161. Conversation Between President Nixon and Secretary of State Rogers 1 2

Nixon : Hello.

Rogers : Good morning, Mr. President.

Nixon : We’ve got this set now. It will be 1:30 and we’ll meet in the EOB.

Rogers : Uh-huh.

Nixon : Because some other meetings will be taking place here.

Rogers : Uh-huh.

Nixon : And at—just get a general rundown on the situation and then if you also could, I think give those—give the Senators a call and tell them you can come up.

Rogers : Yeah, I’ve done that already.

Nixon : This afternoon.

Rogers : I’ve done it.

Nixon : I don’t know how broadly that should be done, but I think it’s a very good idea for at least the record to be out with regard to what we’ve done on refugees—

Rogers : Uh-huh.

Nixon : Why we’ve taken it to the UN. We are staying out of this thing in terms of both—in terms of our military assistance—the fact that we have cut off the military assistance to India, etc. Because even though we read it all time and are quite familiar with it, some of them are not familiar as they might be with this.

Rogers : I see.

Nixon : You remember Church made this statement—

Rogers : Yeah.

Nixon :—To effect that we are do absolutely nothing on refugees. And I told Mansfield about it this morning, I said: “I can’t understand that. Because you know we’ve given 250 million dollars.” Mike was aware of it. So I think it’s just one of those things—

Rogers : I don’t think we can keep Church quiet, though. I heard him on television last night. He’s going to make—he’s going to make a political attack. And all we can do is try to dull the attack. I think that—I don’t believe we’re going to have much criticism because I think what the American people want is for us to stay out of it. And I think they want us to do everything we can to bring about a peaceful settlement, which we are trying to do, and to help in a humanitarian way. I think we have a very good record.

Nixon : Well, I think the record’s good. But let’s just don’t assume that the record is known.

Rogers : Oh, no.

Nixon : Keep putting it out.

Rogers : Oh, no. We’ve got to keep putting it out.

Nixon : There are apparently quite a few of these fellows that heard some of the UN debate on television. They said the Russian-Chinese exchange was rather bitter.

Rogers : But it’s—you know it’s wonderful.

Nixon : Yeah.

Rogers : I tell you, the Russians—the Chinese call the Russians “Social Imperialists,” and the Russians call the Chinese “Social Traitors.”

Nixon : Boy. Yeah. Yeah.

Rogers : It’s pretty, pretty acrimonious.

Nixon : Right. Right.

Rogers : And it leaves us in a pretty good position because we haven’t had to get involved in the middle.

Nixon : Right. Right.

Rogers : Do you think—would you suggest that maybe I see a lot of Senators or just—I wondered about whether–

Nixon : No.

Rogers : I thought I’d just talk to the—

Nixon : I would get—I think that if you do too many, it builds it up. But I think just doing a few due to the fact that they must be aware of the fact that we’re informing them, that’s all. No, but I think, you know—

Rogers : Mike [Mansfield] suggested, he said that they’re having a vote and he could get a lot of Senators, and I said: “No I don’t think that’s a good idea. That will make it seem like a crisis.”

Nixon : Well also, it will also give it a crisis, but it also gives a lot of the demagogues a chance to get up and make speeches about things. That isn’t what you want.

Rogers : That’s right.

Nixon : I think that—just tell Mike to have a few in their office.

Rogers : I thought have Mike and Hugh [Scott] and, unfortunately, Bill [Fulbright] and George Aiken.

Nixon : Naturally.

Rogers : And Stennis and somebody else.

Nixon : That’s right. Armed Services. Foreign Affairs. Maybe—that ought to do it.

Rogers : That ought to do it.

Nixon : That ought to do it. Because if you go beyond that, it’s simply going to be a miniature UN debate, which is not going to be very useful.

Rogers : Right. And I also thought I’d tell them at the end that I’d continue to come up periodically to fill them in so we’d keep them fully advised about the crisis.

Nixon : Right. Right. Right.

Rogers : I’m scheduled to go to this NATO meeting. I had planned to go to Iceland; I think I’ll skip that. But I think I probably should go to the NATO meeting.

Nixon : What time is the NATO meeting?

Rogers : Well I could leave, I could leave Wednesday. [December 8] It’s really Thursday and Friday, but there is a dinner Wednesday night—

Nixon : Yeah.

Rogers :—Of the Big Four. I think I probably better go to that.

Nixon : I think by that time there won’t be anything you can do.

Rogers : When I leave—I’ll probably leave Wednesday morning and get back Friday night.

Nixon : I think you should go. I mean, the world has to go forward. This conflict is, was one that was apparently inevitable, at some time or other. It’s just unfortunate that it had to come for this cause and at this time.

Rogers : That’s right. Of course, militarily, it looks really looks pretty, pretty bleak.

Nixon : Oh my. Yes. No way.

Rogers : No way.

Nixon : Except, I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the position of the Indians trying to take West Pakistan.

Rogers : No. No.

Nixon : That’s going to be real rough going up through those mountains.

Rogers : No. And I rather hope that the West Paks can do some good up in Kashmir. Maybe they can make some offsetting gains up in there.

Nixon : That’s right.

Rogers : Of course, geographically it would make a lot more sense if they could have the Kashmir and—

Nixon : That’s right. That’d be a good trade.

Rogers : That’s right.

Nixon : That’d be a good trade. Good trade.

Rogers : But that’s tough going up in that mountain area.

Nixon : Yeah. Incidentally, is Bush there with you?

Rogers : No.

Nixon : No, he isn’t?

Rogers : He’s in New York. I alerted him to the fact that you may call him.

Nixon : Yeah, I might give him a call. Fine. Good.

Rogers : Yes.

Nixon : All right, see you at 1:30.

Rogers : Fine. Bye.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between Nixon and Rogers, White House Telephone, Conversation No. 16–14. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the conversation published here specifically for this volume.
  2. Nixon and Rogers discussed the crisis in South Asia and the bleak prospects facing the Pakistani Government.