315. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and President Nixon 1
K: Mr. President.
N: How are you getting along today?
K: I think these various maniacs are going to work me into a nervous breakdown. I sat up with Mrs. Meir last night until 2:00.2 I think we are making some progress with her but whether enough to satisfy the Arabs I don’t know.
N: You are making some progress?
K: Yes, some progress, whether or not, not as dangerous as the day before.
N: Al told me how rough it was up there.
K: It was brutal, she called yesterday and I refused to meet with her—told her to send her representative. That shook her up a bit.
N: Well, that’s the way these things are.
K: Didn’t want to pull . . .
N: We know it’s just a question of . . . we are trying to balance several different parties here—the Israelis, Egyptians, Syrians, Russians. Let alone the Europeans yapping at our heels and so on.
K: I think the Egyptians realize they are better off taking what they can get now. If they force an all out confrontation on the October 22 issue, then we can—we can’t have yet another confrontation three weeks later on the basic settlement issue.
N: Which is much more important.
K: A lot more important.
N: That’s the point to make to them, which you naturally will.
N: It’s a very solid point.
K: Can make a very good case . . . not just getting off the roads, say non-military supplies on the roads. Egyptians will just move the tanks and other stuff off the roads, give the road up to the Third Army and then they will be trapped . . . put the road operation under the UN, willing to get off the roads, not willing to get off the cross country access. [Page 877] Maybe Egypt would be willing to buy this. Willing to put the UN on the roads.
N: Anyway, there’s another day before you take off, Monday, right?
K: Drafted a very positive reply to the Soviets in principle.3 One problem, there’s almost no way to do the joint mission which isn’t going to lead to another explosion. I really don’t see what useful purpose it serves. Israel let the Soviets in, the British and French are screaming their heads off and US–Soviet mission, I don’t see what good can come of it. Egyptians don’t particularly want it, Fahmi told me that. After I get back I’ll send Rusk or Brownell to the peace talks,4 with a Moscow first stop. In that context might be willing to have them take the trip.
N: Sounds right. It’s a good compromise, sending somebody of that importance. Sounds all right. Let’s try that. Anything else of importance.
K: The French have come in on other matters. They now have a very constructive approach to the European Declaration thing. Our screaming at them really has had some rather good impact.
N: Henry, as I see it, let’s face it, we can’t start having Europeans, British taking a . . . line on everything we try to do. As Dulles used to say maybe we have to make an agonizing reappraisal of European views. We are saving their oil, after all, they need it more than we do.
K: No question.
N: OK, well good luck. Call if you need anything.
K: I will call tomorrow. There’s a possibility the White House will be able to announce resumption of diplomatic relations within a month. Possibly announce jointly from Cairo and the White House, and we’ll upgrade our Interests Section with more senior personnel for a month.
N: All right, Henry.
K: All right, Mr. President.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Transcripts (Telcons), Chronological File, Box 23. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington; Nixon was in Key Biscayne.↩
- See Document 312.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 316. The message was a reply to Brezhnev’s letter that Dobrynin gave to Nixon on October 30; see Document 301.↩
- Dean Rusk, former Secretary of State, and Herbert Brownell, former Attorney General.↩