226. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Senator Henry M. Jackson1
K: Scoop. People who get invited to these leadership things are not always the ones that should be.2 We think this agreement is a step in the right direction and when the discussions are concluded it will be simultaneous on both.
J: That is the important thing. One thing I have been thinking Henry, was this statement made to save them a little face?
K: That is the thing. But we cannot say this publicly. Get the talks going and they could not say agree on both offensive and defensive because that would look like they were backing down.
J: That is the objective. But you have some sort of understanding where we are going to end up.
K: We have an explicit understanding which I don’t want you to talk to anybody about.
J: But it is all right if I continue to stress that we must have some sort of agreement which would deal with both.
K: You would be doing the country a great service if you did keep up this pressure. If you say something about hoping the Administration will not waiver or whatever you want to say.
J: This, of course, I am worried about the ABM-only guys on the Hill.[Page 675]
K: They will get no support from us. We will continue to push ABM.
J: I think they should postpone this ABM thing for awhile.
K: It would be a disaster.… We would have nothing to negotiate.
J: How much of the loosening up of the Russians, Henry—the Brezhnev speech3—how much loosening up is China?
K: I don’t know but some of it must be.
J: Russia is paranoid on China. But must negotiate both. This is the line I have been taking.
K: The theories that these guys have been expounding just are not true. They said that Laos would wreck it with China and it didn’t. They said rapprochement with China would break with Russians and it didn’t. One other thing you should know is that it is understood that Safeguard would be our position.
J: This would be the Minuteman position. Would this affect the sites?
K: … Well no, but in other words in the Washington … this is our position but we would have to negotiate.
J: We would still have 4 sites?
K: We would have to negotiate but that is our position. You can’t talk about this though. This is just your information.
J: This is very helpful and I will not repeat any of this. But I am talking to World Affairs Council in Los Angeles and I am going to talk about getting both—ABM and freeze on offensive. You think they are loosening up here?
K: They could be.
J: I don’t understand it after the Mansfield thing. Brezhnev speech.
K: I think that was on their program and they did not know how to turn it off.
J: It’s the system, isn’t it?
K: They cannot fine tune it so well.
J: They must have known when made the Dubranski (phonetic)4 speech that Mansfield must have proposed it.
K: I just don’t think they can fine tune something that closely. This is all for your information Scoop and is very delicate at this stage.
J: Thank you very much Henry. I realize that.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 10, Chronological File. No classification marking.↩
- The President briefed Congressional leaders on the SALT announcement in the Cabinet Room at 10 a.m. A record of the conversation is ibid., White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, President’s Office Files, Box 85, Beginning May 16, 1971.↩
- See Document 217.↩