249. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of the Treasury Shultz and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
S: Hi Henry.
K: I hope you realize this that you might as well enjoy this for another week or so. I’m not getting on the phone first. As soon as I get sworn in I’m calling all my colleagues and put them on first.
K: Cause we’ve got to have a little discipline around here.
S: I’m shocked that my secretary let that happen. I’ve instructed her otherwise.
K: George, I had a phone call from McNamara2 who had heard a rumor that you had gone to the President and asked him to commit himself to give us his support for the IDA replenishment and that the President turned that down. I don’t know whether that’s true. Now my view on this matter remains what it was. It is absolutely senseless to ask the President for an abstract commitment. He’ll never give it. The time to do it is when the issue is concrete. Then he will do it if you and I urge it.
S: Well, I talked to the President about it because we have to take a position. On Saturday, this coming Saturday.3
K: But we have to be for it.
S: Well, we are for it.
K: Oh good. Are you going to tell this to McNamara?
S: We will but we just can’t be for it because the Congress is not only chilly, the Congress is ice cold on this subject.
K: Yeah, but we’ve got to do it. We’ve just got to fight it and I know the President will say 100 times he is against but he won’t do anything with Congress.
S: Well, he didn’t say that, I was the only person there so how does McNamara know what I talked to the President about?[Page 867]
K: Well, that’s what I would like to know. Well I don’t give a damn whether McNamara is right. I just want to stress my strong view that we gamble and support it.
S: Well, I don’t know about that. I don’t know that that is the way to get the money but let me talk to you about it tomorrow because we are going to attempt to take a position on Saturday in Nairobi and then we’re going to have to have something to say in my speech there on the subject.
S: We have been working very hard on it as you know. It’s just murder. Very discouraging. Ok.
K: Ok. Bye.