Tuesday, April 13, 1971 - 7:46pm - 7:52pm
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger
White House Telephone


Classical piano music plays loudly in the background.

President Nixon: Hello?

Operator: Dr. [Henry] Kissinger calling you, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: Mr. President.

President Nixon: Hello?

Henry Kissinger: Mr. President?

President Nixon: Yeah, Henry.

Kissinger: I just wanted to mention a number of relatively minor things to you.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: One is that the South Vietnamese are launching another one of these raid-type operations tonight.

President Nixon: Good.

Kissinger: This time, it's a more sizeable one. There's a big sweep inside South Vietnam.

President Nixon: Good.

Kissinger: And then they're going to land some battalions in Base Area 611.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: And I think it's very useful to tie down the North Vietnamese.

President Nixon: Good.

Kissinger: And—

President Nixon: Is it well-programmed, well-supported, and well-planned?

Kissinger: Programmed and well-supported, Mr. President. And I've called [Admiral Thomas] Moorer to say that we don't want any significant American losses in helicopters, and so forth. [^Admiral Thomas Moorer was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.]

President Nixon: Right. Right.

Kissinger: Secondly, I talked today to this fellow, [Yuli] Vorontsov, from the Soviet embassy.1

President Nixon: Right.

Kissinger: The reason was that there's a meeting between [David Kenneth] Rush and [Pyotr] Abrasimov.2

President Nixon: Yes.

Kissinger: On Berlin, and I just wanted to make sure that they didn't blow—that they understood which way the channels were going.

President Nixon: Yes.

Kissinger: And—

President Nixon: He understood that?

Kissinger: Oh, yeah. He understood it and he said that [Anatoly] Dobrynin was coming back Sunday with new instructions and that we should take the [Leonid] Brezhnev speech very seriously.3 And he was slobbering all over me.

President Nixon: Good.

Kissinger: And—

President Nixon: We'll see Sunday what he tells you.

Kissinger: And then I did something which was a little unorthodox. I told him that Dobrynin had given me his phone number in Moscow.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: So he called me up—and I'd lost it. So he called me an hour later and said it might be a nice thing if I called Dobrynin and congratulated him on his Central Committee membership.

President Nixon: Good. Do it.

Kissinger: So I—in fact, I did it. And Dobrynin said “we'll have something on that exchange of letters when I come back.”

President Nixon: He said that?

Kissinger: Yeah.

President Nixon: Yeah?

Kissinger: But he didn't say what it was.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: And he also said he was coming with new instructions.

President Nixon: But not indicating anything on the summit thing?

Kissinger: Well, he couldn't, Mr. President, on an open telephone.

President Nixon: Oh, it was open telephone. OK.

Kissinger: Yeah. We don't have a secure line. We have the hot line, but I didn't want to use that.

President Nixon: Right.

Kissinger: This was a commercial phone.

President Nixon: Good.

Kissinger: And—

President Nixon: But he probably—how'd he sound?

Kissinger: Oh, he sounded . . . they're going to do something, Mr. President. And then finally, one other thing, I called Mike Mansfield on your behalf.[^Michael J. Mansfield was a Democratic senator from Montana.] [‘'Unclear.]

Music becomes louder.

President Nixon: Just a second. Hold on.

Long pause. The volume of the music drops.

President Nixon: Go ahead.

Kissinger: I called Mike Mansfield.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: And told him that you had asked me to tell him about what you were announcing tomorrow in strictest confidence.

President Nixon: Right.

Kissinger: And I thought that he would have appreciated it. And he was all—he was beside himself. Very statesmanlike and—

President Nixon: Was he?

Kissinger: The President has his warm support and congratulations and . . . and he said now he sees what you were talking about in your—when you were hinting at China policy and . . .

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: Of course, he raised again his going there.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah, we have it in mind.

Kissinger: And I thought, Mr. President, that tomorrow morning, if you agree, that perhaps [Clark] MacGregor might call [Gerald] Ford and [Carl] Albert.4 That gives MacGregor a little status and gives him something dovish to do.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: And let State notify the Foreign Relations Committee.

President Nixon: Well, let MacGregor also call [George] Mahon.5

Kissinger: Yeah.

President Nixon: Mahon is a good man.

Kissinger: That's a good thing.

President Nixon:: And let him hit—because he's the best man on that side.

Kissinger:: Right.

President Nixon: And let's see, on our side, [Hugh] Scott.6

Kissinger: Scott he should call.

President Nixon: Yeah. He might as well.

Kissinger: Maybe Griffin.7

President Nixon: Yeah. Scott and Griffin. Yeah. And, let's see, anybody else that . . . I think that's enough. Let State inform the others. Well, MacGregor might call [George] Aiken.8

Kissinger: That—he's on the Foreign Relations Committee.

President Nixon: Oh, that's all right.

Kissinger: He'll probably [unclear].

President Nixon: That's right. Let him call Aiken and let State handle the others.

Kissinger: OK.

President Nixon: See?

Kissinger: Right.

President Nixon: Give Aiken a little . . .

Kissinger: Right.

President Nixon: A little brush. That's a good idea.

Kissinger: Good, Mr. President. I'll get that done [unclear].

President Nixon: Fine. OK, Henry.

Kissinger: Right.

President Nixon: Thank you.


1 Yuli M. Vorontsov was minister of Soviet embassy. (↑)

2 David Kenneth Rush was U.S. ambassador to West Germany. Pyotr Abrasimov was Soviet ambassador to East Germany. (↑)

3 Anatoliy F. Dobrynin was Soviet ambassador to the United States. Leonid I. Brezhnev was secretary general of Soviet Communist Party. (↑)

4 Clark MacGregor was congressional liaison. Representative Gerald R. Ford (R-MI) was House minority leader. Representative Carl B. Albert (D-OK) was Speaker of the House. (↑)

5 George H. Mahon was a Democratic representative from Texas. (↑)

6 Senator Hugh Scott (R-PA) was senate minority leader. (↑)

7 Senator Robert P. Griffin (R-MI) was senate minority whip. (↑)

8 Sen. George D. Aiken, R-Vermont. (↑)

Original tape courtesy of the Nixon Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.