146. Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

[Omitted here is discussion of personal matters.]

Kissinger: Dobrynin sent over a message.

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: They’ve come up with a draft agreement on Berlin, which on first reading is acceptable. I sent it to Rush on my private channel to him for his analytical comment.2 But in the two areas that I’ve discussed with him, Federal presence and—it’s a major, there’s some major concessions.

Nixon: Hmm.

Kissinger: He just called ten minutes ago to say he hoped he’d have a response by—a preliminary response from me by Monday,3 that they’re very anxious to move ahead.

[Page 420]

Nixon: Hmm.

Kissinger: And I said, “Well, you know, as you know, there are parts of it that are totally unacceptable.” He recognized that.

Nixon: On Berlin?

Kissinger: Yeah, on Berlin.

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: But he said, “But, as you know, none of the parts that are unacceptable to you are worse, and a lot of the parts are better”—which is true. I think we should use Berlin just to keep him talking—

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: —and to do the—

Nixon: But he is—but he also expects you to—does he still feel he’ll have some answer on the other proposition4 on Monday, too?

Kissinger: Yeah. I won’t give him an answer on this until—

Nixon: Of course not.

Kissinger: —he gives me an answer on the other.5

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to the Soviet Union.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Conversation 469–13. No classification marking. The editors transcribed the portion of the tape recording printed here specifically for this volume. According to his Daily Diary, Nixon met Kissinger in the Oval Office from 6:30 to 6:50 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files) Haldeman, who was also in attendance, recorded the meeting in his diary: “Henry was in for a while and reported that he had received a long proposal from Dobrynin today on the proposed Berlin settlement, which is still not in form to be satisfactory to us, but it’s getting much closer apparently, and Henry thinks maybe there’s something workable that can be developed from it.” (Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, p. 258)
  2. See Document 144.
  3. March 22. See Document 145.
  4. Reference is presumably to the latest American draft of a letter on SALT from Nixon to Kosygin. See Document 142.
  5. During a telephone conversation at 7:15 p.m., Kissinger told Dobrynin: “I have just talked to the President about our conversation and also about your document—I hadn’t had a chance to talk with him before. I will make a preliminary response to you on Monday.” “Lest there be any misunderstanding in Moscow about the document,” Kissinger added, “he wanted to make sure we understood each other about how it would be negotiated [omission in transcript] but that the final conclusion would not take place until the other one was completed.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 27, Dobrynin File)