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

Dobrynin wanted to check a few things on the notes K sent him.2 K said they were hastily done and apologized for it. D said it only deals with the last one. K agreed and asked if D wanted him to send the notes on the other. D said there was no hurry—at K’s convenience. K said when he looked at his notes, he forgot the reduction in military activity. D noticed and said that the notes kept saying “they, they, they.” K said “they” refers to D’s leaders. D pointed out another instance where it said “on the other hand, the Ambassador.” K said that was also directed to D’s leaders. K said he had no doubt about D’s understanding—this was true all the way through—the reference to D’s leaders. D said this was his impression. On page 2, line 3 it mentions the Soviet people. K again said this should be “leaders.” K said the President was talking about himself. D said he mentioned himself and gave the name of three leaders. K said D’s notes were better than his. D said the President mentioned Bohlen, Thompson, Harriman and [omission in the source text], not D specifically. K said that was correct, but why didn’t D put it in. K said he would correct his notes. Then in paragraph 3, D said the President mentioned that he was very happy to see the Ambassador. D understood that he was happy rather to meet with Dobrynin, not through K. K said D misunderstood that. K had an occasion to talk with the President this morning—what he said was “that channel should be if the problem got solved.” D said—that now K and he really have nothing to discuss unless D has something to say. K said that was supposed to mean on important matters. D’s impression was that the President didn’t specifically limit D and K unless they felt it [Page 289] would be useful. It sounded like there was a limitation. K said that was not the intention. K explained that D could see the President on something very important and if the other thing were settled, quite frequently. K talked with the P after D was in. The Pres. is very agreeable to keep this channel open. D said as it is here, he may have to go the other way from now on but would like to go on with K. K said that was up to D but it should read through Dr. Kissinger and the Pres. would be prepared to talk to D if he had something specific and important.

They decided that they coincided on specifics although D said he had more details. D said he had made the call and should be hearing back tomorrow and would report the answer.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 489, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1969, Part 1. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Kissinger and Dobrynin spoke briefly on the telephone at 9:15 a.m. that morning. According to a transcript of their conversation: “The Ambassador said he just returned from New York. K said jokingly, we turn our backs and you run off to the nightclubs of New York. Dobrynin said he was just trying to follow the example of his good friend. K said he would like to come to see the Ambassador for about 5 minutes. D said fine, he would expect him in about 15 minutes.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 360, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File) Kissinger apparently gave Dobrynin an unrevised version of Document 93 at this meeting. The unrevised notes with Kissinger’s changes are attached to a covering memo that reads: “Handed in a plain envelope to Ambassador Dobrynin as an aide mémoire. The copy given to him had no classification marked on it.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 489, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1969, Part 1)