149. 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 36. I have given President gist of your 010.2 He is delighted that your are holding very firm but he has also unfortunately drawn conclusion that Soviets are either not going to be helpful on Vietnam or worse have colluded with Hanoi in final steps of strategy designed to achieve a cease-fire in place, with bulk of North Vietnamese divisions in South Vietnamese territory.

Despite my best efforts, he tends to equate largess on summit with collusion with Hanoi on South Vietnam. This has been most difficult forty eight hours here, with Rogers insisting on seeing messages and President calling hourly for reports from you. He is at this point absolutely firm on not letting summit influence outcome of Vietnam in any way. He has just instructed me to inform you that he considers it most important that the joint announcement that you work out with Gromyko not portray your visit to Moscow as oriented primarily on pre-summit arrangements and suggests something along the following lines: “Dr. Kissinger visited Moscow to discuss urgent international problems, including Southeast Asia and (if absolutely necessary) pre-summit arrangements.” The foregoing concerns of the President are based on both the substantive problem of being sure that hawks do not think we cave on plenary session and his fear that Rogers will have difficulty swallowing reference to summit preparations.

President is also increasingly restless in Camp David and has asked me to advise you that you must be at Camp David not later than 6:00 p.m. Washington time Monday evening. This means your departure from Moscow must have occurred by 1:00 p.m. Moscow time. As I completed this message, the President just called again and added that he views Soviet positions on South Vietnam as frenzied and frivolous and, therefore, is determined to go forward with additional strikes on Hanoi and Haiphong unless some major breakthrough occurs. I have insisted with him that twenty degree restriction must be maintained until [Page 570]completion of May 2 meeting but President terminated conversation with the following: “It may or may not hold.”

As you can see from foregoing, situation here is almost as difficult as you have found it there. I am sharing the who-shot-Johns with you to be absolutely sure that you appreciate fully the President’s frame of mind so that your further discussions with your hosts are consistent with it.

I have just received your 011 and will implement provisions of paragraphs 1 through 7.3

Warm regards.

  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; Flash.
  2. Document 148. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Nixon called Haig twice on the evening of April 22, from 6:19 to 6:42 p.m., and 7:23 to 7:27 p.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files) No substantive record of either conversation has been found.
  3. After issuing further instructions on prior notification, Kissinger addressed the official announcement of his trip to Moscow: “Just received your 32 [Document 146]. My own judgement is that a Ziegler announcement may be preferable, protect the President better and show less anxiety.” (Message WTE 011 from Kissinger to Haig, April 22; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 21, HAK’s Secret Moscow Trip Apr 72, TOHAK/HAKTO File [1 of 2])