25. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Secretary of Defense Laird1
K said he has a problem on the oil import business. L said so do I. K said this thing has been merrily cooking along and nobody has been paying any attention to the political implications. L said he just went over this with Shillito this morning. K said he went over it with Shultz. K said the President hadn’t focused on it before, but now he wants a delay. K wondered if L and the Joint Chiefs could delay it until the P has focused on it. L said sure. K said can you do that? L said sure. K said he had breakfast with Rowland Evans2 and he suggested that L is the most outstanding man in government. K said he fought with him like hell on that issue.
L said on the tariff on the Middle East oil—the Arabs will think we picked them out this time to put a $1.25 tariff on. L said they will raise hell. And L said our domestic producers are all against it. K said there are two issues: tariff against quota and lowering the price of oil. L said we shouldn’t put the commission on it; it should be in the White House in OEP. K said what we’ve got to do is get the thing screwed up enough that the P gets some breathing space.
K said he would be seeing L on Thursday; he has a number of things on the NSC to discuss with L. K said he thinks L and Bill should talk 5 or 10 minutes about NATO at NSC. L said make it short, it’s not that significant. K said you and I are getting together Thursday morning; there are a number of things on NSC K wanted to talk about.