352. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

  • SUBJECT
    • Tuesday, October 12, Announcement of US-Soviet Summit

Current plans provide that you pursue the following schedule in conjunction with Tuesday’s Announcement:

  • —At 11:30 a.m. October 12 you are scheduled to read the joint announcement at Tab A.2 The announcement will be embargoed until noon, at which time it will be released simultaneously in Moscow.
  • —Following your presentation of the announcement, you will wish to fill in with brief background remarks, drawing upon the talking points at Tab B. These talking points are suitable for your use in the meeting with the press, your meeting with the Congressional leadership scheduled for noon, and your 4:30 p.m. meeting with the Cabinet. There is an addendum to the talking points for your use in the meeting with the Cabinet.
  • —Following the reading of the text of the announcement and your background remarks, you will wish to open yourself to questions for approximately 20 minutes, or until 11:55 a.m. Questions and answers keyed to the announcement are at Tab C.
  • —At 11:55 a.m., following your meeting with the press (the contents of which will be embargoed until noon), you will meet with the Congressional leadership, again drawing upon the talking points and questions and answers at Tabs B and C.
  • —At 4:30 p.m. you meet with the Cabinet. The talking points at Tab B and questions and answers at Tab C are again pertinent. At this meeting, you will want to emphasize the two additional talking points reflected as an addendum at Tab B.

I will meet with Alexis Johnson at noon on Monday3 to complete arrangements for essential consultations. These consultations provide for notification to the British, French, Germans, Italians, and Japanese. [Page 1100] Maximum safeguards will be adopted to ensure that there is no premature leakage before the embargo release time. Peking was informed through Walters on October 9.4

In conjunction with this announcement it is essential that US spokesmen and officials avoid the kind of euphoria which it will tend to generate. We must be guided by the following principles:

  • —The announcement should be treated in a most restrained and factual way.
  • —The US-Soviet Summit can only be judged by its results and not by the fact of the event itself.
  • —It is essential that White House spokesmen and all US officials avoid excess claims for what has been achieved. Euphoria can only:
    • • Infuriate Peking.
    • • Raise grave doubts and fears among our allies, especially our NATO partners and the Japanese who have already been badly jolted by the Peking announcement.
    • • Generate Soviet concerns that the Summit is designed to accomplish domestic political gain and thereby contribute to a toughening Soviet attitude with respect to the range of substantive issues on which we are jointly consulting and negotiating.

In short, nothing could be more self-defeating than to permit this announcement to drastically alter the atmospherics associated with US-Soviet relationships. We must ensure maximum discipline so that Tuesday’s announcement is handled in the most restrained and serious way.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, President’s Personal Files, Box 166, Foreign Affairs File, Foreign/Domestic Briefing Book 10/10/71 (Pat Buchanan). Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. None of the tabs are attached. See, however, Document 353.
  3. October 11. According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger and Johnson met twice on the afternoon of October 11. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76) No record of either conversation has been found.
  4. Walters later recalled that he told his Chinese interlocutors that “they were the first foreign country to be told of this.” (Walters, Silent Missions, p. 539) Kissinger’s instructions for and Walters’s record of the meeting are published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–13, Documents on China, 1969–1972, Documents 30 and 31.