Friday, April 16, 1971 - 11:05pm - 11:09pm
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger
White House Telephone


President Nixon: Hello.

Operator: [National Security Adviser] Dr. [Henry A.] Kissinger, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Henry, I think a very good touch would be for you to get [Los Angeles Times publisher] Otis Chandler on the phone and tell him that you thought his questions were very perceptive and sensitive and that the President thought that.1 That you had just chatted with me about youth and the rest.

Henry Kissinger: I'll do that.

President Nixon: Give him a little crap, right now. You know?

Kissinger: I'll do that.

President Nixon: He'll love that. Actually he was all right. He was good, you know. He smiled.

Kissinger: He's really . . .

President Nixon: A decent man, really.

Kissinger: That's right. I wonder where . . . I'll get the White—

President Nixon: No, just call the White House and tell them he's at the Shoreham and for them to get him for you and tell them you're calling for the president, and they'll get him.

Henry Kissinger: I'll do it this minute.

President Nixon: Actually, you know this little performance tonight wasn't much. But basically these editors they had to hear, I mean, I couldn't give them the thing they wanted to hear: recognize Red China, admit them into the United Nations, give them a deadline with regard to this and that. You noticed what I said about residual forces: that we're not going to have a residual—I was very subtle about that. I said, not like Korea, but we're gonna keep a residual force as long as is necessary to see Vietnam can defend itself.

Kissinger: I was just now, after I finished with you, I talked to [Sen.] Adlai Stevenson, Jr. [D-Illinois].

President Nixon: Did you?

Kissinger: Yeah, and he said, you know, on foreign policy—

President Nixon: I defended him, you know.

Kissinger: I beg your pardon?

President Nixon: Tonight I defended him. I said it was a terrible thing that they bugged him, you know, during the convention in ‘68.

Henry Kissinger: He said you won hands down on foreign policy tonight.

President Nixon: He did?

Kissinger: Yeah.

President Nixon: [chuckles]

Kissinger: And I didn't ask him what he thought, because I didn't want to embarrass him.

President Nixon: Ah. That's good. Well, you call Otis Chandler and you say that the President thought his questions were excellent. You tell him you thought his questions were excellent, you just talked with the President, and he thought he really zeroed in on what really people were worried about. Which is really true, Henry. They're worried about kids. You know and what I said about kids, you and I know that they're not worth a damn.

Kissinger: Well…

President Nixon: But on the other hand I did say that, look, if we bring peace and if we clean up the environment and the rest, the kids may think maybe the system ain't all that bad.

Henry Kissinger: Well, you weren't saying anything, Mr. President, that isn't true. Whatever one thinks of some of the reactions, you define the problems.

President Nixon: I think you should call him immediately.

Kissinger: I'll call him this minute, Mr. President.


1 Nixon took questions from a panel at the convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors earlier this evening. (↑)

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