320. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

K: _____ and some horse’s ass in the White House sent a message that there is to be no response to the President’s speech tonight. Now, the Europeans have the President of the European Council of Ministers2 there who failed and he prepared a response. They say they don’t want to pick the guy. The Europeans have already picked a guy and so has the conference.

S: I don’t know where that information comes from. But the President does not intend to give a toast.

K: But he’s going to say something.

S: Well, he’s going to—yes he’s going to say something.

K: Well let him wind it up with a toast and somebody’s got to respond for Christ’s sake.

S: Al just came down and said the President does not want to have a toast.

K: Well go back to Al and tell him for Christ’s sake they’re all going to go back and consider it an insult. If somebody can’t reply for them.

S: You mean whether or not it’s a toast.

K: Look, all he’s got to do is to toast cooperation or friendship or something.

S: I already sent him a proposed toast to do that, toast to the success of the conference and the end of his remarks. And Al just came back down and said the President decided he doesn’t want a toast, he’s going to finish his remarks and say let’s go have coffee. I didn’t know you were interested. I’ll go back to him.

K: I wasn’t interested until Scheel came to me all excited.

S: OK, well let me see if I can…

K: It just isn’t worth it—do you think it’s worth it?

[Page 898]

S: No. Let me see if I can turn it around.3

K: If not, let me know. You know it’s not the worse thing either. But any other problem?

S: No.

K: Now it looks as if the embargo is off again. I mean, they’re going to take it off.

S: It looks good today.

K: Yes.

S: Looks very good.

K: Yes.

S: Do it again. We’re not there yet.

K: He’ll think it is because of the letter4 he had. By the time he handed the letter we already had the reply.

S: That’s right. I haven’t pointed that out. OK, I’ll get back to you.

K: All my team is mad at me because Jobert gave a really vicious speech.

S: Did he.

K: And I replied very gently.

S: Good.

K: I just figured I don’t want to have those characters to go off and say he got my goat.

S: I agree with you.

K: Don’t you.

S: Oh, absolutely.

K: In fact I didn’t reply at all. He quoted a senator to criticize the President and I just said could he give us the name of the senator and let it go.

[Page 899]

S: Good, I don’t think you ought…

K: Right.

S: OK, I’ll get back to you.

K: As soon as possible.

S: Right.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 24, Chronological Files. Unclassified. All blank underscores are omissions in the original.
  2. Walter Scheel.
  3. In his toast following the February 11 White House dinner for those attending the Washington Energy Conference, Nixon linked security, trade, and monetary issues to the growth of “isolation in the energy field.” He stated that a sense of isolationism was growing within the United States, “not just about security—those, for example, who believe that the United States unilaterally should withdraw its forces from Europe and for that matter withdraw forces from all over the world and make our treaty commitments to other nations in the Far East and in Europe meaningless—but also with regard to trade, where those who completely oppose the initiatives we have undertaken in the trade area and who oppose even some of the initiatives in the international monetary area that you are all familiar with.” He concluded that it was the “enlightened selfish interest of each nation here” to pursue cooperation in trade, developing energy sources, and acquiring energy to maintain industrial development. The text of his toast and Scheel’s response is in the Department of State Bulletin, March 4, 1974, pp. 230–235.
  4. Document 307.