20. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of Commerce Stans1

K: I want to talk to you a minute before the meeting with the President.2 He will repeat it. You know we have presented these Russian licenses to fit in with foreign policy situation. We said we would open it wide when conditions good and they were when you were there. But they are taking a tough line on South Asia. Can you calm down your eager beavers? Call it off so they notice it but not forced to explain it?

S: Certainly will. Nothing is on.

K: It will open in a couple of months. It might not take that long but we want them to notice something quickly.

S: I am seeing the President at 3:00. Your timing was absolutely right. They had laid the red carpet for us. We are ready to go. I came back with an ambivalent viewpoint there. Lots of opportunity there but a lot of reservation on what should be done. We should make a constructive move or offer some and tie it to something we want them to do.

K: Like what?

S: I would offer to extend export-import credits provided that your lend-lease tied (?).

K: Now we can consider it on conditional basis if they behave better. We don’t exclude that. Will you sit on the other one? I have to run see the President before his Head of State arrival.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. Stans met with President Nixon, Peterson, and Haig from 3:12 to 4:15 p.m. to report on his trip. Stans reported that the Soviets expected to do $2 billion in trade with the United States by 1975, and they hoped for a 5-year grain agreement. Stans then stated that the Soviets were especially interested in most-favored-nation status, additional credits, relaxation of export controls, a trade agreement, and scientific and space cooperation. Stans pushed for export-import credits as a way to enhance and expand U.S.-Soviet trade. The President thanked Stans for his report and undertaking the mission, but he noted “it was essential that the U.S. attitude with respect to increasing trade with the Soviet Union be governed completely by the state of our political relations.” (Memorandum for the President’s File, undated; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 213, Agency Files, NSC, (1971), Vol. II) The time of the meeting is from the President’s Daily Diary; ibid., White House Central Files. A tape recording of this meeting is ibid., White House Tapes, Recording of conversation among Nixon, Stans, Kissinger, Haig, and Ziegler, December 7, 1971, 3:55–4:49 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 631–4. For Kissinger’s assessment of Stans as the leading proponent of trade with the Soviet Union, see White House Years, p. 901.