223. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Letter from Ambassador Korry

Ambassador Edward Korry has sent you a personal letter which expresses his “profound disappointment” that his services are being terminated. (Tab A)2 Korry is being replaced as Ambassador to Chile very shortly by a career officer, Ambassador Nat Davis. He has not been offered a comparable position elsewhere by the State Department.

Korry’s letter is an emotional defense of his dedication and loyalty to you and to the Presidency, and a recounting of the personal attacks he has received at the hands of the State Department and the press because of his attempts to call things as he saw them and to act with initiative. Korry obviously feels, with some justification, that he has been badly mistreated. He mentions his pain that no one has rebutted the calumnies that have “irreparably impaired” him and his family. He refers to his “contract” with you that began in Ethiopia in 1967 when he told you in response to your question that he would feel privileged to serve the Presidency whatever party prevailed.

The letter also summarizes what Korry believes are his principal accomplishments both in Chile and elsewhere.

Korry is a former journalist who writes very articulately. He has acquired a great deal of interesting and sensitive information in his career as an Ambassador, and he is presently carrying a bitter grudge against the State Department and, I suspect, considerable resentment at the White House for not defending and protecting him after his loyal service. Although there are aspects of Korry’s performances and judg[Page 615]ment which were unfortunate, on the whole I believe he has tried to serve your objectives as he saw them. I think it would be desirable to try to ease some of Korry’s pain at this time, both because it would be compassionate and in the Administration’s interest to avoid sending back to private life an excessively embittered, articulate, and knowledgeable potential critic.3

I therefore suggest that you authorize me to send a copy of Korry’s letter to Secretary Rogers, and that you authorize me to tell him that:

—You want to send a warm letter of praise and appreciation to Korry (which could be quoted publicly);

—You want Korry to be offered another post which is sufficiently prestigious to salvage Korry’s ego, though it need not be substantively important;

—The official announcement that Korry is being replaced should emphasize that his service has been valued and that we hope to utilize his considerable talents elsewhere.

If Korry returns to Washington, I believe you should receive him for a brief office visit which could be given appropriate publicity.


That you approve the courses of action suggested above.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 778, Country Files, Latin America, Chile, Vol. I, Korry File. Secret; Sensitive; Outside System. Sent for action. This memorandum was prepared by Nachmanoff and sent to Kissinger for approval under cover of an April 22 memorandum that reads, “Attached for your signature at Tab I is a memo to the President forwarding a personal letter from Ambassador Korry. Your memo contains my suggestions for handling this situation. I believe this is one case where human compassion, and perhaps justice, coincides with self-interest. Taking these actions will not guarantee that Korry will not at some future time do damage to the President’s and others’ interests, or to our foreign relations; but human nature being what it is, failure to do something for him will inevitably lead him to seek vengeance and self-justification.” (Ibid.) At the bottom, Kissinger wrote, “Also do a very warm backchannel from me to Korry saying letter has been placed before President.” No record of this backchannel message has been found.
  2. Document 221.
  3. In an April 23 taped conversation between the President and Kissinger, the President stated, “What the hell are we going to do with him if he gets out there and starts writing his books?” and “Move him outta there!” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Conversation No. 487–7)
  4. President Nixon initialed the Approve option.