64. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Attorney General Mitchell1
K: In the unending saga of the Secretary of State, we now have a real problem connected with the Ivanov case. They were driving us batty for years to do it. Now that we have agreed, they don’t want to do it.
M: I understood this to be the case and I was led to believe you concurred. They are concerned about PR in view of the Lithuanian sailor’s problem.
K: They called Dobrynin today and told him there were two conditions: that the four Americans held in East Germany be released, and that someone they consider a Soviet citizen be released. Dobrynin is beside himself.2 He said, “You are discrediting me and you.” He said he could not send this to Moscow unless he knows the President wants this. If this sticks, I am going to get out of dealing with him in this channel. It is dishonorable, and I knew nothing about it. If the President wants to release this guy, can you do it without State?
M: Yes; they have nothing to do with it.
K: That’s all I wanted to know.
M: I’m sorry about this double-dealing operation.[Page 203]
K: I am afraid he figures Rogers had something to do with it. How can I explain it after giving him the word of the President this would [happen?]. You know how they bugged you.
M: This leaves me speechless. They bugged the hell out of me. K: Maybe the President will order you to do it.
M: We have no problem with State. They can’t do anything one way or the other.
K: Okay, thank you.