255. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Chief of the Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (Smith)1

S: We’re meeting this evening at 7:002 and I just wanted to touch base with you before talking to him. Is there any development in Washington I should know about?

K: No, you must assume you will know about every development I noticed in one of the last meetings with him [omission in the original] was probing the Soviets as if you had to find out from them what was going on.

S: No, he didn’t have that in mind. I didn’t get that impression.

K: Be that as it may, there is no development here. There has been no development since I talked to you and I have yesterday approved your going ahead with tabling our proposal, but it should be put in the context of SLBM.

S: It certainly will be.

K: Not as a proposal in its own right.

S: It will be done that way.

K: And I want to assure you again you will be kept fully informed. You can assume if they tell you something they are fishing.

S: Your message of Saturday3

K: On what?

S: General impression of where we stand and raised the possibility of [omission in the original] whether Washington [omission in the original]or [omission in the original]. Would that be agreeable?

K: Washington what?

S: [omission in the original]

K: I see. Let me check that with the President.

S: You may want to give me authority to make a tentative proposal.

K: If you can do it on the basis that you don’t know if it will be approved.

S: I can do it that way or I can make it even stronger, say I doubt it will be approved, but am making a personal inquiry.

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K: Why don’t you do that?

S: The Soviets got the impression from the press conference4 just after we got here …


S: Yes.

K: That is not correct.

S: May I say I personally checked with the President and that is not correct?

K: You may definitely tell him that.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. The conversation took place on a secure telephone line. Kissinger was in Washington; Smith was in Helsinki.
  2. Reference is to a SmithSemenov meeting.
  3. April 8. No record of a conversation or message has been found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 248 and footnote 1, Document 251.