300. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

K: Anatole, how are you?

D: You already calling from West Coast?

K: That’s right.

D: Oh [omission in the source text].

K: That’s right. Uh, Anatole, we are having a slight bureaucratic problem with the Berlin thing that I wanted to discuss with you. While I was in the air Rush reported officially that he had made a tentative agreement. Rogers then ordered him to come back for a week so that he could look it over to see whether it was in accord with Presidential directives. Now, I am very reluctant to overrule this because if there is any problem about whether it is in accord with Presidential directives I can settle it because I write the directives.

D: Yes, I understand.

K: So, what I want to tell you, I have asked Rush to see whether he could get it reversed without appealing to me.

D: I understand.

K: If he cannot get it reversed I’ve asked him to ask for a two-week recess …

D: Why not for one week?

K: Or one week, I didn’t give a time, I said for a short recess. But I want to assure you. … I’ve talked to the President by telephone.2 We stand behind the agreement and there is simply a bureaucratic problem to get everybody lined up.

D: Oh I see. Okay.

K: So you have … I just want Gromyko to understand that it is just … If he asks for a recess which is not a hundred percent sure, it is entirely technical.

[Page 851]

D: I understand.

K: And we expect to have it initialed the first week of September.

D: Initial what?

K: Well, you know.

D: Oh … at the beginning, the settlement between Ambassadors.

K: That’s right.

D: By beginning of September.

K: That’s right.

D: Okay.

K: Or during maybe the first week of September. But I repeat we stand by what Rush has done and we will not ask for any changes.

D: Oh I see. I understand. Okay.

K: But it’s a way for us to get the State Department lined up.

D: Yes so …

K: Well, what I’ve told Rush is if he can get it changed without appealing to us then it will go normally. If he cannot do it then I asked him to come home and if there’s any disagreement it comes to me.

D: But you say what was agreed upon by Rush up till now you still buy, yes?

K: Yes, so you have nothing to worry about.

D: I understand, thank you very much.

K: It’s simply a question of management and we will stand literally behind everything that has been agreed upon.

D: Thank you, I will notify Gromyko.

K: But if you can have a little patience to let us go through our bureaucratic procedures.

D: I understand.

K: And I’ve also told Rush to explain the situation to Fallin.

D: Okay, I think it is fair enough. Thank you very much, I will notify Gromyko. Thank you for calling and have a nice time.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Country Files, Europe, Box 57, Berlin and European Security, Vol. II [2 of 2]. No classification marking. Kissinger was in San Clemente; Dobrynin was in Washington.
  2. The President, who was in New York the previous evening for the 89th Annual International Meeting of the Knights of Columbus, called Kissinger in Washington at 8:27 a.m. EDT; after stops in Illinois, Idaho, and Texas, Nixon arrived in San Clemente at 6:23 p.m. PDT on August 19. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Daily Diary) No substantive record of the conversation on August 18 has been found.