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

[Omitted here is discussion of preparations for the funeral of former French President Charles de Gaulle.]

P: What else is new on the diplomatic front? Anything? The Generals got out, I see.

K: Yes, the Generals were released yesterday as Dobrynin told us. And we put out a rather friendly statement last night about it.

P: When are you going to start your chats with him about agenda?

K: I thought next week, or whenever you say.

P: Sure. When do you think they want to have the talks about it?

K: He’s already asked me when they are ready.

P: Yes. I noticed from reading the news … I mean, from reading your diplomatic things that they are dragging their feet on SALT quite [omission in transcript] now.2 Do you think maybe that’s because they’re waiting for us?

K: No. Actually in SALT they are moving not in an extremely [fast] pace, but they’re moving. They’re revealing their position in a little more detail.

P: The other thing is that when do you think Dobrynin wants to talk about releasing the Summit thing?

K: I think we can schedule that for almost any time. Early next year. I think the way to start it is to begin talking agenda and have it emerge out of that.

P: Well, let me say this. It occurred to me that I don’t want them to think—and I want the record to show—that we were panting to have it released just because of an election. So I think that maybe you ought [Page 143] to have a meeting with him on the agenda items and say, now look, on this release of the time, and so forth, let’s determine now when it’s gonna be. As far as we’re concerned there’s no strain for us. Don’t let them think we want to delay the release of the time and use that as a gimmick.

K: Right. Exactly.

P: See my point. I don’t think it makes that much difference. A good bluff, but that’s about all.

K: Well, it will be a substantial.

P: Yeah, it will be a story from there on, but I just3

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 29, Home File. No classification marking. Transcribed in the White House from a tape recording. The date typed on the transcript, November 12 (when both Nixon and Kissinger were in France), was in all likelihood the day the tape was “brought in” for transcription. References in the text, including release of the American generals “yesterday” and preparations for de Gaulle’s funeral, clearly indicate that the conversation took place on November 10. While at his residence in Washington that morning, Kissinger called Nixon in Key Biscayne three times (and received one return call) before he arrived at his office at 10 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76, Record of Schedule)
  2. The third SALT round began in Helsinki on November 2.
  3. According to a typewritten note on the transcript, the tape recording ended at this point.