166. Transcript of Telephone Conversation1 2

[Page 2]

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Nigeria.]

K: I had a call from Norman Cousins about Biafra. He felt you could gain prestige with groups you do not generally have access. He will help. I gave him a rundown on the weekend.

President: Was he pleased? Hope he knows that the State Department wasnʼt happy about that.

K: Yes, I told him. He thought that if you called a conference of private and governmental organizations, it would make a good impression.

President: After the State of the Union?

K: He thought next Monday or Tuesday.

President: Fine. I want to be sure we take leadership on humanitarian problems. They are savages. I donʼt care about the anarchists, the Communists, the fascists. I have as little use for Hitler as for Stalin.

K: A lot of black groups say if we do something for Biafra

President: Ask Ferguson

K: I will. Cousins feels he can raise $50 million.

President: What about State?

K: Richardson will carry the ball.

President: Rogers should be in on it and it would strengthen him.

Donʼt worry about Gowon because he wants aid. If they donʼt play we donʼt have an Ambassador—weʼll just take him out of there. And Wilson better be careful because British arenʼt happy.

K: I will wait for Cousins proposal. Heʼs sending it by wire tonight. It will give you a lot of credit and standing with groups. You are going to get into major problems with safe guards.

I think we should have a Friday morning meeting on safeguards. Smith is difficult. He should plead. He thinks you are about to abandon.. .

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 361, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. Kissinger told Nixon that Cousins felt the President could gain prestige with groups not usually accessible to him by stressing humanitarian relief to Biafra. Nixon indicated he wanted to be sure that the USG took a leadership role on humanitarian problems.