[Page 752]

277. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and President Nixon1

K: Mr. President, you have won again.

N: You think so?

K: The Soviets have joined our resolution at the UN barring permanent members after screaming like banshees and we have had a reply from Brezhnev.2

N: What does it say?

K: It accepts your proposal and says he is sending 70 observers and we should send 70 observers also and that is it.

N: That is easy. We will send 170 if they want.

K: That is it. It is done.

N: You think it is?

K: Yes. We should stay on alert until midnight and start standing down in Alaska at midnight and so on.

N: How should we handle the press tomorrow?

K: I will be glad to step out in the press room tomorrow and explain it.

N: Not until tomorrow? Will the evening news carry the UN resolution?

K: They will carry it. I will explain it at the press conference.3 The @#$% are saying we did all of this for political purposes.

N: I know. Like Kalb and who else?

K: Kalb, McCarthy. Reston called here with a similar question.4

N: In other words we set this up.

[Page 753]

K: At 4:00 in the morning.

N: And that we created a crisis. I hope you told him strongly.

K: I treated Kalb contemptible at the press conference.

N: What about Scotty?

K: I gave him a few facts. I said what would you do if 7 of 8 airborne divisions were put on alert. I did not tell him about the Brezhnev letter.

N: Why does he think the President is up until 3:00 this morning.

K: I said, you think we staged all of this. He said no but we had to give all of the information.

N: I thought you had.

K: I had but I did not tell them about the Brezhnev letter and the air alert. We don’t want to force him to hit you back. What you did was just another one of these moves.

N: Just as well I will not be doing the press conference. I am not in the mood to do it tonight.

K: Absolutely not. I think I would do it tomorrow or Monday.

N: I don’t think I can wait until Monday.

K: Do it tomorrow night.5 I would treat the bastards with contempt, Mr. President. They asked me about Watergate. I said you cannot play with the central authority of the country without paying a price.

N: You are rather confident that this is going to do it.

K: Mr. President, you were prepared to put forces in as you were prepared to go to nuclear war in Pakistan and that was way before you knew what was going to happen. I told Kalb that the President is attempting to conduct foreign policy of the US regardless . . . that it would be suggested that the US would alert its forces for domestic reasons. . . .

N: Good. Al told me you slaughtered the bastards. Keep it up.

K: That is what I am here for.

N: Keep it up. We will survive.

K: No question.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. Dobrynin read the reply to Kissinger during a telephone conversation at 2:40 p.m. In the message, Brezhnev also informed Nixon that the Soviet Union was sending 70 observers to the Egyptian–Israeli front. (Ibid.) Printed in Kissinger, Crisis, pp. 360–361. The letter was delivered by Dobrynin at 3:40 p.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 70, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Exchange of Notes Between Kissinger and Dobrynin, Vol. 8)
  3. Kissinger held a news conference at noon on October 25. The transcript is printed in The New York Times, October 26, 1973.
  4. Marvin Kalb, Colman McCarthy, and James (“Scotty”) Reston were American journalists. Reston and Kissinger spoke at 3 p.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23)
  5. See footnote 2, Document 285.