48. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Your Meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin

Dobrynin will be coming in to see me at 11:00 a.m., today. I suggest you ask Dwight to call us to your office at about 11:30.2

I will have gone over your Vietnam speech with him in some detail,3 so I suggested that you keep your meeting brief and tough, avoiding any discussion of the particulars of the speech. Nor do I think you should give him any opportunity for rebuttal remarks. If you fail to reply to his arguments, he will take it as acquiescence; if you do reply, you will be drawn into unnecessary disputation. I would not thank him for anything the Soviet Union did in Vietnam. Their contribution is too nebulous.

The following are suggested talking points:

  • —As you know, I will make a Vietnam speech tonight. The speech has been painstakingly prepared, and is the product of many months of intensive personal study and thought.
  • —The proposals I will make tonight set forth what I consider to be the general principles of a settlement that both sides can accept.
  • —If we can end this war, it will encourage friendly cooperation between our two countries. I am willing to move forward on a broad front including talks at the highest levels and expansion of trade. But an end of the war in Vietnam is the key.
  • —If we cannot end this war, we will continue to maintain as close relations with the Soviet Union as possible, but clearly the ending of the Vietnamese war will be our overriding concern.
  • —As Henry told you earlier, a failure to achieve a reasonable Vietnam settlement can only mean that we will have to take whatever steps are necessary to bring it to a successful conclusion. We are determined to end this war one way or another.
  • —We both know how this would affect relations between our two countries.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 489, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1969, Part 2. Secret; Sensitive. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
  2. No record of this meeting has been found.
  3. A text of Nixon’s address to the nation on Vietnam is in Public Papers: Nixon, 1969, pp. 369–375.