250. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President of the World Bank (McNamara) and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: Hello.

M: Hi, Henry.

K: Bob, I don’t know whether you talked to George yet.

M: No, I haven’t.

K: I’ve given him hell today.

M: That’s good. He deserves it.

K: And he swears he didn’t exactly say what you think he said.

M: I hope not. I’ve gotten some other reports later today that if he didn’t say it exactly that way, that was sure what he meant.

K: Well, you and I are having lunch tomorrow, and I’m going to take up this issue. I consider it of the most vital importance for the United States that this thing goes through. I don’t think we should bargain with Congress before we even submit the bloody thing.

[Page 868]

M: Henry, this is the point. It was the most inept approach to Congress that people in this ______ have heard. I’ve had several people tell me that today.

K: Of course Passman will say no if you ask him …

M: And so will the others. With the President impounding funds and not putting through the Democrats priorities, what the hell is the Democratic …

K: I wanted you to know, Bob, I think you should proceed on the assumption that we will do it.

M: Well, very good, and you can count on my help, Henry. And I think I can deliver some of these people at the proper time and under the proper circumstances.

K: Well, I will take it. I’m having lunch with George tomorrow. If I fail I will take it to the President in the afternoon.

M: Excellent, excellent, because George is leaving at 8:00 Thursday2 morning.

K: Well, we can always instruct him by cable.

M: Well, that’s very good indeed.

K: And I just want you to know that we can fail on that and I don’t think it’s been fully understood and if Congress wants to cut it it’s still better than for the Executive Branch not to have submitted it.

M: Absolutely, Henry, and in the meantime you understand that if Congress cuts it I’m in the deepest of trouble. But in any case in the meantime I can get ahead with Indo-China and a lot of other things can fall into place.

K: Well, it can’t be permitted to fail and I’ve already lined up Haig and between the two of us we’re going to manage it.

M: Thanks very much for calling, Henry.

K: O.K. Bye, bye.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Box 22. No classification marking. All blank underscores are omissions in the original.
  2. September 20. Shultz attended the IMF and World Bank Boards of Governors meeting held in Nairobi September 24–28. See Document 53.