46. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

Hakto 27. 1. I read your cable with the incredulity that tends to accompany my reading of the Washington mood on the trips. Does anyone, in his right mind, believe I can bring something home on the Jewish issue?2 Has everyone forgotten that we are charged with the foreign policy of the U.S.? On the other hand I think a call by Humphrey and Javits on Dobrynin might be helpful.3

2. Here is what has repeat has been accomplished:

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A) A settlement of the lend-lease issue.

B) A breakthrough in the trade negotiations in which we are getting ninety percent of our maximum program

C) A date for opening SALT.

D) A break in the deadlock on MBFR and CSE so that both conferences can be announced next month.

E) Very satisfactory talks on Vietnam.

F) Major progress on next year’s summit.

G) Other crucial matters to be discussed when I return.

3. In these circumstances, to wait with a briefing by me till Monday is madness.4 A briefing on Saturday would enable me

A) To emphasize the President’s role in these negotiations and focus attention on his relation to Brezhnev.

B) Set the frame-work without killing the October announcements.

C) Get ahead of the power curve on speculation; in short do what the briefings in the summit week did.

4. Failure to brief on Saturday would

A) Enable each Department to get out what was achieved and their version of what was attainable.

B) Enable each Department to claim credit for itself.

C) Get so much speculation started that we will never catch up with it again.

5. In other words, please go back to Haldeman and the President on this. Rogers will be no happier either way. The President should understand that he is on the threshold of the greatest spurt in foreign policy since the summit and that it has to be properly set up with him as the focal point.5

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 24, HAK Trip Files, HAK’s Germany, Moscow, London, Paris Trip, Sep. 9–15, 1972, HAKTO 1–35. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The message is incorrectly dated September 4. A stamped notation on the message indicates it was received at 4:58 a.m. on September 14. After departing Moscow, Kissinger stopped in London on September 14 to meet with British Prime Minister Edward Heath.
  2. In a message on September 13, Haig wrote Kissinger: “The President has not commented on the progress reports I gave him but there is obviously no worrying going on with respect to what you may or may not be doing in Moscow. The general impression I get is that the President and at least Haldeman are very anxious for you to come home with as good a package as you can get. I do think that the President hopes that you will have been able to get some Soviet assurances on the Soviet Jewry problem. As you know, the staff will not leave him alone.” (Ibid., TOHAK 1–116)
  3. In message Tohak 82, Haig wrote Kissinger that “Senator Javits called me last night” and said that “he and Senator Humphrey have been urged by their Senate colleagues to see Dobrynin and make a formal Senatorial démarche. I told Javits it would be best to hold up on any such action, and in any event Dobrynin was in Moscow and that such a démarche should not be made at the Ministerial level. Javits agreed and this issue, which is approaching a boiling point, should remain under control until you return.” (Ibid.)
  4. Monday, September 18. In message Hakto 20 to Haig, September 13, Kissinger wrote: “I think I should brief press Saturday a.m. [September 16] before they run wild.” (Ibid., HAKTO 1–35) Haig wrote Kissinger in message Tohak 82 that Haldeman “believes that you should have the press conference on Monday, after staying at Camp David Friday night and ostensibly reporting to the President both Friday night and Saturday morning. In this way, we will get both the weekend play and an early week heavy play riding the communiqué and the Q’s and A’s out until Monday. In a substantive sense, I also support this game plan since we are bound to have some bureaucratic problems with Rogers and Peterson and there could be some additional problems develop with our NATO allies which could be put more effectively to rest after some delay between the surfacing of the communiqué and the consultations and the Monday press briefing.”
  5. In message Tohak 97, September 14, Haig informed Kissinger “the President agreed that you can proceed on Saturday. He insisted, however, that you could only do so after you brief Rogers and at first insisted that you see Rogers before you see him to keep him out of a tense meeting with the two of you. I insisted that he see you first and he finally agreed.” (Ibid., TOHAK 1–116) According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, on September 16, he met with Rogers for breakfast from 7:25 to 8:08 a.m., met with the President from 9:46 to 10:42 a.m., and held his press briefing at 11:33 a.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1967–76) Records of the meetings were not found. The news conference was reported in The New York Times, September 17, 1972, p. 1.