319. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the White House Chief of Staff (Haig)1

H: How is it going?

K: So far so good. It is going to come out alright. Nevertheless, the situation, and we should not kid ourselves is exactly as I described it and I hope he does not dribble over them too much tonight.2

H: I don’t think he will. I told him he can’t.

K: There is no confrontation. The French are isolated but we are not getting what should be happening—a response of united action. They are all looking for ways of getting into talks with the Arabs/producers before they know what they want. The basic theory they are not willing to buy. We will get enough to make it look respectable. There is no strategic conception there.

H: Yes.

K: It will end respectably. We can claim it a success.

H: Right. Right. When will they be finished Henry?

K: Tomorrow night.

H: He is not going to speak formally tonight. He will just draw from the remarks that were given to him and keep it informal.

K: The situation is much better than the press reports it. That is totally nonsense. Every speaker this morning more or less supported us and the French are going to be difficult but it will turn out to be manageable within a basic long-term framework but it does not have what you need if you want to do—not NATO of the 50s.

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H: Right. Right.

K: The embargo is almost certainly going to be lifted this week or early next week.

H: Have you gotten that from the Saudis?

K: Yes. Not as a result of the letter but as a result of our threat of stopping all diplomatic efforts.3 The Syrians have accepted the Israeli procedure proposal4 and I have refused to transmit it to the Israelis until the embargo is lifted. I have told the Israelis informally. It is not an Israeli proposal. It is my compromise between the Israeli position and the insane Syrian position. It is so complicated that it is essentially crooked but each can claim—there are about seven steps that have to be taken in a 72 hour period before the negotiations start but each can claim he has backed the other one down.

H: That can give lip service to the conditions for the embargo.

K: Now that the Syrians have accepted it and now that I have refused to do it until the embargo is lifted I think this will give them the vehicle.

H: Great.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to oil.]

[K:] It looks like it will be lifted. Sadat has called a mini-summit of the Arabs for Wednesday prior to the oil meeting on Thursday.5

H: Good.

K: Even Yamani has said it is going to be lifted.

H: That is good.

K: It proves that the only thing these guys understand is toughness. When we were sucking around them, they kicked us in the teeth.

H: I think that is right.

K: You will tell this to our leader.

H: Yes I will be seeing him in a few minutes.

K: Tell him to stay steady. Be conciliatory but not groveling but not to believe the bullshit about the great cooperation they are extending.

H: O.K. You will be here tonight.

K: Yes. I will try to see him for a few minutes.

H: Good, Henry.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 24, Chronological Files. Unclassified.
  2. A reference to Nixon’s planned toast to the gathered Foreign Ministers at a White House dinner.
  3. See Document 300. Nixon’s letter to Faisal is Document 307.
  4. Reported in telegram 27119 from Jidda, February 11. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 207, Geopolitical Files, Saudi Arabia, 7 Feb–28 Feb 1974)
  5. February 13 and 14.