28. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) and Secretary of State Rogers1

R: Hello, Al.

H: Good morning. sir. The President called down. I passed that word up on the Jewish problem.

R: OK.

H: Haldeman says the President does not want any démarches yet.

R: OK.

H: With the Soviets. And hoped that we could keep the meeting today2 which he recognizes is a real tough one for you, with the minimum possible profile.

R: Yeh, well we’ll try to keep it without any profile. (Laughter)

H: OK. I don’t know how long this is going to hold, but he [Nixon] said he’d just rather wait because he thinks the other side is gonna overreact and the Soviets are fairly subtle too. They’ve got some things in the fire.

R: Yeah. Well that’s fine with me. I think we had to see them though.

H: Oh, yeah.

R: I mean see the Jewish leaders. So I think by talking to them they’ll recognize the better thing is not to do it all publicly. But I’m going to try to convince them to let us just handle it the way we handle a lot of these other things and don’t—keep the lid on and don’t get out and . . .

H: But he hopes there won’t be any promise, you know, that we’re going to hit the, you know, that they won’t . . .

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R: Oh, I won’t make any promise, hell no. I don’t think there’s anything we can do. All I want to do is just welcome them in and keep them quiet.

H: Keep them quiet.

R: OK, fine Al.

H: Thank you sir.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 998, Alexander M. Haig Chronological Files, HaigTelcons, 1972 [1 of 2]. No classification marking. In message Tohak 78, August 18, Haig informed Kissinger that he had carried out the instructions regarding Rogers’ proposed meeting with Dobrynin over the exit fee issue. Haig wrote that “I have brutalized Rogers after clearing it with the President, and there will be no contacts whatsoever with the Soviets.” He continued: “The meeting with Rogers and the Jewish leaders will proceed without press in the most low-keyed way this afternoon. I have talked to Rogers about it personally, and he understands and will comply. There will be no public statement by the White House or State. Ron [Ziegler] will defer to State.” (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 23, HAK Trip Files, HAK’s Secret Paris Trip, Switzerland, Saigon, Tokyo, August 13–19, 1972, To/Frm 86971 & Backchannels)
  2. A reference to Rogers’ meeting with the co-chairmen of the Conference on Soviet Jewry. No record of the meeting was found, but the three Jewish leaders briefed the press after the meeting. See “U.S. Is Said to Tell Soviet of Its Concern Over Jews,” The New York Times, August 19, 1972, p. 1.