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117. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger1

K. I just wanted to tell you we have had a call from Dobrynin that a message from Brezhnev to you is coming through in the next two hours so I think we should hold this thing up until we get this message.2 I know this might be impatient-making.

P. It what?

K. I know that these delays are difficult but the problem is we may end up with no support at all.

P. We can’t do that.

K. I think we should make a record that we have been very active before we go to the Security Council and not get totally isolated. It is best to know where the cards lie. I think we can wait even if we take some flak. If we can see this through we have a major platform.3

P. We’ll have to do that. With Brezhnev I don’t think we will learn anything.

K . . . Somebody on the Arab side will put in a simple ceasefire resolution. It will be the India/Pakistan thing all over again. We’re going to be in a hell of a position in vetoing or voting against a simple ceasefire. We had a message saying they will have their equipment by Wednesday or Thursday but they will not accept a ceasefire before they have thrown them out.4 My view is that if we can not break ranks during this crisis we can really do it afterwards because then they will have something to lose.

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P. One thing that we have to have in the back of our minds is we don’t want to be so pro-Israel that the oil states—the Arabs that are not involved in the fighting will break ranks.

K. So far we haven’t done anything.

P. You are keeping Scali informed?

K. Yes.

P. PR is terribly important. Even if we don’t do anything . . . Let Scali go out . . . he can do a lot and prattle and cause no problem.

K. We held a meeting of 4 Perm Reps and some others to . . .

P. You keep one step removed . . . we can use you for the power punch.

K. I recommend that you announce that you have asked for a meeting of the Security Council as soon as we have the Soviet message. I have told Dobrynin that we are not hell bent on a Security Council meeting—that if the Soviets made a proposal where we could settle outside the Security Council, we would consider it. I called the Egyptian Foreign Minister last night.5 Some of our oil people in this country are6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22. No classification marking. Nixon was in Key Biscayne and Kissinger was in Washington.
  2. At 12:40 p.m., Dobrynin telephoned Kissinger and said he was still waiting for a message. Kissinger pointed out that the United States had been delaying action until it heard from the Soviets. (Ibid.) Printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 90–91.
  3. At 12:55 p.m., Waldheim telephoned Kissinger, who explained that he had been exchanging thoughts with the Soviets to see what could be done, but the Soviets were not willing to do very much. Waldheim indicated that most members did not seem interested in having a Security Council meeting that day. Kissinger replied that what worried him was that this was a major military conflict. He asked what the Security Council was for if it could not meet on this. He reiterated that the United States was expecting a communication from the Soviets and said he would call Waldheim around 4 p.m. to see about convening the Security Council, perhaps for the following morning. Waldheim agreed, noting that this meant they could avoid debate in the General Assembly since under UN rules of procedure, the General Assembly could not meet if the Security Council was meeting. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 22) Printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 91–92.
  4. See Document 115.
  5. See footnote 4, Document 111.
  6. A handwritten notation indicates that the transcript was “not finished.”