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Conversation: 336-008

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Start Date: 8-May-1972 1:15 PM

End Date: 8-May-1972 2:30 PM

Participants:

Nixon, Richard M. (President)Haldeman, H. R. ("Bob")Kissinger, Henry A.White House operatorRush, [David] KennethWhite House operator[Unknown person(s)]

Recording Device: Old Executive Office Building

Full Tape Conversation Start Time: 00:19:06

Full Tape Conversation End Time: 01:32:54

336a.mp3

336b.mp3

336c.mp3

NARA Description:

On May 8, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon, H. R. ("Bob") Haldeman, Henry A. Kissinger, White House operator, [David] Kenneth Rush, White House operator, and unknown person(s) met in the President's office in the Old Executive Office Building from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm. The Old Executive Office Building taping system captured this recording, which is known as Conversation 336-008 of the White House Tapes.

Nixon Library Finding Aid:

Conversation No. 336-8

Date: May 8, 1972
Time: 1:15 - 2:30 pm
Location: Executive Office Building

The President met with H. R. (“Bob”) Haldeman.

[Discontinuities in the conversation appear in the original recording.]

     President’s schedule
          -A meeting
                -Time

     Vietnam
          -President’s policies
                -Veterans
                     -Support
                     -Opposition
                     -President’s actions
                -John B. Connally
          -Blockade
                -Soviet summit
                     -Possible cancellation
                     -Seperability
                     -Risks
                           -Edward M. Kennedy
                           -Hue
                           -Television coverage
                                 -Nature of reports
                                 -Henry A. Kissinger
                                 -Leonid I. Brezhnev
          -Negotiations
                -Kissinger’s schedule
                                         8

                NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                Tape Subject Log
                                  (rev. Nov-01)
                                                             Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
                -Paris trip
          -Collapse
     -Soviet Summit
          -Agreements
                -Timing of blockade
          -Possible South Vietname collapse
                -Melvin R. Laird
          -Senate
                -J. William Fulbright, John C. Stennis
                       -Advice
          -Risks
                -South Vietnam collapse
                       -Hue
                -South Vietnamese morale
     -Blockade and mining of Haiphong
          -South Vietnamese morale
     -Soviet summit
          -Timing
                -Possible South Vietnam collapse
          -Postponement
          -Timing
                -Negotiations
                -North Vietnam offensive
          -Political risks
                -Kennedy
          -Connally’s advice
          -President’s goals
                -Peace

Abortion
     -President’s letter to Terence Cardinal Cooke
           -John D. Ehrlichman
           -Release
                 -Circumstances
                 -Review
                       -Ehrlichman
                       -John N. Mitchell
           -Patrick J. Buchanan
           -Haldeman’s advice
                 -Mitchell
                 -Ehrlichman
           -Committee to Re-elect the President [CRP] role
                                              9

                     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Nov-01)
                                                                      Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
                -Ehrlichman’s advice
                -Issue of public release
                -Peter M. Flanigan
                -Ehrlichman
                -Buchanan
                -Public release
                -Nelson A. Rockefeller
                      -New York legislation
                -Effect
                -Release
                      -Ehrlichman’s explanation
                            -Rockefeller
                -Abortion bill
                      -Rockefeller’s veto
                            -Release
                                  -Flanigan’s advice
                      -Anti-abortion supporters
                            -Rockefeller’s report
                                  -Demonstrations in Albany

Henry A. Kissinger entered at 1:35 pm.

     German treaties
         -Call from Egon Bahr
               -Message from the President

     Anatoliy F. Dobrynin
          -Forthcoming meeting with Kissinger
          -[David] Kenneth Rush

     Vietnam
          -Blockade
               -Support
                    -William P. Rogers
               -Timing
               -Rush

Kissinger talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 1:35 and 2:10 pm.

[Conversation No. 336-8A]

[See Conversation No. 24-3]
                                             10

                     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Nov-01)
                                                                      Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)

[End of telephone conversation]

     Vietnam
          -Soviet summit
               -Impact of blockade
                     -Haldeman’s view

Kissinger talked with rush at an unknown time between 1:35 and 2:10 pm.

[Conversation No. 336-8B]

[See Conversation No. 24-4]

[End of telephone conversation]

Kissinger talked with the White House operator at an unknown time between 1:35 and 2:10 pm.

[Conversation No. 336-8C]

     Call To Alexander M. Haig, Jr.

[End of telephone conversation]

     Vietnam
          -Blockade
               -Soviet summit
                     -Possible cancellation
                     -Risks
                     -Hue collapse
                          -Significance
                     -South Vietnam collapse
                          -Significance
                                -Brezhnev
                                -Summit agreements
                                -World peace
               -Timing
                     -Kissinger’s schedule
                          -Camp David
                          -Soviet summit
                          -German treaty
               -President’s decision
                                            11

                     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                    Tape Subject Log
                                      (rev. Nov-01)
                                                              Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
               -Hue collapse
                    -Timing
                          -Significance
               -Timing
                    -President’s decision
                          -The President’s view

An unknown person entered at an unknown time after 1:35 pm.

     Delivery of lunch

The unknown person left at an unknown time before 2:10 pm.

     Vietnam
          -Blockade
               -President’s decision
                     -Timing
                           -German Treaty
               -Failure to act
                     -Meaning
                           -The President’s view
               -Timing
                     -Negotiations
               -Delay in decision
                     -Possible South Vietnam collapse
                     -Possible US defeat
                           -Laird’s view
                     -Soviet interpretation
          -North Vietnam offensive
               -Kissinger’s view
               -Hue
               -Objectives
               -Saigon
          -Soviet summit
               -Probability of military setbacks
                     -Kissinger’s view
                           -Kontum
                     -Press reporting
                           -The President’s view
                     -Probability of Kontum collapse
               -Rogers
               -Connally’s advice
                                   12

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                           Tape Subject Log
                             (rev. Nov-01)
                                                   Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
      -US bargaining position
            -Public opinion
-Soviet Summit
      -US bombing
            -Hanoi
            -Haiphong
      -Cancellation possibility
      -Bombing
            -Duration
                  -Kisssinger’s view
      -South Vietnam collapse
            -Impact
      -Cancellation
            -Impact on forthcoming election
      -Importance
            -Impact on US loss in Southeast Asia
            -Soviet prestige
-North Vietnam offensive
      -Tanks
            -Laird
            -Numbers and size
            -US tanks in South Vietnam
                  -Laird
-Soviet summit
      -President’s decision to blockade
            -Air strikes
                  -Hanoi, Haipong
            -Risk of South Vietnam collapse
-Blockade and mining
      -Effect on North Vietnam strategy
      -Duration
      -Impact on North Vietnam
      -Impact on Soviets
      -Soviet summit
            -Possible cancellation
                  -Likelihood
                        -Kissinger’s view
                  -Lyndon B. Johnson
-Air strikes
      -Connally’s advice
      -Effectiveness
-Blockade
                                  13

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                          Tape Subject Log
                            (rev. Nov-01)
                                                       Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
     -Effectiveness
           -South Vietnam survival
           -Comparison with bombing
-South Vietnam defeat
     -Consequences for US
           -Connally’s view
           -Rogers’s view
                 -Haldeman’s view
           -Domestic public opinion
                 -Haiphong
     -Consequences for the President
           -Forthcoming presidential campaign
-Blockade
     -President’s purpose
           -Prisoners of war [POWs]
                 -Laird’s view
                 -President’s forthcoming speech
                 -Numbers
           -US withdrawal
     -Impact on North Vietnam
     -President’s final decision
           -President’s forthcoming speech
-Democratic Caucus
     -Kissinger briefing
     -President’s meeting with Michael J. Mansfield
           -Resolution to end the war
                 -Delay
                       -Soviet summit
     -President’s meeting with Congressional leaders
           -Fulbright, Stennis
           -Attendees
                 -Fulbright
                 -Allen J. Ellender
           -Timing
           -Attendees
           -Possible Congressional response
                 -Kissinger’s view
           -Senate request
-Blockade decision
     -Haldeman’s opinion
     -Comparison with Cambodia
     -Briefing of Congressmen
                            14

     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                    Tape Subject Log
                      (rev. Nov-01)
                                                    Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
      -Rogers
      -Laird
      -Kissinger
-President’s speech
      -Notification of Congressional leaders
            -Mansfield
            -Handling
            -President’s manner
                  -Haldeman’s view
            -Rogers
            -Fulbright
            -Comparison with President’s Cambodian announcement
            -Timing
                  -Reasons
            -Legal aspects of blockade
                  -Haig
                  -Rogers
            -Attendees
                  -Appropriations Committee
                  -Armed Services Committee
                        -The President’s view
                  -Ellender
                  -Appropriations Committee
                  -Armed Services Committee
            -George H. Mahon
                  -Telephone call
            -A previous dinner attended by Kissinger
                  -Thomas W. Braden
                  -Frank F. Church
                  -Fulbright
      -President’s terms
            -The President’s view
            -Blockade
            -Ceasefire
            -POWs
            -US withdrawal
      -Cabinet meeting
            -Kissinger’s view
            -Rogers
            -President’s appearance
            -Cabinet Room
                  -Television speech
                                               15

                      NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                         Tape Subject Log
                                           (rev. Nov-01)
                                                                          Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
                                  -President’s remarks
                            -Position
                                  -Support for the President’s decision to blockade
                                        -Haldeman’s view
                            -Rogers

Haldeman left at 2:10 pm.

Kissinger talked with Haig at 2:10 pm.

[Conversation No. 336-8D]

                      -Notification of blockade decision
                           -Haldeman
                           -Laird
                           -Washington Special Action Group [WSAG]

[End of telephone conversation]

                -President’s decision
                      -Kissinger’s view
                -President’s forthcoming speech
                      -Soviet weapons
                      -Deletions and additions
                      -Draft
                            -Rose Mary Woods
                      -Civilian casualties
                      -Delivery on television
                            -Time
                                  -Comparison to John F. Kennedy’s Cuban missile crisis speech
                            -Length
                            -Announcement
                      -Escalation
                            -US peace offers
                                  -Rejection by North Vietnam
                                  -Wording
                      -US troops in Vietnam
                            -Numbers
                            -Withdrawal
                                  -Number
                                  -Wording
                      -Soviet weapons
                                              16

                       NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Nov-01)
                                                                      Conv. No. 336-8 (cont.)
                             -Delivery to North Vietnam
                      -US aid to South Vietnam
                             -Wording
                      -Implementation of blockade
                             -Communications
                      -Soviet aid to North Vietnam
                      -Surrender
                             -Hanoi
                             -Saigon
                      -Draft
                             -Woods’s suggestion for the conclusion
           -President’s letter to Brezhnev
                 -Dobrynin
                 -Kissinger’s review
                      -Woods
                      -Completion

     Vietnam
          -President’s forthcoming speech on the blockade
                -Military action
                -Ceasefire
                      -Extent
                      -Supervision
                      -Extent
                -Outcome
                      -Previous National Security Council [NSC] meeting
                            -Outcome
                                 -Laird
                                       -Position
                -Rogers
                      -Support for the President
                -Public opinion
                -President’s decision

Kissinger left at 2:30 pm.