135. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and his Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1
RN: Did you get the communications—can they be received?2
GH: Not yet. No. They can’t—I have the message on the wire.[Page 507]
RN: So we can’t receive or send now. Another thing. About Rogers’ comment3—our friends may be up to a trick—the Soviets offer something to Smith—they think we will push this if Smith is panting for something. Try to force us to go to the summit.
GH: Absolutely—that could be—but we are not sure.
RN: It may be just another game. Give me a call if you get anything. He is sleeping now. The strike went well in the North.
GH: Yes. Just the 52’s—but it was a good solid jolt and [hit?] Vinh really good—buildings, air fields, etc. Out of operation.
RN: This is the right thing to do right now.4
GH: Yes. Good leverage. Mr. Laird went over our air capabilities said they are better—more air than we had at the peak of the war. We are using it better and have got more of it now.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 999, Haig Chronological Files, Haig Telcons [–] 1972 [2 of 2]. No classification marking. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon placed the call from Camp David to Haig in Washington. (Ibid., White House Central Files)↩
- According to reports from the American radio operator and the aircraft commander in Moscow, the communication outage was the result of problems with both equipment and logistics. (Ibid., NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 21, HAK’s Secret Moscow Trip Apr 72, TOHAK/HAKTO File [1 of 2]) Kissinger later noted “an additional delay caused by interference with the communications” and suggested that the Soviets were jamming the transmission. (Kissinger, White House Years, pp. 1154–1155) In a telephone conversation at 8 p.m., Nixon instructed Haig to transmit messages via Dwight Chapin, the President’s appointments secretary, who was also in Moscow leading an advance team for the summit, “because we can’t have the situation that the Russians may be messing us up—use Chapin’s plane.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 999, Haig Chronological Files, Haig Telcons [–] 1972 [2 of 2])↩
- According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon called Rogers twice from Camp David on April 21: from 3:24 to 3:32 p.m., during a meeting with Haig (3:15–4:05 p.m.); and from 4:09 to 4:11 p.m., after Haig had returned to Washington. (Ibid., White House Central Files) No substantive record of either discussion, or of the meeting with Haig, has been found. For Haig’s report to Kissinger on the subject, see Document 136.↩
- Nixon called Haig again at 9:40 p.m. to urge further use of American air power. According to the transcript, the two men had the following exchange: Nixon “Al, on an urgent basis, get Moorer to send a 52 strike in North Vietnam—not particularly Hanoi. They can hit in the day, can’t they?” Haig: “Yes sir.” Nixon: “25 or 30 planes tomorrow while Henry is there.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 999, Haig Chronological Files, Haig Telcons [–] 1972 [2 of 2])↩