310. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

[Omitted here is a discussion of public reaction to Nixon’s “New Economic Policy” and a proposal that the President visit Japan after his trip to China.]

P: Right. Incidentally, I think that on Berlin, too, the perfect ploy there is the one I mentioned to you, get Bill and say look, the economic thing really requires that we have a good announcement this week, if we could; that coming at this point would be very helpful.

K: Well, I talked to Bill this morning2 and he, as it turns out, your instinct was absolutely right, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. These bureaucrats have given him a brief and he says he just wants to make sure McCloy and Clay can’t get mad at us.

P: Right.

K: And, so, I’ve called Rush and called Dobrynin,3 so everybody understands what’s going on.

P: And did Bill sort of agree that we don’t want to wait three weeks—

K: That’s already agreed. So I thought the best thing we can do is to lowkey it to get Rush back. Let him fight for his draft and if there’s a deadlock we’ll have to rule with Rush. I think I can avoid a deadlock, because frankly Bill doesn’t understand it.

P: What [omission in the source text] picayunish crap?

K: Well, what he’s picking—exactly. The thing he’s picking on— but what’s basically getting these guys, Mr. President, is that they know damn well you’ve been in touch with Rush.

P: Oh, sure.

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K: And they know you did it and it kills them. They were willing to settle for something infinitely less good. This is—

P: The point is, Bill’s going to get plenty of credit out of this, too. What the hell? Rush is an Ambassador.

K: Bill has never been better off than now.

P: That’s right.

K: Everyone’s giving him credit for outstanding foreign policy.

P: Another thing, too, it would be very good if he had this done before he speaks to the Legion.4

K: When is that?

P: Next week.

K: I don’t think it will be completely—

P: Well—

K: He’s now agreed that they can initial it—

P: Yeah.

K: But that they can put it ad referendum and I will explain to Dobrynin.5 They may have to give us a word or two someplace which doesn’t mean anything, just to prove that Rogers has done something.

P: OKay.

K: But within a week we’ll have handled it.

P: Good. [Omitted here is a discussion of the October 3 presidential election in South Vietnam.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 369, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 2 Aug.–30 Oct. 1971. No classification marking. The time of the conversation is taken from the President’s Daily Diary, which also indicates that Nixon placed the call. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files)
  2. See Document 309.
  3. Although no evidence has been found of a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Rush on August 20, reference may be to Document 308. For excerpts from a transcript of the telephone conversation with Dobrynin on August 19, see footnote 6, Document 302.
  4. For text of Rogers’ speech before the national convention of the American Legion in Houston on August 31, including his comments on the Berlin agreement, see Department of State Bulletin, September 20, 1971, pp. 297–302.
  5. Although no evidence has been found that they talked on August 20, Kissinger called Dobrynin on August 23. For excerpts from a transcript of the conversation, see footnote 4, Document 314.