes back I am going to slobber over him. Tell him if there is something substantive that would justify my seeing him, I will, but if it is just routine I can’t do it.” (Ibid.)
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.