167. 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 50. Thank you for your 018.2 You should be aware that my 463 and much of what I have sent you on my own represents my personal views of what may or may not be the atmosphere here. I am confident that the analyses have been reasonably accurate. As I pointed out earlier, they were presented to you with the convicition that to do less would be irresponsible and would deprive you of the factual data essential for you to carry out your mission successfully. I agree with you completely that your trip to Moscow was crucial in every respect and I am confident that the President feels likewise although for the reasons I explained earlier I am not sure he ever focussed on the true significance of events in Southeast Asia as they relate to your trip. This realization was compressed into the time frame following your departure.

On SALT, I will immediately outline for the President the valid considerations which dictated the actions you have taken. I will also review with him the substance of paragraph 2.4 I would prefer not, without further directive from you, to show him the full text of your message, especially paragraph one—not because it may not be warranted but because I cannot see any value in doing so at this juncture. I believe you will wish to consider the experiences we have all shared over the past four days in a most careful and deliberate way and then, and only then, take whatever action you consider appropriate. I look forward to discussing this overall problem with you in the frankest way after you return. I strongly recommend that you draw final conclusions only after we have discussed the problem.

As an unrelated matter, AP has just carried a report that the Christian Democrats will insist on a positive vote of no confidence for [Page 638]the Brandt coalition government on the issue of Brandt’s economic policies.5

As another separate issue, Miss Kay called and stated that her friend would like to see Win at the usual location on a non-urgent basis to deliver a message. We have a response here prepared for their last note which can be delivered at the same time.6

On SALT, Smith has been driving for instructions for tomorrow’s plenary.7 After consulting with Odeen, I told him to merely listen to what the Russians had to say and to report back here before officially coming down on the position he has taken in the informal discussions he has had with Semenov. The most recent message from Gerard Smith is attached.

I have just received and read your 019.8 There is no question that Rogers and Smith are working on vague generalities. Be that as it may, they planted the seed. With respect to paragraphs two and three, please keep in mind that I have been feeding you my personal appraisals. The President’s message9 conveys his thinking to you. You should exercise caution in talking to him not to indicate that I have volunteered all that information to you.

Reference paragraph four of 019 Rogers is appropriately postured. He does believe this decision has emanated from your trip. Reference your paragraph five, this factor was touched upon by the President to me when I reviewed for him the contents of your 016.10 Reference paragraph 6, if that remark is directed to me personally, I am puzzled and concerned that you are as oblivious of what is going on here as I may appear to be of your problems.

Warm regards.

[Page 639]

Attachment

Backchannel Telegram From the Head of the Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (Smith) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) 11

0330. Dear Henry:

Last Saturday afternoon Kishilov advised Garthoff that since a treaty with a complete deferral of the second sites would result in the Soviets having no defense of ICBMs in the initial phase, they would not want to propose such deferral. But Semenov’s instructions call for a positive reply if the US proposes deferral—perhaps covering deferral in a side understanding rather than in treaty. They still have in mind three to five years.

An ABM treaty with a second site deferral would have some aspects of a freeze to existing ABM sites and thus would minimize somewhat the psychological difference between the treatment proposed for offensive and defensive limitations.

I stayed entirely away from the deferral question in recent talks with Semenov since I realize that it may be a controversial matter at home.

Warm regards.

Gerry Smith
  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 165.
  3. Document 162.
  4. Haig called the President at 6:01 p.m. and the two men spoke for 12 minutes. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No substantive record of the conversation has been found.
  5. The CDU/CSU parliamentary group formally submitted its motion for a constructive vote of no confidence in the Bundestag late in the evening on April 24; under Article 67 of the West German Basic Law, which required a 3-day delay, the vote was scheduled for April 27.
  6. Reference is presumably to the channel established in New York with Huang Hua, the Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Kissinger and Lord frequently used this channel to deliver messages to Beijing. In their stead, Haig met Huang on April 26 to exchange messages and report on Kissinger’s secret trip to Moscow. A memorandum of conversation is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, President’s File—China Trip, China Exchanges, March 1–June 24, 1972. The text is also in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–13, Documents on China, 1969–1972.
  7. See Document 147.
  8. Document 166.
  9. Document 157.
  10. Document 163.
  11. Another copy is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 427, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages SALT 1972.