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