31. Editorial Note

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger met briefly with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin from 10:56 to 11:10 a.m. on the morning of August 21, 1972. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1967–76) Although no memorandum of conversation has been found, Kissinger discussed his meeting with Dobrynin in a telephone conversation with Nixon at 12:28 p.m. on August 21. He told Nixon that “Dobrynin was very fascinating about Vietnam—he said he wanted us to know that they [the So[Page 84]viets] were real eager to get it settled.” The transcript of their conversation continues:

RN: Good, was he?

HK: Heard that when Le Duc Tho came through Moscow, he did see a Politburo member but only number 5—that Brezhnev and the others, even though they were there, wouldn’t see him. He said they are playing it very stupidly, they are still hoping we will make additional concessions.

RN: The Russians are?

HK: No, no, the North Vietnamese.

RN: The Russians want the damn thing settled. I don’t think they ever did until we went over there—but they do now.

HK: They did ever since about April when they realized that it was really risking their relations with us.

RN: Sure, that’s what I mean. As long as it would irritate us without irritating their relations on bigger things, it was okay, but now it’s that way around, and frankly, I think the Chinese think the same thing.

HK: No question about it. That’s true about both of them.

RN: Okay, Henry, thank you very much.

HK: Right, Mr. President.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 14, Chronological File)