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

[Omitted here is unrelated discussion.]

K: Al, I am calling about something else. That mini summit in Algiers is sending the Egyptian and Saudi Foreign Ministers over here.2

H: Oh?

K: And we think it is going to be good news but we could … we can’t be sure. I have to stay here and wait for them and then I think I should bring them to Key Biscayne.

H: If it’s good news. That’s fine.

K: If it is not good news, that’s why I think I should greet them here with them arriving here. I’ll stay here and wait for them and … what’s the President’s schedule.

H: He’s going to leave here on Monday.

K: I mean, he isn’t going over to Walkers Key. I’m assuming I can bring these guys down Saturday3 afternoon.

H: I wish you could come down here so you get your rest.

K: And I wouldn’t announce it at the St. Department but bring them down to the President and let him announce it with these two characters standing next to him.

H: Absolutely, good idea.

K: Let’s not say the President is going to see them. We don’t know what the news is yet.

H: We’ll just stay cool until you assess it.

K: We’ll just say we have reported to the President and he is aware they are coming. We will be in close touch. Because I don’t know … the sons of bitches, they just sent a message, that Egyptian Foreign Minister, he thinks he’s such a good friend, he just sent a message—I am [Page 904]coming and bringing Saqqaf with me—that’s all. We don’t know what he’ll say, whether there are three more conditions, that they will do it in June or when.

H: Right.

K: So, it’s a good thing to have us see them anyway because we can talk to them about the energy conference. It will teach a good lesson to the Europeans about who’s got muscle.

H: The conference was … you performed a miracle.

K: We got 99% of what we asked for.4 Keep the President’s schedule free on Saturday afternoon.

H: OK.

K: I might bring them tomorrow night or on Saturday.

H: All right.

K: I will report immediately what they have to say. We’ve got no guarantee what they are going to say getting off the airplanes. I can’t control that, but nothing will be said at the State Department.

H: Right. There is great sensitivity about how this is done.

K: I just think it is too dangerous to let them come without going … without knowing what they’ve got. It might be a slap in the face.

H: Right. I think it’s the right way to do it exactly.

K: OK. I’m going to bing them down after we know what it is. You can decide how to handle the publicity. I would play it low key. We don’t want to get into a position so they think they can slap it on again either.

H: All right, Henry. I’ll wait to hear from you.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 24, Chronological Files. Unclassified. Kissinger was in Washington; Haig was in Key Biscayne.
  2. As reported in telegrams 348 and 361 from Algiers, both February 14. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files) As related in telegram 363 from Algiers, February 14, Boumedienne stated the Ministers were being sent to remove “any ambiguities” and that he “personally believes another trip by Secretary to Middle East as soon as possible would be positive act and would help accelerate progress and further improve relations between U.S. and Arab states.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 101, Geopolitical Files, Algeria, Oct 1973–Mar 1974)
  3. February 16.
  4. A note from Kissinger to Nixon, February 13, reads: “I am pleased to be able to inform you that our success at the Energy Conference was virtually complete. While the French reserved their position on some of the substantive issues in the communiqué, all the other participants were with us 100%. Even Jobert. At the end of the conference, [he] made a conciliatory final statement of friendship.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Material, NSC Files, Box 341, Subject Files, HAK/President Memos, 1971–) EUR sent Sonnenfeldt a paper, “Impact of the Washington Energy Conference on Europe and the Alliance,” February 24, on post-conference relations between the United States and France. (Ibid., RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor 1955–77, Sonnenfeldt Lot Files, Box 9, POL 2 EC) The paper is scheduled to be published in full in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–15, Part 2, Documents on Western Europe, 1973–1976.