111. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and His Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

P said we are going to meet at 9:00 a.m.2 but they are trying to push us to get the budget finished by tomorrow afternoon. P said I think it is too soon. P said it seems to me these decisions are so important—Defense, AEC, domestic issues. P said Schlesinger is too abrasive and dogmatic and I can’t make decisions on just pushing. K said it was unfair to you to be confronted with decisions on the basis of one person. P said I should not decide some of these issues. P said I think they should be decided in a group and then brought up. P said in all agencies they need an outsider. P further said we are pushing some of these too fast. K said on the two bombs—there has not been a new tactical weapon in several years. K said you have to consider the impact on the military service. P said yes, I know the problem but on the other hand I sympathize with Mayo. P said I don’t like Schlesinger—they know I don’t want to go into every darn item. P said I should deal only with the big issues of doctrine, morale of services, etc. K said right. P said Mayo should not have brought in piddly things. K said either it should be decided or put in writing. K said one should not put the President in a position of arbitrator with decisions that can be settled by lower levels. P said Mayo probably talked to budget directors and they said get the President’s ear. P said they are trying to rush us to get the budget to print. I am not going to let them do that. If they have to wait a week—let them wait. P said if we delay all we need is a good excuse—Congress has delayed its appropriations. P said what I want to do is get strategy with Mel and then follow from there. I don’t think Mel and Schlesinger will hit it off. K said No, Mel dislikes him immensely. K said I think after you look at these items you decide if you want to cut any items and how much and then Mel and I will do it from there.

[Omitted here is a brief discussion about Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. President Nixon met the next day with Mayo and Schlesinger from 10:48 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. No record of the meeting was found. (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary)