Tuesday, January 23, 1973 - 10:33am - 10:37am
Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Hello?

Henry Kissinger: Mr. President?

President Nixon: Wondered what the latest report was.

Kissinger: Right. We haven’t had the [Nguyen Van] Thieu answer. We just have his reactions as he received your letter.

President Nixon: The second letter? The third letter—third letter [unclear].

Kissinger: The letter we discussed yesterday.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: And he said, well he understands that if you make these requests, that there must be a very grave situation here. And he’s now practically agreed to the agreement. Now he’s yacking about the protocol.

President Nixon: Yeah, I’ve been doing that for all week, of course.

Kissinger: Well, no, he was still—he's now given up on his objections to the agreement. I am certain now he's coming along.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: And he is just now making the record of having fought every step of the way.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Well do we expect an answer from him?

Kissinger: We expect some answer today, yes. Which in my view will still leave a little crack open. What he would like to be able to say, for domestic reasons, is that his foreign minister talked to me, in Paris, and got one crappy little concession.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: Now I have sent [William] Sullivan in to see the North Vietnamese.1

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: And it's just possible that we’ll get one.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: And I’ll know that tonight.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm

Kissinger: But even without it, I’m certain he’ll come along now.

President Nixon: Doesn’t have any choice.  I mean, as we all well know. Well, in any event, what--you said you’re planning to leave tonight?

Kissinger: No, tomorrow morning.

President Nixon: Tomorrow morning. Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: And [Al] Haig will be coming back this afternoon.

President Nixon: Well, what time tomorrow morning?

Kissinger: I’m leaving at 9 [A.M.].

President Nixon: I mean, what time we should get together?

Kissinger: Oh, anytime you say.

President Nixon: Well—what time--you see, I meant what time his his stuff--well, everything will be in the bag. That’s what I want to know. Maybe we better wait until tomorrow morning.

Kissinger: Tomorrow morning we’ll have all the facts.

President Nixon: Yeah, there’s no use—

Kissinger: And I can put off the departure by half an hour.

President Nixon: No use to meet before that. Suppose that we plan to meet at, say, 8:30 tomorrow morning. That gives the time to, for you to have—I mean, are you supposed to depart at 9?

Kissinger: I was supposed to depart Andrews [Air Force Base] at 9. If we could make it at 8, it’d be—

President Nixon: Fine.

Kissinger: Because I can delay the departure to 9:30—

President Nixon: Oh, fine. Fine. I though [unclear] here. Fine, why don’t we meet at 8:00?  And we'll--I’ll just come to the EOB and we’ll meet there.

Kissinger: Right.

President Nixon: Meet there at 8:00, so that there won’t be—do you get any—if you get any information worth reporting. Because, you see, I’m tied up all day today with receptions—

Kissinger: Right.

President Nixon: —through about 8:00 [P.M.]. If you get something by tonight, which you probably won’t—

Kissinger: No, I’ll have something by tonight, I’m sure.

President Nixon: Well, if you have, then possibly we could get together then. The only purpose of getting together, obviously, is to—

Kissinger: No, but tomorrow morning will be—we’ll have all the facts tomorrow morning.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm. And we also have to go over the situation on the—with regard to remarks that I’ll be making on . . . the present indications are now that I will go forward on Tuesday.

Kissinger: Almost. It’s 98 percent certain.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: In fact, it’s certain, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Yeah. It does.

Kissinger: I’m just [unclear] it. But basically I don’t see that anything can happen.

President Nixon: The only point—that’s the really the only effect is how it affects my remarks, of course, isn’t it? What we hear from him--

Kissinger: I think Mr. President, at the very worst—if I could recommend—if he has not given his formal agreement then, I would just ignore him. I would not—and he will then the next day certainly come along. He cannot afford to break with you publicly once you’ve committed yourself.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm. Well, we’ve told them, him that in the letter, haven’t we, Henry?

Kissinger: We’ve told him that. But he hasn’t broken with you once he realized—once he accepted the fact that you meant business.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: Every exchange he moves closer to you.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Kissinger: He is not acting like a man digging in.

President Nixon: Right. Good, wel,l then we’ll plan—as a matter of fact we’ll meet then at 8:00 in the morning. Let’s just make it certain.

Kissinger: Right.

President Nixon: And that way we can get the whole thing fired out of the way.

All right fine, Henry. Thank you.

Kissinger: Right, we’ll say that you had a brief talk with Haig today when he arrived.

President Nixon: Oh, sure, sure. Yeah, I’ll be in conversation with him. Right, because I’ve actually had so many reports on him, I’ve already to talked to him.

Kissinger: That’s right.

President Nixon: You can say, yes I had a discussion with Haig and that I’m meeting with you in the morning before you depart.

Kissinger: Right, Mr. President—

President Nixon: Fine Henry. Thank you.

Kissinger: Bye.

  • 1. William H. Sullivan was U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.

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