Wednesday, June 30, 1971
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Anatoliy Dobrynin
White House Telephone

Henry Kissinger: Hello?

Anatonliy Dobrynin: Hello?

White House Operator: Mr. Dobrynin.

Kissinger: Hello, Anatoliy.

Dobrynin: Yeah, hello Henry. How are you?

Kissinger: I'm sitting here with the President and he wanted me to express to you personally his sorrow at what happened with the Cosmonauts.1

Dobrynin: Well, thank you very much.

Kissinger: And we will send over a formal message to your president.

Dobrynin: Yes, send it on.

Kissinger: But he wanted me to --

Dobrynin: Thank you very much.

Kissinger: --make sure, in fact the President wants to say a word to you himself.

Dobrynin: Thank you very much.

President Nixon: Hello?

Dobrynin: Hello, Mr. President.

President Nixon: I wanted you to know that this message is not just the usual, and I dictated it myself. Interestingly enough my daughter Julie is in Athens, you know, and she called me on the phone -- got me up at 7:30 this morning -- to say that she had just heard it so we just want you to know that wherever brave men are in the world our deepest sympathy goes to them and we know that your program will continue as ours will. You remember we had three that were lost too one time.

Dobrynin: Yes, I remember.

President Nixon: So, we just want you to know that this is from the heart.

Dobrynin: Listen, I am really deeply touched and I will forward your message to my government.

President Nixon: The thing that you can point out to your goverment is that my daughter called and these little personal things we won't put out in our formal message but I wanted you to know that--

Dobrynin: And I really [unclear] thank you very much.

President Nixon: Fine, thank you

Dobrynin: Thank you.

  • 1. The Soviet Union had announced that three of its astronauts were found dead in their space capsule upon their return to earth following a 24-day mission in an orbiting space laboratory. Bernard Gwertzman, "3 Soviet Astronauts Are Dead; Bodies Discovered in Capsule When It Lands After 24 Days," New York Times, 30 June 1971.

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