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

K: Mr. President.

P: Henry, I was going to ask you—anything new on Warsaw?

K: It seems to be—the riots seem to have subsided, the reports we get is of great tension; some factories still occupied by workers but no actual riots in the street.

P: I bet it was a lot rougher in the President’s case.

K: Oh, we have conversations of that little bastard, Bahr

P: Yeah, yeah.

K: … and he says well if this goes on another day or two, that’s the end of Ostpolitik.2 So strangely enough they see it the same way that I do. He is a bastard.

P: Thank God, the British see it like we do now.3 You know the one great thing that we have to remember here, you realize if we had Wilson here, he would be pushing Brandt rather than trying to hold …

K: Oh, yeah. Oh, of course and he would be pushing you to go to—for him to go to Moscow.

P: Yeah, he’d be going.

[Omitted here is discussion of Vietnam, including the unrest on college campuses.]

P: There’s nothing we can do to stir the Polish thing up?

K: I’m afraid not but still here is another Communist regime that has had to use troops against its own workers.

P: Get that out.

K: Right.

P: Let’s get the real PR effort on that and don’t let State, Defense—The regime, are they putting out defense of the regime, they hope that everything—no violence, I hope not.

[Page 212]

K: I haven’t seen anything yet. We had a meeting yesterday4 and we …

P: In one column, I noticed that the United States, Scali was being carried and he’s right but I just want to be damn sure that we don’t appear that we’re stirring them up but on the other hand, we know that we don’t condone this at all.

K: We may be impudent, Mr. President, but what these fellows say depends a lot on what they are told.

P: Yeah.

K: If they are told this is another indication of a workers’ revolution in a Communist regime, some of them will say it and that’s what we ought to get out.

P: Get that out and around through the bureaucracy tomorrow, will you?

K: Absolutely.

P: Fine.

K: In fact, I’ll do it …

P: This is the President’s view, will you do that?

K: Yeah, I’ll do it immediately.

P: All right, Henry, good.

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

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 29, Home File. No classification marking.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969–1972, Document 146.
  3. During his visit (see footnote 3, Document 65), Heath and Nixon and Kissinger discussed the situation in Poland. Documentation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XLI, Western Europe; NATO, 1969–1972.
  4. See Document 67.