60. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the White House Chief of Staff (Haldeman)1


  • The President’s Visit to the Soviet Union

At Tab B is a memorandum of March 14, 1972 to you from Secretary Rogers. The memorandum informs you that Secretary Rogers has taken personal charge of State Department coordinating efforts with the various relative departments of the government in connection with the President’s visit to the Soviet Union. A personal coordinating role by the Secretary could, obviously, pose serious problems with respect to the preparation of substantive matters which have already been set in motion under the provisions of NSSM 143 of December 15, 1971, NSDM 153 of February 17, 1972 and the Joint NSSM and CIEPSM 145 and 20 and the Joint NSDM 151 and CIEPDM 6, dated January 17, 1972 and February 14, 1972 respectively (at Tab C).2 I believe it is essential that you move promptly to remind the Secretary that whatever coordinating role he visualizes for himself should be within the framework of the provisions of the NSC directives which have already been promulgated.

At Tab A is a memorandum for your signature to Secretary Rogers which:

  • —Acknowledges receipt of the Secretary’s memorandum and advises that it has been discussed with the President
  • —Reiterates the requirement that the preparation of bilateral U.S.–Soviet matters preparatory to the Summit be conducted within the framework of the NSC system (Senior Review Group and CIEP) and,
  • —Advises the Secretary that Dwight Chapin has been designated as the point of contact with an appropriate Soviet counterpart for the trip’s physical arrangements and agrees to include the State Department representative, Mr. John Thomas, in appropriate forums related thereto.3


That you:

  • —Discuss the Secretary’s memorandum and my proposed response for your signature with the President.
  • —Sign and dispatch the response to Secretary Rogers as soon as possible.4

[Page 206]

Tab A

Draft Memorandum From the White House Chief of Staff (Haldeman) to Secretary of State Rogers


  • The President’s Visit to the Soviet Union

I have shown to the President your memorandum to me of March 14th. He is delighted that you are giving personal attention to the preparations for his visit to the Soviet Union. At the same time, he is concerned that preparatory substantive arrangements be conducted consistent with the provisions of NSSM 143 of December 15, 1971, NSDM 153 of February 17, 1972 and the Joint NSSM and CIEPSM 145 and 20 and the Joint NSDM 151 and CIEPDM 6, dated January 17, 1972 and February 14, 1972 respectively, which designate the NSC Senior Review Group and the CIEP as the focal points for coordination of substantive bilateral matters pertaining to the Soviet Summit. Due to the myriad of departmental interests in the substantive issues, it is important that there be no misunderstanding about the coordinating mechanism which should be followed.

With respect to the physical arrangements, the President has designated Dwight Chapin as the point of contact with whomever Ambassador Dobrynin might designate from the Soviet side. You may be sure that Mr. Chapin will include John Thomas in the preparatory forums which are established for implementing the physical arrangements for the trip.

H.R. Haldeman 5
[Page 207]

Tab B

Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to the White House Chief of Staff (Haldeman)6


  • President’s Visit to the Soviet Union

As we intensify preparations for the President’s visit to the Soviet Union, I plan to take personal charge of State Department coordinating efforts with the various relevant departments of the Government. I shall be having a series of meetings this week within the Department of State to review the current situation, after which I intend to call in Ambassador Dobrynin to discuss the various bilateral negotiations presently or potentially under way which might have a bearing on the Summit conference. We may also be meeting with representatives of other agencies who are, or will be conducting discussions with the Soviets during the pre–Summit period, with a view to insuring that their efforts fit into the general framework both as to timing and possible use in connection with the Presidential visit. Marty Hillenbrand, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, will be working closely with me on the substantive side pursuant to Presidential decisions.

As far as planning the physical arrangements for the trip are concerned, our principal representative will be John Thomas. I will appreciate it if as you proceed to make plans for the visit that Mr. Thomas can attend meetings and be kept fully posted.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 992, Haig Chronological Files, March 7–15, 1972. Secret. Drafted by Haig. The memorandum is unsigned. In his March 7 diary entry, Haldeman wrote that Nixon “had me sit in the Rogers meeting this afternoon, and Bill made a pitch for the need to solve the problem of his apparent downgrading and the press coverage thereof. His solution was for the P[resident] to announce that Rogers was in charge of the planning for the Russian trip. The P finessed that, as he should have, and made it pretty clear and directly to Rogers that he wasn’t about to be put in charge of the trip.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition)
  2. Attached as Tab C, but not printed, are NSSM 143, “Review of U.S.–Soviet Negotiations,” December 15; NSSM 153, “Review of U.S.–Soviet Negotiations,” February 17; NSSM 145/CIEPSM 20, “U.S.–Soviet Trading Relationships,” January 17; and NSDM 151/CIEPDM 6, “Next Steps with Respect to U.S.–Soviet Trading Relationships,” March 15.
  3. In a March 21 memorandum for the file, Chapin discussed his meeting that morning with Vorontsov during which they discussed arrangements for the Moscow trip and specifically places where Nixon could visit. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 493, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 10) In a March 28 memorandum to Nixon, Rogers discussed a variety of activities that Nixon could undertake while in the Soviet Union. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 74, Country Files, Europe, U.S.S.R., Moscow Summit 1972 [2 of 2]) In a March 29 memorandum to Kissinger transmitting the Rogers memorandum, Sonnenfeldt noted that “there are several good ideas in this memorandum which are useful for Dwight Chapin to have available.” (Ibid.) In a February 29 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt also suggested possible stops for Nixon during his visit to the Soviet Union, including Leningrad, Tblisi, Yerevan, or Askhabad. He also advised on setting up an advance team before and briefings following the trip, and the procedures for drafting a communiqué. (Ibid., Box 67, Country Files, Europe, U.S.S.R., Sonnenfeldt Papers [2 of 2]) An additional step preparatory to the summit was the prohibition of reconnaissance flights over parts of and restrictions on flights close to the Soviet Union for the duration of Nixon’s visit to the U.S.S.R. (National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, 40 Committee Files, Minutes, Originals, 1972)
  4. In his diary entry for March 16, Haldeman wrote: “The other problem today was a memo from Bill Rogers to me, saying that he was going to take charge of the Russian trip and start coordinating the Departments, and so on, which had Henry pretty disturbed. And I raised it with the P when he came down from Camp David, or raised it on the phone with him, when he was just chatting with me, and he said I should just level with him on it. That the P’s taken many trips, he’s always in charge of his own trips, and following that practice, the P will be in personal charge and will not delegate that to anyone. He told me to take a very hard line with Rogers on this. Not back off at all. So I am writing Bill a memo in response to take care of that.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition) According to Kissinger’s memoirs, Haldeman did sign and transmit the draft memorandum on the orders of the President. (White House Years, p. 1128) In his diary entry for March 20, Haldeman wrote: “Rogers discussed with me the question of his memo on Moscow; said he wanted to simply avoid the thought that State can’t be avoided because they can’t be trusted, but he doesn’t think the staff realizes that under the law the State Department has the responsibility, or the Secretary does. Other Departments can’t start exploration with other governments without going through the Secretary of State; therefore, he wants to be informed, and he says, ‘I’m going to find out all that’s possible about whatever one is doing. I’ll be god–damned if I’ll operate in the dark.’ For instance, the Commerce Department’s last negotiations with the Soviets—we had to back off because they came in illegally. Said he was sending a memo to the P on this, and we need to get the word out. For example, he’s heard the Secretary of Agriculture’s going to Moscow, and he thinks he should be in touch with him. So on. Still worrying about his own position rather than how to be of assistance to the P.” (The Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition)
  5. The draft copy bears this typed signature.
  6. Confidential.