223. Conversation Between President Nixon and the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

Conversation: 154-3


  • Camp David Telephone


  • Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger

Nixon: Incidentally, your—I want you to follow through and get that ambassador from Burundi the hell—get his ass back here.

Kissinger: I tried to be—I—Rogers doesnʼt want to do it because he says the killing there has potentially stopped now.

Nixon: I want to get him back and get a report on what happened.

Kissinger: Okay.

Nixon: I want to know what the hell happened.

Kissinger: Right.

Nixon: I mean, what, what is the matter—what is the matter with the State Department, Henry? Theyʼve killed one hundred thousand people. Is—are, are we callous about it? Donʼt we care?

Kissinger: Well, Iʼm, Iʼm in favor of it. And [unclear].

Nixon: Well, just—I just want the report. I just want to get a report on it. Is it—you know the trouble is, State just wants to play to these goddamn African leaders. Well—

Kissinger: Absolutely.

Nixon: Like they—

Kissinger: Theyʼve been going to put into Rogerʼs speech at the U.N. some stuff that we want more self-determination in Africa. And I said, “absolute nonsense.”

Nixon: More self-determination would mean more nations.

Kissinger: That applies—theyʼll apply that to Mozambique and South Africa. They wonʼt apply it to black [unclear].

Nixon: Yeah. Goddamn. Just think, 42 countries in Africa. 42 countries. Thatʼs ridiculous.

Kissinger: And, and really a murdering bunch of characters.

Nixon: Yeah. Well, I just—my feeling about the Burundi thing is I just—get him back on a sick leave or something, but letʼs find out what the hell went on.

Kissinger: Right. Iʼll just say you—

Nixon: Or, or—I want a report on it. Thatʼs all.

Kissinger: You just want to talk to him.

Nixon: Iʼm not satisfied with the report that Iʼve had.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Camp David Secretaryʼs Table, Conversation No. 154-3. This transcript was prepared in the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.
  2. The President told Kissinger that he wanted the Ambassador recalled and a follow-up report on his return. Kissinger indicated that Secretary of State Rogers did not want to recall Ambassador Yost because the killing had essentially stopped.