353. Memorandum for the President’s File by the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • The President’s Meeting with Sir Burke Trend, British Ambassador Cromer, and Henry A. Kissinger

[Sir Burke Trend, Secretary to the Cabinet, was visiting Washington as the Prime Minister’s representative for a day of confidential consultations with Dr. Kissinger.2 The President decided to meet with him briefly in order to emphasize the importance to us of this close consultation with our principal allies.]

After opening greetings and pleasantries, the President pledged to Sir Burke and Ambassador Cromer that the United States would not go off bilaterally with the Soviets on any issues which concerned our allies, for example a European Security Conference. That could be a dangerous gimmick, the President said. We and the British had to cooperate not only on substance but also on the propaganda.

The President then raised the Irish question. The U.S. would do its best to show restraint. It would be good if we and the British could possibly come up with a common public line we could develop.3

[Page 1033]

The President mentioned in passing that he wanted to give a small dinner for Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the British Foreign Secretary, when Sir Alec comes here in August before going to Peking.

He also mentioned that Governor Reagan, in reporting to the President on his trip to Europe, had said the West Germans were interested in a larger share in European nuclear cooperation.4

Sir Burke Trend replied that he was not sure what Governor Reagan was referring to. He thanked the President for his reemphasis on close collaboration with the Alliance. There were some matters that the British Government was concerned about—for example, how allied interests would be affected in the second phase of SALT. He had come to Washington to hear our views on this and also on the European Security Conference and MBFR.5 The only British anxiety on the Security Conference was that our wise and very proper concern for having preparatory discussions for it could slip imperceptibly into being the conference itself.

The President said he would welcome very private President-to-Prime Minister talks through the White House channel on all these matters. He then asked Dr. Kissinger to describe the state of play on SALT II, the European Conference and MBFR. Dr. Kissinger did so. The President then repeated his desire to have a prior understanding with the British on the Security Conference before we proceed into it.

Ambassador Cromer then mentioned the continuing problems in the monetary field, and suggested the same approach. The President agreed. Secretary Shultz was the man to talk to on that area; Burns was too erratic. The President was convinced that we needed a better long-term solution than the Smithsonian arrangement of December.6 Lord Cromer again cited the need for U.S.–UK talks prior to any multilateral discussions.

The President summed up by emphasizing again that we would not give up our defense of or our commitments to our allies. The coming election period would not be good for the Alliance. But the [Page 1034] President wanted the Prime Minister to know that the U.S. Government was not in favor of unilateral détente. We were not going back on our European policy; we were not going back on our NATO commitment.

After closing pleasantries the meeting adjourned.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 729, Country Files—Europe, United Kingdom, Vol. VII. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. A tape recording of this conversation is ibid., White House Tapes, Conversation 756–21. Brackets are in the original.
  2. Memoranda of their conversation are ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 62, Country Files—Europe, HAK London Memcons. A memorandum of conversation of their July 28 meeting is in the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 62, Memcons, Chronological Files, 1972. The transcript their telephone conversation on July 29 at 12:35 p.m. is ibid., Box 373, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. Follow-up discussions with representatives of the Heath government took place in Washington August 10. Memoranda of these conversations are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 62, Country Files—Europe, HAK London Memcons.
  3. According to a transcript of a portion of the tape recording of the conversation dealing with this issue, Nixon made the following comments:

    “The only difficult problem I see coming up before the elections is the Irish problem. We’re under terrible pressure here. I don’t know what the other fellow [Democratic Party Presidential nominee George McGovern] is going to say on this. My guess is that he will probably be pressured into saying something stupid”; “I mean he’ll say, you know, that we have to intervene in Northern Ireland”; “I will not. I mean, as Henry will tell you, I put my foot down. I had to step on the bureaucracy and everybody else and say ‘just stay out of it.’ And obviously Teddy Kennedy is pushing [unclear]. My standard line is this: you’ve got two decent men, Heath and—ah—Lynch working on this terribly difficult and we’re not going to add to the agony of Ireland by intervening in the situation”; “We are obviously interested and have many people in this country interested”; “But I do think you should know that—ah—because of an election you are likely to hear, I guess. I don’t know what Henry’s judgment [is] but this other fellow [McGovern] doesn’t have much responsibility. They might just pop off one day and our reaction, my reaction, will be restraint.” The editors prepared this transcript specifically for this volume.

  4. See footnote 4, Document 174.
  5. The portion of the memorandum of conversation between Kissinger and Trend on July 28 concerning the European Security Conference is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 103.
  6. Reference to the agreements reached by the G–10 meeting at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington December 17–18, 1971, on the realignment of monetary exchange rates. See ibid., volume III, Foreign Economic Policy, 1969–1972; International Monetary Policy, 1969–1972, Document 221.