257. Memorandum of Conversation1 2

[Page 1]


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lord Cromer, British Ambassador to the United States
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff (Notetaker)

At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Kissinger handed over to Ambassador Cromer the Presidentʼs letter to Prime Minister Heath [Tab A] thanking him for the courtesies extended to Dr. Kissinger on his recent visit to London.

Dr. Kissinger: Here is the letter. And a copy for you.

Ambassador Cromer: Thatʼs very nice. What I want to talk to you about is entirely on my own initiative. I have absolutely no instructions on this. When the President saw Sir Burke Trend [July 28], it was agreed that if ever anything came up with any political overtones on the money side, we should raise it. I want to mention this Schweitzer business. As you know, Schultz more or less blocked his reappointment. Of course youʼre quite entitled to do this. Volcker went and told him, and was then spreading the word.

Dr. Kissinger: He ran afoul of Connally.

Ambassador Cromer: And Volcker is continuing this and is being more Connally than Connally. [Page 2] As I say, youʼre entitled to take the position you want. I am concerned that the manner in which you went about it may hurt the atmosphere for the reform we want.

Dr. Kissinger: I thought Schultz was going to see him.

Ambassador Cromer: The less developed countries, for example, Iʼm afraid are now going to portray him as a hero. There will be a lot of speeches at the forthcoming meeting. There was a “secret” meeting yesterday of the less developed countries—which I heard about—in which the delegates here were in fact discussing proposing to their governments that they take this line. You know I will be seeing Schultz today.

Dr. Kissinger: To see a speech heʼs giving this week. Yes. Please call me, Rowley, and give me your honest opinion of it. What he is instructed to do is give a general framework, with some specifics, but not on a confrontation basis. ʼWe thought that having no American position at all would be even more unsettling.

Ambassador Cromer: Yes. As I say, Iʼm saying this completely without instructions. Just to warn you about what I think is coming.

Dr. Kissinger: Itʼs perfectly all right. Youʼre not asking us to do anything.

And call me about the speech. I canʼt stop it but perhaps I can moderate it.

Ambassador Cromer: In London you mentioned to Burke a new formula you had for presentation to the North Vietnamese.

Dr. Kissinger: Here it is. The statement I made and the new formula we presented. [Hands over U.S. proposals and opening statement from September 15 Paris meeting.]

Ambassador Cromer: This is very top secret, of course.

[Page 3]

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, because our Secretary of State doesnʼt even know we made a presentation, let alone what it contains.

Ambassador Cromer: Clive Rose is coming over to talk about SALT with Sonnenfeldt. You said at one point you might see him. Do you want to?

Dr. Kissinger: What do you think? I leave it to you. Sonnenfeldt doesnʼt admit that when heʼs through thereʼs any reason for me to do anything.

Ambassador Cromer: Letʼs do it this way: If anything is unresolved after he meets with Sonnenfeldt, I shall ask for an appointment.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, if you request it, Iʼll do it.

Ambassador Cromer: My Secretary of State is, of course, delighted with the Presidentʼs kind invitation. He would also like a quiet word with you, perhaps before dinner.

Dr. Kissinger: After dinner might be better.

Ambassador Cromer: Heʼll be leaving late in the evening.

Dr. Kissinger: Then before dinner is fine. How about 7:30, here? Ambassador Cromer: Fine.

We have some news on this Uganda business. Itʼs absolute hell.

Dr. Kissinger: As you know, weʼre moving to take some of your people.

Ambassador Cromer: Yes, that marvelous. The news is that it was deteriorating quite badly yesterday but it is better today. But weʼll face the problem of taking care of the British—the real British. The problem is to get them from the country to the airport.

Dr. Kissinger: What can we do?

Ambassador Cromer: We donʼt know what to propose! It was interesting that a Libyan plane carrying arms to Amin tried to overfly the Sudan. The Sudanese forced them to land and took the arms! [Page 4] They made a very robust statement. This is the first major reverse the Libyans have suffered. It may be the only healthy outcome of this.

Dr. Kissinger: If you have to consider strong measures, you wonʼt get into trouble with us, to put it mildly.

Ambassador Cromer: Weʼre in touch with State on this.

Dr. Kissinger: The President is in a mood to be much tougher than State. He has been thinking of pulling back our Ambassador. What do you think?

Ambassador Cromer: That would be a mistake. Weʼre more evil in their eyes than you are. For you to pull out now would be interpreted by Amin, who is a madman, as part of a conspiracy.

Dr. Kissinger: We will look with favor on anything you have to do. What can we do?

Ambassador Cromer: I donʼt know. There are eight American Jews there that State is particularly concerned about.

Dr. Kissinger: On these statements, I gave you, there are two things. This is about as far as we are going to go. We may play around with the cosmetics, but it is as far as we can go. They are exceptionally confidential, I have to repeat. We havenʼt given this to anyone else. If the North Vietnamese ever found out we gave this to you . . . . My impression of the North Vietnamese is that they are eager to settle and afraid to settle at the same time. They are eager to settle but donʼt know how to do it. They are clumsy.

[At this point the meeting ended.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 62, Folder K/062/06/001. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The meeting took place in Kissingerʼs office at the White House.
  2. During Kissingerʼs meeting with British Ambassador Cromer, Cromer referred to the situation in Ugand as “absolute hell.” He believed the U.S. Ambassador should not be recalled but had no suggestions for actions to take. Kissinger noted that the United States was taking some of the expelled Asians. Tab A is not published.