108. Editorial Note

On September 5, 1972, at 10:35 a.m., President Nixon telephoned President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Haig and in the course of their conversation, the President raised the issue of a European security conference:

  • “P[resident]: [O]ne thing on the Rogers thing—Will you speak to Haldeman before he sees him in the morning.
  • “H[aig]: Yes, sir.
  • “P: The European Security Council [sic] as you know I’m not a damned bit interested in. A meeting to discuss here as Haldeman pointed out that’s his [Rogers’s] bag; understand that and at the proper time we will talk a little about it. Purpose of this meeting is something else.
  • “H: I think so. Think we ought to say that he is going to have a lead role in that.
  • “P: That’s right.
  • “H: Not going to get into that.
  • “P: The purpose of this meeting is not that. We will look it over.” (Memorandum of telephone conversation, September 5; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Box 998, Haig Chron Files, Haig Telcons, 1972, 1 of 2)

The same day, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger met with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin for dinner at the Soviet Embassy at 8 p.m. to discuss Kissinger’s forthcoming visit to Moscow. Kissinger’s memorandum of the conversation reads in part: “ MBFR/CSCE. We then turned to MBFR and CSCE. Dobrynin said he was somewhat baffled. On the same day that I had told him that the MBFR discussions would not have to start on the same date as the European Security Conference, Beam had come in and had made exactly the opposite point. I said that by now Dobrynin should know who represented American policy. Dobrynin said he did, but Gromyko was not yet used to Ambassadors who didn’t exactly know their government’s views. At any rate, if we were prepared to agree to a European Security Conference on November 22, they would be prepared for MBFR exploratory discussions by the end of January. And if then the European Security Conference would take place during the summer of 1973, the MBFR Conference could take place in the fall of 1973. I told him that this looked like a realistic procedure.” (Ibid., Box 495, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 13)