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

P said in the meeting tomorrow with “him.”2 He would like for K to give him that message. Then if the Vietnam thing is raised (try to get it raised) the P wants K to shake his head and say “I am sorry, Mr. Ambassador, but he is out of control. Mr. Ambassador, as you know, I am very close to the President, and you don’t know this man—he’s been through more than any of the rest of us put together. He’s made up his mind and unless there’s some movement,” just shake your head and walk out. He’s probably right now figuring out what was said. K said he might type up everything the P said on a plain slip of paper. The P said that was fine, and K should put in whatever he wanted. Say since he gave us his notes he’s entitled to my notes.3 The P said he’ll say “What does this mean? Are you threatening me?” And K should say “Please now, Mr. Ambassador, the President isn’t threatening you. He just wants a little movement.” K said if they ignore what you said this afternoon, they either believe that your freedom of action is so circumscribed that you can’t do anything or Hanoi is out of control. The P said he thinks it’s the latter; “As I said, I’m here for three years.”

The P asked if K could trust Joe Alsop4 enough to show him that. [Don’t know what “that” refers to.]5 K asked what he should do with it. The P said nothing, but he’s got to know. K said let me think about it. The P said, he didn’t know; he probably would have to print it. K said yes, at the right moment he would have to print it. K said he had looked over Alsop’s notes after he left; his notes say our Government is for the speediest conclusion of the peace negotiations. He says on the basis of giving the people free choice. In the next paragraph, he lists all the garbage they’ve been saying all along.

The P said the second draft (number 10) was better than the first. Said he’s dictated a few little things. The P said when we get through with this we’ve got to lay it on the line, put that flag around us and [Page 287] let the people scream. K said well, they’re going to scream anyway. The so-called moderates can’t be placated. The P agreed.

The P said he would think Laird would understand this, but he guesses not. And Rogers doesn’t understand it at all. K said well, you’ve been on the international scene most of your political life. The P interrupted, saying all of his political life. The P listed the part he played in international politics since the beginning of his political career, then said “I know those bastards—they don’t know me. This is something that the world doesn’t understand. They’re going to find out something different.” The P said he wanted K to tell the people there that the President feels it vitally important that the tone of PR be that the P comes out fighting—fighting on Haynsworth6, on the domestic program … K said he would convey that Wednesday because there is no meeting tomorrow.7 The P said there must be something. K said, well he had a meeting with Haldeman, and Ehrlichman. The P said Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Harlow, Klein, Ziegler, Buchanan—put that line out hard and tough. Hit if for all it’s worth. K said he thought everybody was looking for some lead—we need some demonstration of strength right here.

The P said on the Rogers thing, he doesn’t think K ought to handle it with a phone call—he should go over there and talk to him. He should say the President has referred it to him, but with these instructions. Say the President is aware of how we don’t want this going around him—we want to go right to him. And we don’t want this to go out until Sunday, Sunday for the Monday papers.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 360, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. Dobrynin and Kissinger met briefly on October 21; see footnote 2, Document 95.
  3. See Document 95.
  4. Alsop was a syndicated columnist.
  5. Brackets in the source text.
  6. Clement F. Haynsworth of South Carolina was nominated by Nixon for the Supreme Court in August 1969. Civil rights organizations labeled Haynsworth a racist, and Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee also charged him with conflict of interest in cases that had involved litigants who were customers in a company in which Haynsworth owned stock. Despite the controversies, Nixon refused to withdraw his nomination; on November 21, the Senate rejected Haynsworth’s nomination.
  7. Ellipsis in the source text.