363. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and John J. McCloy1

M: Henry, I don’t know that I need to bother you or should bother you about it but I’ve got now two calls pending coming from Germany and they must be in relation to this [crisis?] they are in over there and I gather that well one of them I know is from Birrenbach. I have an idea the other one is from Barzel. I don’t know the latter but I do know the former. And they have now put the date off to another hour from now. I don’t know whether they want me to do anything or say anything or I just was wondering if there was any aspect of that German thing that I ought to know about in talking to them. If they ask …

K: Well, here is what … Barzel has asked us for a plea to restore bipartisanship to German policies.

M: Yes.

K: We talked to Brandt.2 He doesn’t want us to do it. And therefore we are deciding to stay out of it.

[Page 1023]

M: Yes.

K: Because we will be blamed either way.

M: Well it seems to me so.

K: Now what we do not want to have done is to have us urge these Treaties.

M: Us do what?

K: We do not want—we do not urge ratification of these Treaties. You know we won’t oppose them either obviously.

M: You know I have been rather unsympathetic to Brandt’s approach on this whole thing. I just think his technique wasn’t very good and I guess some people over there know that although I have only communicated that to Brandt. But I happen to know they have been after Lucius Clay. And I think he said he was going to send me over a statement to see whether I thought he ought to make it. I haven’t seen it yet.

K: Well, I would strongly urge him to stay away from it.

M: That’s what I was going to do.

K: Would you do that for me? Would you call him for me? I really do not think it is right for us. The Russians have been so bloody-minded to us in Vietnam and elsewhere.

M: Well, I think this is right. You saw that Carmen (Sp?)3 intervened.

K: Well, yeah, but.

M: You can expect that.

K: You can expect that.

M: I would think that would be counterproductive with the Germans.

K: No one takes him too seriously.

M: Well, I am going to tell Barzel that I am going to stay out of it and not make any statement. That I feel if I make any statement I feel that this is a matter for the Germans to determine and that it is an important moment to them that no outsiders should be interfering with it.

K: That’s right.

[Page 1024]

M: Is that okay.

K: That would be fine.

M: Okay. One other thing while you are on the phone is the situation in Vietnam as bad as it seems to be in the paper? Or do you think you could hold it?

K: Well.

M: I think maybe you don’t want to talk about it.

K: No, no. I am trying to give you a responsible answer. And frankly, I don’t know. It is not as bad as it is discussed in the papers but how far that retreat will go I am not yet absolutely sure.

M: You just have to hope for the Monsoons.

K: Well the Monsoon isn’t going to hit up in that area.

M: Oh, it doesn’t have that effect.

K: No.

M: Okay, I am debating whether to—I’ve got a business session of no great moment over in Athens this coming week but I am sort of hesitating to go over because of some possibility that something might develop in the disarmament of the Moscow business that might want the Committee—for me to talk about.4 I am inclined to beg off but I may have to go and be away for a week. Though it would be okay with you either way I imagine.

K: Well, there is a chance that we will bring that thing off in the next two or three weeks.

M: Uhhuh. Well maybe I better stick around.

K: Well, it may not be a bad idea.

M: Okay, well forgive me for calling but I did want to get a little background on the German affair.

K: Not at all.

M: If I get any dope from them I will give you a ring. If I think it is worthwhile passing on.

K: Yeah, but call me in any event.

M: Okay.

K: But tell Clay to stay out of it.

M: I will tell Clay to stay out of it.

K: Good.

M: Okay, thank you.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 368, Telephone Conversations. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 361.
  3. Reference is apparently to W. Averell Harriman, who wrote an editorial entitled “Giving Brandt a Chance” for the May 2 edition of The New York Times (p. 43). In the editorial, Harriman argued: “The Christian Democrats have taunted Brandt over lack of American support for his ostpolitik.” “Certainly the United States should bring strong pressure quietly but firmly on the Christian Democrats making plain our concern over their opposition to ratification. They should understand that if they come into power by blocking the treaties this will adversely affect our relations. It is hard to believe that if such representations were made by the United States they would not sway the few votes which are necessary to insure ratification. I earnestly hope that the United States Government will act before it is too late.”
  4. McCloy served as chairman of the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament.