166. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

WTE 019. 1. Thank you for your 48.2 For the hundredth time there no breakthrough in Helsinki. Kindly review the Smith letter3 to me and you will see that what he claims, which is exaggerated in any case, is a paltry fraction of what I am bringing back. If the President is worried about a Rogers or Smith leak let him ask them what the Soviet proposal is. This would flush out fast enough that they have nothing except vague generalities.

2. There is no chance whatever of holding the whole package for the summit. Any such proposal in the face of what the Soviets consider a major concession will convince them that we plan to torpedo the summit. Then they will surely go public. Moreover Helsinki would then have to be called off. The news stories would be that SALT has collapsed.

3. The President can get sole credit for SALT only by the route I outlined. My role can easily be eliminated. I want the result not the credit. At any rate we have no choice. Either we go the way I outlined or the Soviets will go public unilaterally. It was not easy to put it mildly to sell them the present course which helps only the President, not them. And after Smith goes back there will be a hundred issues which can be deadlocked and solved at the summit. Moreover if you leave too many details you will wind up with Smith at the summit.

4. As for the announcement tomorrow I hope Rogers believes that plenary and private session decision resulted from Moscow trip.

5. I do not understand concern that we have talked SALT while Moscow’s support for Hanoi is unresolved. What else have we been doing in Helsinki? So let us stop playing games and use what we have accomplished.

6. Thank you for the expression of support which came 40 Sitto’s too late.

  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. No time of transmission is on the message; a stamped notation indicates it was received at 4:57 p.m.
  2. Document 164.
  3. See Documents 136 and 147.