100. Editorial Note

On January 19, 1971, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger met President Richard Nixon and White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman in the Oval Office at 1:55 p.m. to discuss the Moscow visit of Senator Edmund Muskie. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76, Record of Schedule) Haldeman described the meeting in his diary:

“A little later, K[issinger] was in and there was quite a discussion of (Senator) Muskie and the results of his (Europe) trip. The P[resident] obviously is not pleased with the reception Muskie was given by the Soviets and by Willy Brandt. He wants to have Muskie hit on the total irresponsibility of his statement, or his proposed statement, standstill in the disarmament talks. He should be hit on his amazing ignorance. Say it’s unprecedented for a Senator to do this. We should get a Senator to hit him when the proposal comes out. The P has also decided that Ambassador (Jacob) Beam has to go. He played Muskie’s line too much while he was in the Soviet Union. He [Nixon] made the point that we’ve got to recognize that the Soviets will play a role in United States politics. They definitely want to get Nixon out, and will do what they can to see that it happens. K argues that they have to balance this against their fear that Nixon may win and they’ll have to live with him another four years. The P says: ‘I’m willing to try the negotiations,’ and so on.” (Entry for January 19, 1971; Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition; see also Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, pages 235–236)

According to Haldeman’s handwritten notes of the meeting, the President instructed Kissinger to “c[hec]k Logan Act to see if it covers Muskie or just private citizens.” Nixon, furthermore, qualified several of [Page 299] his statements. On the tenure of the Ambassador in Moscow, he declared: “Beam has to go—give him three months, then out.” On the prospects for negotiations with the Soviets, Haldeman noted: “P willing to try—but don’t believe them—better to turn on them now.” After Kissinger left, Nixon told Haldeman of another concern: “K prob[lem] re Soviets—makes up his own story.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, H. R. Haldeman, Box 43, H Notes, Jan. 1, 1971–Feb. 15, 1971, Part I)