351. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Rush)1

[Omitted here is discussion of the U.S. response to the North Vietnamese offensive.]

[Page 993]

K: I was calling you because we have some sensitive German intelligence in which you told Bahr you might write Barzel.

R: Bahr wanted me to write Barzel.

K: While this crisis goes on we have to be sure there is no move which gives aid and comfort to the Soviets. If you can tell Bahr we cannot consider it, it would be helpful.

R: I don’t know how he got that.

K: You know what an oily guy he is.

R: I told Pauls when he saw Barzel that he (Pauls) could say he was talking to me and I worried about the image of the German people.

K: Yes, you told this to me.

R: Bahr called me and asked if I would write Barzel, and I said no.

K: Can you get it across to the Germans—say to Bahr you and I have been talking and we are working in this direction. But we are confronted a second time in four months with an offensive backed by Soviet arms, and we have to reassess our whole situation.

R: I can get word to him on that.

K: How?

R: I can think of four ways: (1) go through your backchannel; (2) go through the State Department; (3) go through Rolf Pauls

K: Why not go through Pauls. That is the most likely to leak. Do it in a way saying we are not going to do it because we have to reassess. Do it as an individual and not as a government. Can you do it this weekend?

R: I will do it right now.

K: Can you let me know after you do it?

R: Certainly.2

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. In a return telephone call at 1:05 p.m., Rush reported that Pauls had agreed to send an urgent message to Bahr. Rush: “I told him I told Bahr I would not write a letter. This was all we could do. However, there was no [reluctance?] on your part or on my part personally with regard to changing of position, but as of now we could do nothing with regard to approving something for the Russians. Rolf understood completely.” Kissinger: “Did you put it in the context of this offensive?” Rush: “I said in light of this heavy invasion with nothing but Russian equipment we obviously could not get behind something the Russians wanted.” Kissinger: “Okay, Ken; well done.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)