12. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of State Rogers1

(Secretary Rogers talked to General Haig for a few minutes, in Dr. Kissinger’s absence.)

R: I have been tied up all day and haven’t heard any news. I heard a report that the Pentagon made further comments about the Cuba base.2

Haig: What happened is the Navy reported that the tender and the tug had pulled into the Mariel base up north, that all Soviet ships come into. They just announced that quietly today which infuriated …

(Dr. Kissinger entered conversation at this point.)

K: I was going to call you to let you know this Defense announcement on Cuba was totally unauthorized. The President went through the ceiling.3 It was really outrageous. This is the port where they always stop and refuel. This now puts them into the position where they seem to have backed down.

R: It is going to be tough for me to handle tonight with Gromyko.

K: They didn’t even give us the intelligence. We learned of it 3 minutes before they put it on the news. I had Al call up and say nothing would be said. They called and said it was already done.

R: What did they actually say?

K: Submarine that left Cienfuegos Harbor has reappeared and now is in another harbor. Gave name of it. Made it sound like not much of a menace. Asked, does that mean they are establishing a submarine base? Answered, we are watching the situation.

R: The Russians are going to wonder whether we are shaking them particularly on the meeting, or my meeting with Gromyko.

K: You are going to announce whenever you think proper the meeting with the President—right?

R: The President suggested I do it Monday,4 and I think it much better Monday.

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K: That was the President’s view to make it look as if it came out of your meeting with Gromyko.

R: Gromyko knows about it, does he?

K: Yes. But I didn’t tell him [Dobrynin] the details.

R: Why not tell him we think it is tentative at present but I will have final announcement Monday.

K: I think he may think it goes this week, but you may tell him the details on Monday. And we will announce it Monday. The meeting will be Thursday at 11, the President and you on our side and Gromyko and Dobrynin on theirs.

R: Why not play it that way because I think it much better to do it on Monday.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 7, Chronological File. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington; Rogers was in New York.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 11.
  3. See Document 11.
  4. October 19.