267. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Chile.]

P: The only thing I see in the news is Chile, and I want to be tough with them. Have you seen this?2

K: Yes, I’ve just seen it.

P: Are you preparing something to say? I will say something but I want you to have your staff—get Haig to, the toughest son of a bitch you’ve got, to work something up. It’s time to kick Chile in the ass.

K: The only thing it was being held up for is the Comptroller General.

P: They have acted. Can you get a paper over to me?

K: I will have a paper.3

P: I just want a strong statement knocking their brains out. What will we do?

K: We can cut off their credit.

P: I want a strong statement kicking Chile in the ass. Have Connally make it. Really blast their butts. And don’t bring State into it. What are they doing?

K: They are probably wringing their hands, but they should say something too. I will call Connally this minute.

P: I want to over-act on this one and I expect State to tow the mark. They have confiscated American property and we won’t allow it.

K: That you should say. We’ll have a program by the end of the day.

[Page 711]

P: I will know what to say, “appropriate action,” but I want the strongest action on it and I want it highly publicized and highly visible, and I want it on TV today.

K: Tomorrow would be better.

P: Okay, tomorrow.4

[Omitted here is a brief exchange unrelated to Chile.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Transcripts, Box 11, Chronological File. No classification marking. A tape recording of Nixon’s side of the conversation is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Conversation No. 288–6.
  2. On October 12, the New York Times reported: “Hector Humeres, the Controller General, who determines under the nationalization law what the Government should pay, said [the previous day] that Anaconda and Kennecott, owners of a share of the two largest mines, have no claim after deductions of excess profits and other penalties.” (“Chilean Aide Rules Against Payments to 2 U.S. Concerns,” New York Times, October 12, 1971, p. 7)
  3. A separate paper from Kissinger has not been found. See, however, Docu-ment 266.
  4. During a telephone conversation at 3:05 on October 12, Rogers and Kissinger discussed how to respond publicly to the Chilean Government’s announcement on expropriation. Rogers thought it wouldn’t be “wise” for either Nixon or Connally to issue the proposed statement. “If you are willing to do it,” Kissinger suggested, “it would be more effective.” Rogers: “We took the lead in the case of Peru [in order] not to invoke the Hickenlooper [Amendment]. I think we will have to invoke it this time. I will do it in my name.” Kissinger: “The President wants a strong statement. Better from you. I don’t know if you want it as a State matter—let’s do it. Or if you want it as a commercial matter, that’s fine.” Rogers: “IPC is a similar matter.” Kissinger: “The President wants to be tough.” Rogers: “As tough as you want.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 369, Telephone Records, 1969–1976, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)