14. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer)1
Nixon: How’d you like what I said about national defense, Admiral?2
Moorer: That was fine, sir. We’ve been up struggling on—
Nixon: Look, fight like hell for the budget. We cannot cut the budget.
Moorer: Yes, sir. We spent five days already on it, and we are working hard on the Symington committee now.
Nixon: Put it to them on the basis that if they cut this budget they will destroy the chances for MBFR and for the deal with the Soviet. The Soviet—Brezhnev, I know, I’m going to meet the son-of-a-bitch this summer.3 And he’ll be there. And if we’ve already cut, he won’t give me a damn thing.[Page 44]
Moorer: You’re right, sir. That’s exactly what—
Nixon: I think I got that point across. You can’t—that the rule of diplomacy, one unbreakable rule—is that you can’t get anything unless you’ve got something to give.
Moorer: Exactly. Yes, sir. Well we’re doing our best. We’re finished with the Senate now. We’ve got the House Appropriations Committee and then the Armed Services Committee.
Nixon: Just make the point—
Moorer: Yes, sir.
Nixon:—that those who cut the budget will destroy the chances for reduction of armaments, or limitation of armaments, and for peace.
Moorer: Right, sir.
Moorer: Well we’ll lay it on them as hard as we can.
Nixon: All right. Thank you, Admiral.
Moorer: Again, thank you, sir.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of a Conversation between Nixon and Moorer, White House Telephone, Conversation No. 44–92. No classification marking. The editors transcribed this tape recording specifically for this volume.↩
- On March 29, Nixon addressed the nation regarding Vietnam and domestic problems, devoting a portion of his remarks to defending the military and the defense budget. For the full text of Nixon’s address, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1973, pp. 234–238.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 7.↩