137. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and John B. Connally 1

K: Hello, John.

C: Hi, Henry.

K: How are you?

C: Fine, sir.

K: John, we’re having some trouble with these Standard Oil people whose political acumen is not up to their income to put it mildly.

C: Yeah.

K: But I wanted to mention it to you and you can think about it and we can talk again on Monday.2

C: OK.

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K: You know, I talked to Saud after you did.3

C: Yes.

K: And I made essentially the same points to him. One, that we need a long-term policy and two, that it isn’t in their interests to adopt a confiscatory approach. Because if they get too far ahead of the other countries that they will start a whole new round of crises in the Middle East. Secondly, if they get into a confrontation with us, they will have to lean to states whose interest has to be to undermine them. And, therefore, for political reasons, it’s not in their interests. At the same time I told them it was not in our interests to impose a settlement on them that made them come out worse than the other states because we were interested in their stability. He took all of this very well. He agreed or he reconfirmed his agreement to delay. He said that they would not insist on net book value and he would recommend that when he got back. And he said that they would agree to a fair figure. And he said that there is good will. If I gave him what I personally thought was a fair figure, they would be heavily guided by that. I called up Jamieson and his people and they thought they had the game won at that point.4

C: Oh yeah.

K: And they wouldn’t give me a figure. And said that’s their business to negotiate it.

C: Yes.

K: And wouldn’t talk about long-term policies said that wasn’t their business either and got semi-snooty about it and sort of thanked me and dismissed me. Then the idiots, if you forgive me, on Friday5 after having asked for a postponement which they had been given, the idiots went to Saud on Friday in New York and started talking to him before he could even go back and negotiate and talk to his Government.

C: Jesus Christ.

K: So he, of course, pretended he didn’t know what they were talking about. Now Jamieson called me this morning6 and said apparently our two messages hadn’t gotten across. I said now listen Mr. Jamieson, you can tell me he didn’t agree with us, but it’s inconceivable that Connally and I can both talk to a man who doesn’t know what we are talking [Page 341] about. Obviously this guy before he went back to Saudi Arabia couldn’t say anything.

C: Right.

K: And equally obviously he couldn’t be in a position of having first asked for a postponement on their behalf and settling it with them before the first date for which they asked for a postponement.

C: Right.

K: This is the dilemma they are in. Now they again want to send an emissary.

C: Well the hell with them.

K: Well, that’s my view.

C: We can talk about it tomorrow, but the hell with them.

K: Jamieson wants to come down and meet with you and me but I don’t know whether we ought to do Standard Oil’s business.

C: You and I ought to meet separately first.

K: That’s what I think.

C: No question about it.

K: That’s exactly what I think.

C: They want to use us, Henry, and then when they think we’ve set them up for them then they want to try and knock a home run. God damn it, if they want to negotiate now let them go on over there and negotiate.

K: John, that’s exactly my attitude. I just thought I had missed the point. They were using us to set something up and then they were going for the home run.

C: Sure.

K: The stupid bastards. They could have given me a figure a $100 million higher than what they were going to settle for.

C: That’s correct. Well, let’s you and I talk about it before we get involved with them.

K: OK, good. Your reaction is exactly mine and I just wondered whether I had missed something.

C: Oh hell no, your instincts are always right. You’re right again.

K: I look forward to seeing you and I would like to talk over some other things.

C: OK, Henry. We’ll meet tomorrow.

K: No, Monday.

C: Monday. I’m sorry, Monday yes.

K: I had to slip it to noon. Is that—

C: I understand and that’s fine.

K: That’s fine. OK, good.

C: All right.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 15, Chronological Files. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Washington; Connally was in Texas.
  2. August 7.
  3. Undated talking points for Kissinger’s meeting with the Prince are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Subject Files, Confidential Files, Box 8, [CF] CO 128 Saudi Arabia, 1971–1974.
  4. Apparently a reference to Kissinger’s telephone conversations with Hedlund on August 2 at 5:41 p.m., and Jamieson on August 3 at 10:20 a.m. (Ibid., NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 15, Chronological Files)
  5. August 4.
  6. Telephone conversation between Kissinger and Jamieson, August 5, 9:05 a.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 15, Chronological Files)