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

K: Mr. President.

N: It is necessary to be somewhat precise on this now. What can we say that the United States will participate in providing observers if requested by the Sec. Gen.2 I don’t want to be behind the news. I would like to be ahead of it.

K: If requested by the Sec. Gen.

N: Fine. The Soviet Union is sending unilaterally. Are we going to object?

K: They cannot do anything until the Sec. Gen. asks for them.

N: Henry, I am getting at this. It is already in the news. To the effect that Soviet Union is sending observers and has asked us to.

K: We have responded to that—We have to avoid, Mr. President,—they are pouring people in there and calling them observers and they have to be observed.

N: I am trying to see what we say tonight.

K: The US is—we think a small number of US observers—we are prepared if the Sec. Gen. asks for them and we have every reason to believe this is what will happen.

[Page 761]

N: This is being discussed now and we think it will be worked out this way. And that can be said.

K: Yes Mr. President.

N: Thanks, Henry.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking.
  2. In a telephone conversation with Nixon at 3:45 p.m. on October 26, Kissinger stated: “We don’t want to get sucked into a separate UN observer force. . . . we are working out this afternoon a situation where the Secretary General will request 20 American and Soviet observers, so the question you raise will be hypothetical, Mr. President. . . . Also should be no self-appointed forces of any one nation. We believe there will be small numbers of Soviet and US personnel requested.” (Ibid.) Printed in Crisis, p. 376.