27. Minutes of the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting1 2

In Attendance

  • Secretary of State Kissinger—Chairman
  • D Mr. Ingersoll
  • P Mr. Sisco
  • T Mr. Maw
  • C Mr. Sonnenfeldt
  • AF Mr. Davis
  • ARA Mr. Rogers
  • EA Mr. Habib
  • EUR Mr. Hartman
  • NEA Mr. Atherton
  • INR Mr. Hyland
  • EB Mr. Katz (Acting)
  • S/PRS Mr. Anderson
  • PM Mr. Vest
  • IO Mr. Buffum
  • H Mr. McCloskey
  • L Mr. Feldman (Acting)
  • S/S Mr. Springsteen
  • S/P Mr. Lewis (Acting)
  • S Mr. Bremer
[Page 2]

[Omitted here are portions of the discussion unrelated to Africa.]

MR. DAVIS: We have learned that over the weekend the Ambassadors spent six hours broaching this meeting with you this afternoon, and it apparently turned itself into an argument between the more radical states and the so-called moderates—moderates arguing that they don’t want a repetition of some of the more disagreeable questioning that Bob Ingersoll was subjected to in the last meeting.


MR. DAVIS: Well, I started out by: “Why are you received this instead of the Secretary of State?” (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KISSINGER: The next question—(laughter)—unless something happens before 4 o’clock this afternoon, will you get Elliot Richardson in town?

MR. INGERSOLL: He can’t get here that fast. (Laughter.)

MR. DAVIS: I think the second question was: Why, instead of Ed Mulcahy?

[Page 3]



MR. INGERSOLL: It was made by a Nigerian who knew he was just being announced as Ambssador to Nigeria.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: How can they both complain that our African policy is screwed up and they must have Easum there as their representive? I’m not saying it’s screwed up, but since they complain we can’t have it both ways.

MR. DAVIS: They said to appoint a single spokesman as interlocutor; and, they, in effect—the so-called moderates—are trying to suppress radicals.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: What’s he going to “interlocute” about? (Laughter.)

MR. DAVIS: Well, it looks as if they’re going to be not unnresponsive but rather suppressed at the meeting.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Well, it’s fine with me. My life is not unfulfilled if I never see them again. Fine. Do they think they’re doing me a favor by coming in here?

MR. DAVIS: Probably. (Laughter.)

They have also advised us that what they are [Page 4] most interested in your addressing is Southern Africa—the Southern Africa question. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Do you have some suggestions for me?

MR. DAVIS: Yes, sir. We sent forward to you some revised talking points, on the assumption you may wish to start out the meeting with a few more substantive remarks.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Well, I know we don’t owe them a goddam thing—this is how it starts—and if we see them all and if they don’t want to talk, let them go back to their Embassies.

MR. INGERSOLL: Henry, I think we have to look at one long-range thing—and that is the resources that come out of that Continent. So we want to be sure that we recognize the long-range need we have for that Continent.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: We’re not going to get those resources by talking to Ambassadors who have no impact in their own countries.

MR. DAVIS: I think, however, from the point of view of the public and press reaction, if it is possible—

SECRETARY KISSINGER: I will be very conciliatory. (Laughter) That doesn’t make any difference because [Page 5] they’ll say what they want to say. Anyway, I can’t imagine that Ingersoll was very aggressive. (Laughter.)

MR. INGERSOLL: It touched them off anyway.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Do you have any question about that they will not put out nasty things?

MR. DAVIS: No, sir.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: So it makes no difference what I say.

MR. DAVIS: It would be helpful, however, to open it with some remarks—at least in tone.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Well, that’s why I got them together.

MR. INGERSOLL: And I think you’ve got a lot. I would frankly want to talk with you.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Only one, I understand, is going to talk.

MR. DAVIS: That’s their plan at the moment.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: And none of the others will talk?

MR. DAVIS: That’s their plan.

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Impossible. They can’t do that. (Laughter.)

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Entry 5177, Box 6, Secretary’s Staff Meetings. Secret.
  2. Secretary of State Kissinger, Nathaniel Davis, and Deputy Secretary Ingersoll discussed Kissinger’s meeting later in the day with African ambassadors.