155. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: Mr. President.

P: Hello, Henry. Any news?

K: Well, I had a talk with our friend and most of it was on Berlin and technical points.2 When we were through with that, two interesting things. Dobrynin asked whether I had any message for Hanoi—they are very ready to pass messages and he said any message I want to pass, he is willing to pass. But I think this is a bad time and I told him, “No, I don’t have any.” But he kept coming back to it. They let me know through him that they still …

P: Hanoi?

K: Yeah. He passed me that message in February3 too but I think it is a bad time to respond.

P: You think they may really want to have a discussion?

K: It is absolutely inconceivable that Dobrynin would raise this on his own. He was reading from his notes which he had on a little slip of paper. That’s the third time he has come back to it. He made an offhand comment in January4 that they are ready to but I said the reasons we had not ever gotten anywhere is that they had always made speeches to us. He knew about the meetings and he came back a month later and asked again and now this is the third time. They raised less hell about the bombing than any other and haven’t gloated about their so-called victory.

P: Uh-huh.

K: Not going next week is an excellent consideration.5

P: I am just not going to go.

[Page 454]

K: I have already told State.

P: Yeah.

K: First when we talked about Vietnam, I said don’t let your Allies confuse you. We know that they are in trouble, you have to make a big decision—we are not going to go one way or the other. Fundamentally understands your direction.

P: Uh-huh.

K: … What’s the progress on SALT? [omission in transcript] working it out with the foreign minister. I told him we are not going to wait all year about the Summit. He doesn’t know what the problem is. As far as he is concerned it will be the first week of August or September with their preference being for August. I told him the next thing would be when to announce it and we will have to block out some time on the President’s calendar [omission in transcript] about April 15th.

P: April 15th, huh. A meeting in August—as far as he is concerned, he thinks the meeting is on.

K: Unless he is a goddamned …

P: That’s an interesting point.

[Omitted here is discussion of Vietnam and the President’s schedule.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 9, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 154.
  3. See Document 121.
  4. See Document 103.
  5. Reference is presumably to Nixon’s decision to cancel his 10-day vacation in San Clemente, which he then reversed. As Haldeman noted in his diary on March 25: “The P reversed his decision on canceling the California trip on the basis of strong recommendations of all the senior staff and then agreed to go ahead in spite of the fact that the weather’s bad and he’s not particularly pleased with the whole thought.” (Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, p. 260)