Tuesday, June 1, 1971 - 6:28pm - 6:30pm
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Yeah.
White House Operator: [National Security Adviser] Dr. [Henry A.] Kissinger, Mr. President.
President Nixon: Yeah. Hello?
Henry A. Kissinger: Mr. President?
President Nixon: Yeah, Henry--”what is the . . . On the SALT [Strategic Arms Limitation Talks] thing, I was wondering about what precisely should be said. I think I should indicate that, I probably should use the date, January 8, if I--”
Kissinger: Ninth is actually the correct date.
President Nixon: Well, what did we put out? Have we put that date out?
Kissinger: In all the corrected versions.
President Nixon: Yeah. All right, on January 9, I sent a message to the Soviet leaders. Fine.
Kissinger: Right.
President Nixon: And what do I say the message . . . suggesting?
Kissinger: I wouldn't go into any greater details. "Which led to the . . . "
President Nixon: "Which led to the announcement on May 20."
Kissinger: Well, that will not--”say, "Which led to an exchange which produced the announcement."
President Nixon: Mm-hmm.
Kissinger: I would make sure that you get in there somewhere that the Soviets also made a major contribution--”
President Nixon: Yeah.
Kissinger: --”in this discussion. [Pause.]
President Nixon: And we describe it as . . . Let me just--”because I think it's well to get the description again. What can we say in the simplest terms?
Kissinger: Well, "a communication with my ideas of how to break the deadlock."
President Nixon: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no--”as to what we agreed.
Kissinger: What we agreed was that there would be--”
President Nixon: That we would concentrate this year.
Kissinger: Well, I wouldn't emphasize that we'd concentrate--”that we would--”well, yeah, that we'd concentrate.
President Nixon: That's what it says. That's what it says in the communiqué--”
Kissinger: I know, but that we'd--”
President Nixon: I'm not going to--”
Kissinger: --”work on ABM [antiballistic missile treaty negotiations], and that there would be simultaneously some agreement on offensive limitations.
President Nixon: On, on . . . Some agreement on offensive limitations.
Kissinger: No, then they will ask you, "Is the agreement on offensive limitations going to be less formal . . ."
President Nixon: Mm-hmm. Well, that's a matter for negotiations.
Kissinger: I'd say that's a matter for negotiations, but if you wanted to expand you could say: "The difference is that ABM covers the whole field while offensive ones leave some matters out and therefore--”"
President Nixon: I'm afraid to get into that.
Kissinger: OK.
President Nixon: I don't think we'd better go beyond that.
Kissinger: OK.
President Nixon: That can be done in backgrounders.
Kissinger: I've done that in backgrounders. It's just a question of how much detail you want.
President Nixon: Right, right, OK, thanks.
Kissinger: Right.

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