223. Telegram From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

Tohak 55. Ref: Hakto 6.2

1. To put the activities of yesterday morning, referred to in Hakto 6, in perspective, you must understand that the President was demonstrating his leadership in the crisis. All the actions which took place were designed to illustrate that he was personally in charge. I am sure that you are fully aware of all the motivations behind this activity and we discussed some of them before your departure.

2. The tape issue and the Richardson/Ruckelshaus/Cox affair is now dominating the news and activities here. Initial media reaction has appeared quite negative. The development of this domestic crisis gave additional impetus to efforts Saturday to show that the President’s ability to govern was unaffected by the Watergate related turmoil. In that regard, I should point out that there was no special press statement issued yesterday. The “statement” to which you refer came out as a part of Jerry’s normal briefing.3 As I have reported, the specifics of that statement were added at the last minute and obviously for the reasons just mentioned.

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3. I have already discussed the letter to Brezhnev. It and the instructions to you4 I showed and discussed with Haig. I was not surprised by your reaction to the message of instructions but, as you have frequently said, you need to know the President’s mood and what he is thinking. That message of instructions conveyed far better than any description I could have given his mood of the moment, as I tried to indicate in the introductory paragraph with which I forwarded the instructions. Had I substantially modified the instructions, that whole flavor would have been lost. No one, repeat no one, has a copy and only Haig has seen them.

4. Believe me, we are doing our best.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 39, Kissinger Trip Files, HAK Trip—Moscow, Tel Aviv, London, TOHAK 1–60, Oct. 20–23, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Immediate. Sent with instructions to deliver in a sealed envelope to Eagleburger and to retain no file copies.
  2. Document 220.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 214.
  4. Documents 217 and 218.