102. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation1


  • Amb. Gerard Smith
  • Dr. Henry Kissinger

GS: Hello.

HK: Hello.

GS: HenryGerry Smith.

HK: How are you?

GS: Well, I am pretty sick about the Report.2

[Page 339]

HK: About that—I have been sick about that all morning. My understanding is that I have requested written reports from everybody. That particular occasion was not to be, but that it was rather (but I don’t want to do it on the open phone) that one of the Senators balled it up. In any event, I am looking into it. I know how you feel and you are right.

GS: Well, I don’t care about this thing personally but it just seems to me highly destructive of any usefulness I have to have this public image. Is there no way that you people can correct this by some sort of a press release?

HK: What would you suggest?

GS: Well, I think that if you stated that, or someone stated that, my views were asked in the routine fashion as to the relationship of SALT and Safeguard and I passed them on to the White House in a private communication and I explicitly said I was not addressing my comment to any amendment and I concluded that the United States should not put into a static condition any strategic arms program in anticipation of an agreement and that was it. I think that would be better than having the appearance that I am slyly going around placing telegrams in proper places. Now at Gen. Haig’s suggestion I talked to Senator McIntyre the other day.3 In these very same terms I told him I understood it was a confidential communication, and he said, “I will honor that”. And I understand now he is going around on the Senate floor quoting me.

HK: McIntyre?

GS: Yes.

HK: Well that is the problem. He is the problem.

GS: Well I wish Haig would not expose me to people that are a problem—that can’t keep a confidence.

HK: Well there was no reason. You know we obviously—if we had understood that this would happen we wouldn’t have done it. I had kept it until the very end.

GS: Well it seems to me that somebody owes me an obligation to try to take remedial action here. I don’t know who it is or what it is but I would like to think that something was done about it. I tried to help the President consistent with my responsibilities here, Henry, and I feel that I am getting a pretty shabby deal.

HK: I will do what I can in convincing them that you didn’t initiate anything.

GS: All right, but I hope something can be done and I understand that the Senate is going to have another vote next Wednesday4 and we [Page 340] certainly hope that steps can be taken to keep me out of any preparation for next Wednesday’s vote.

HK: Right.

GS: See, this seems to me Henry to be compounded with that devilish advertisement that I brought to your attention that incorrectly quoted me, and then it was repeated again in the Post. I find it hard to believe that I am getting a fair deal here.

HK: Gerry, the trouble is that some of these things are not being done from my office.

GS: If you can bring your influence to bear on whoever is doing it I would appreciate it.

HK: You can count on that, Gerry.

GS: All right. Thank you very much.

HK: I hope that despite all of this you know that …

GS: I feel that my prospects of doing anything for you in the future are sadly diminished.

HK: I don’t think so, but at any rate you deserve much better.

GS: I have a sense of what relationships are with the other side here and this sort of thing is very bad.

HK: I agree.

GS: Maybe you can find some other employment for me.

HK: Oh no, no, no, Gerry. We need you there.

GS: All right. I will see you when I get back to Washington.5 Thank you very much.

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA Files: FRC 383–97–0010, Director’s Files, Smith Chronological File, SALT, Box 1, Progress Reports with White House Officials, March–August 1970. No classification marking. Smith was in Vienna; Kissinger was in Washington.
  2. In a backchannel message to Kissinger, August 13, Smith stated: “I understand that New York Times has it that as a result of White House circulation of a telegram I am cast in the role of lobbying for Safeguard. My understanding was that the telegram was to be used by you personally in conversation with a few Senators on a confidential basis.” (Ibid.) Smith was referring to his backchannel message of August 10; see footnote 3, Document 101.
  3. See Document 101.
  4. August 19.
  5. SALT negotiations in Vienna ended August 14.