109. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Rogers and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: Hello.

R: Henry.

K: Yes, Bill.

R: I noticed we got a telegram from Kennedy in NATO 2 saying that our allies are somewhat concerned about the Ziegler briefing3 saying that you are going to talk about European Security Conference …

K: He didn’t say that. I looked at the text; we’re not going to talk about the European Security Conference. There’s no way it could be discussed.

R: What did he mean by European security? Just general?

K: Well he said all the topics that were covered at the summit but in a general way be covered.

R: But he also mentioned European security.

K: I thought all he said was European problems.

R: No, he said European security.

K: Well at any rate it will not be discussed.

R: What about Mutual Balanced Force Reductions?

K: Unless they raise it we’re in no position to discuss it. we’ve just had an exchange there.

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R: Well what I would like to just say is that it’s not going to be discussed and if you could just—if the subject comes up—say we’re not ready to discuss it yet, that would make it easier because then we could just tell our NATO allies that these subjects were not going to be discussed. On SALT we could say that we’re going to continue to have the briefings that we’ve had in the past so that if you talked about SALT we could just say well anything that’s discussed about SALT you’ll be briefed on by Gerry Smith just the way you have been in the past.

K: Well, if they mentioned—if they had another thought for example about this approach and raised that issue with us that we’ve already approached them on, there will be no discussion on the substance on Mutual Balanced Force Reductions. That you can certainly tell them. We don’t have a position.

R: And on the Conference on European Security we just say we’re not prepared to discuss it yet, are we?

K: That’s right.

R: Even if they raised it?

K: You mean the substance?

R: Yeh.

K: I don’t—we don’t have a substantive position.

R: No, but what they’re worried about in NATO is that you’ll—it’s not so much who raises it as whether you’ll talk about it or not. If we’re in a position to tell them that this is a subject that You’re not going to talk about then we wouldn’t …

K: Hold on a second the President is calling.

(Kissinger takes the President’s call.)

K: Hello. Well, why don’t you send a cable over that you want to send and let me see what it says. If I have any concerns with it I’ll tell you.

R: OK. I think it is important to do that because they were upset the last time on it. They claimed that you’d said that we negotiated a communiqué for three or four months4 and so they felt that we had sort of misled them. When I told them we hadn’t agreed on anything yet …5

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K: My briefings were on the public record and I never said three or four months.

R: Well whatever it was. All I’m saying is that they were concerned. They had a couple of meetings and talked about it and so forth and I sent them a telegram saying there was nothing for them to worry about. I just want to reassure them that’s all.

K: Well, let me see the cable and I’ll …

[Omitted here is discussion of the Olympics and Kissinger’s schedule.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Transcripts (Telcons), Box 15, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. In telegram 3570 from USNATO, September 6, Ambassador Kennedy reported: “I am seriously concerned about the impact of the Kissinger visit [to Moscow] on our European allies. We need to deal with them seriously and quickly if we are to avoid suspicions and the likelihood of unpleasant repercussions in the pre-electoral period. News reports in Europe are already widely citing White House sources to the effect that he will talk with the Russians about matters of immediate concern to the Allies, including CSCE, MBFR, and SALT.” (Ibid., NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 24, Trip Files, HAK’s Germany, Moscow, London and Paris Trip, Sept. 9–15, 1972, Misc. Cables and Documents)
  3. The New York Times reported on September 6: “Ronald L. Ziegler, the White House press secretary, said at a briefing that Mr. Kissinger would confer with West German leaders on his way to Moscow…. Mr. Ziegler said that one of the primary topics on Mr. Kissinger’s agenda in Moscow would be the war in Vietnam…. It was also assumed here that Mr. Kissinger would discuss a variety of East-West matters in both West Germany and in Moscow, including tentative plans for a conference on European security and the question of mutual and balanced force reductions.” (New York Times, September 6, 1972, p. 3)
  4. See Document 100.
  5. On May 5, Rogers briefed the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on the upcoming summit meeting in Moscow. In telegram Secto 31 from Brussels, May 5, the Mission summarized the ensuing discussion by the NAC members: “They emphasized importance of maintaining alliance solidarity and reaching as much substantive agreement as possible before summit. At close of meeting, the Secretary said that he very much appreciated receiving points of view of the Allies, and that they will be taken fully into account in making final plans for the President’s visit.” (National Archives, RG 59, Conference Files, 1966–72, Entry 3051B, Box 102, CF 488) The text of Rogers’s statement to the NAC on Nixon’s Moscow visit is in telegram 2010 from USNATO, May 5; ibid.