70. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Under Secretary of State (Irwin)1

K: I have just become aware in greater detail of the oil problem. You remember we talked about it last week.2 I just wanted you to know, after discussion with the President, I am sending a directive to move it into the NSC system.3

I: There have been some other developments. We were just about to come over and I wanted to ask for a few minutes with you afterwards. I am going out tomorrow as the President’s emissary to talk…4

K: I am aware of it—ex post facto.

I: It just happened this noon.

K: I know how it happened. It is an unacceptable procedure, but that is between me and the Secretary.

I: It certainly wasn’t my idea to nominate myself to go.

K: You should get out of the line of fire when the firing starts. I just wanted you to know I am sending out a directive on how it is to be handled in the system from now on—which doesn’t affect you much. We can talk about it briefly. I didn’t want you to get the directive without your being told about it.

I: Depending on when I leave tomorrow morning which depends on when they want me to arrive out there, I don’t know whether or not I can attend the 10:00 meeting tomorrow morning. If I don’t, Alex will come. In either case, I have heard it’s just principals. From our [Page 178] point of view, if we could bring Ron it would be very helpful. Alex hadn’t planned to go and it…

K: I will call you about it. I will consider that.

I: Thank you.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 8, Chronological Files. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 67.
  3. Document 71.
  4. According to Rogers, the request for the Irwin mission came from the oil companies in a January 15 meeting. (Memorandum from Rogers to Nixon, January 15; National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164, President’s Evening Reading, January 15, 1971) According to the January 15 Situation Report #2 from the Oil Task Force, the oil executives stressed to Rogers the “urgency and seriousness” of the situation, and that Rogers took “under advisement” their suggestion that the United States send a high-level government representative to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1271, Saunders Files, Middle East Oil) A January 15 note, prepared for the Presidential Briefing, stated that the Irwin Mission was an attempt to modify the position of Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. (Ibid.)