143. Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) in Moscow1

Sitto 29. Reference your 008.2 There has been no effort to harass but rather to point out that we were totally out of communication with you from 1:00 p.m. yesterday until 9:00 last evening, and then the first message we received was unreadable. Furthermore, we had no way of knowing whether or not you had received our traffic. The President was, of course, extremely interested in outcome of your first substantive session which tended to spice up the situation here considerably. Your reply3 confirmed precisely what I feared, that is that you did not know of the communication breakdown. Apparently, the problem was at plane site and it has now been resolved.

I entered this situation somewhat behind the power curve not having been here when preparatory work was done for your trip. It was quite evident yesterday that the President was not completely comfortable with the book submitted to him prior to your departure.4 This generated his memo to you sent early yesterday.5 I used the same argumentation contained in your 008 in discussing the character of your visit with him yesterday. However, he has made the point to me that if we get no assist from the Soviets and then proceed with stringent action against the North, at the last minute, the Soviets might cancel the summit on their own thereby further complicating the domestic situation [Page 555]—all this at a time when domestic reaction against our actions in the North is running highest. His point is that if the summit is to be sacrificed, he wishes to be the one who cancels it on his own terms.

I will discuss your message with the President 30 minutes from now and am confident that he will agree with all points that you have made but with the lingering concerns noted above. I will emphasize to him that this concern does not have to be faced until after we have an opportunity to assess outcome of May 2 meeting.

Don’t worry about concerns here. You, as has always been case, are the only one who can deliver the mail and we all know it. Naturally our other friend whom I briefed the night you left calls hourly to find out what is in train.6 I am also informed that hawkish injections are coming regularly from Treasury.7

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 21, HAK’s Secret Moscow Trip Apr 72, TOHAK/HAKTO File [2 of 2]. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. Document 140.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 137.
  4. See Document 125.
  5. Document 127.
  6. Haig and Haldeman briefed Rogers on April 19; see footnote 2, Document 109. A transcript of a telephone conversation between Haig and Rogers, evidently at 9:25 a.m. on April 22 but misdated 9:25 a.m. on April 21, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 999, Haig Chronological Files, Haig Telcons [–] 1972 [2 of 2].
  7. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon called Connally on April 21 at 4:22 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files) No other record of the conversation has been found.