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Conversation: 833-017

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Start Date: 4-Jan-1973 11:55 AM

End Date: 4-Jan-1973 12:42 PM

Participants:

Nixon, Richard M. (President)Richardson, Elliot L.Kissinger, Henry A.Bull, Stephen B.[Unknown person(s)]

Recording Device: Oval Office

833-017.mp3

NARA Description:

On January 4, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon, Elliot L. Richardson, Henry A. Kissinger, Stephen B. Bull, and unknown person(s) met in the Oval Office of the White House from 11:55 am to 12:42 pm. The Oval Office taping system captured this recording, which is known as Conversation 833-017 of the White House Tapes.

Nixon Library Finding Aid:

Conversation No. 833-17

Date: January 4, 1973
Time: 11:55 am -12:42 pm
Location: Oval Office

The President met with Elliot L. Richardson and Henry A. Kissinger.

       Richardson's new job as Secretary of Defense

Stephen B. Bull entered at an unknown time after 11:55am.

       The President's instructions

Bull left at an unknown time before 12:42 pm.

       Defense Department
            -Presidential appointees
            -Briefings
                  -Grumman Corporation
                                            -36-

                   NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Feb-09)

                                                              Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

                 -Litton Industries, Inc.
            -The President’s instructions
                 -Camp David
                 -H. R. (“Bob”) Haldeman
                       -Topical list

An unknown person entered at an unknown time after 11:55 am.

       The President's schedule

The unknown person left at an unknown time before 12:42 am.

       Defense Department
            -Assistant Secretaries
                  -Number
                         -Cuts
                  -Army Secretary, Navy Secretary, Air Force Secretary
                  -Robert S. McNamara system
                         -Dismantling
                  -Military personnel
                         -Commands
            -Reorganization
                  -Dismissal of McNamara people
                         -Trustworthiness
                         -John Foster
                               -Los Alamos Labratory
                  -Melvin R. Laird
                  -Deputy Secretary
                  -Richardson’s role
            -Budget cuts
                  -James R. Schlesinger
                  -Intelligence operations
                         -Number
                               -Duplication
                               -Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps
                               -Central Intelligence Agency [CIA]
                         -Personnel
                               -Quality
                               -Command
                  -Division among services
                                           -37-

                 NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                                    Tape Subject Log
                                      (rev. Feb-09)

                                                          Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

                      -Tactical air forces
                             -Duplication
                             -Marine Corps
                             -Army
                             -Navy
                             -Air Force
                 -Subsidies of higher education
                      -Salary scales
                      -Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT]
                      -California Institute of Technology
                      -Stanford University
                      -University of California, Berkeley
                      -Research and Development [R&D]
                             -Researchers’ support for defense

      Richardson
           -Political skills
                  -Base closings
           -Knowledge of international affairs
           -National Security Council [NSC]
                  -Work with Kissinger
           -Deputy Secretary of Defense’s role
           -Strategist

      NSC system
           -Departmental resentment
                 -State Department
                 -Defense Department
           -Washington Special Action Group [WSAG]
                 -Richardson's active interest
          -Kissinger’s weekly meeting with Richardson
          -Laird


*****************************************************************
BEGIN WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 2
[National security]
[Duration: 31s      ]

     War plans
                                             -38-

                  NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Feb-09)

                                                             Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)


END WITHDRAWN ITEM NO. 2
*****************************************************************


      Defense Department
           -Air defense
                 -Fighter pilots
                        -Interception
                 -Soviet Union
                        -Missiles
           -Strategy
           -Expenditures
                 Interservice rivalry
                        -Roles and missions
                 -R&D
                 -Overlapping
                        -Air defense
                        -Intelligence
           -Richardson's possible role
                 -Louis A. Johnson
                 -James V. Forrestal
                 -Actions of predecessors
                        -Broker between armed services
                 -William P. Clements
                        -Membership
                               -WSAG
                 -Relations with White House
                        -State Department
                 -Relations with NSC
                 -Meetings with the President
                        -Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, Attorney General
                        -Cabinet
                               -Health Education and Welfare [HEW]
                 -Laird
                  -Strategic planning
                        -R&D
                               -Weapon systems
                               -MIT
                               -Subsidies
                                     -39-

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                              Tape Subject Log
                                (rev. Feb-09)

                                                  Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

     -National consensus
           -Force levels
           -Weapons capabilities
           -Soviet Union, Peoples Republic of China, [PRC]
           -Congress, public
           -Nixon Doctrine
           -Vietnam War
           -Peacetime defense
     -Richardson's role
           -Details
           -Clements
                 -Management skills
           -Need for strategist
                 -Soviet Union
                       -Briefing
           -Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty [SALT] talks
           -Relations with Kissinger
                 -Vietnam settlement
           -Support for NSC system
                 -Roy L. Ash
                       -Office of Management and Budget [OMB]
     -Richardson's career
           -Nelson A. Rockefeller, Ronald W. Reagan
           -State Department, HEW, Attorney General
     -Dangers
           -Reputation
                 -Budget cuts
                 -“Dove”
                 -State Department
                 -Balance of power
                       -William C. Foster
                       -The President’s philosophy

Volunteer armed force
     -Laird
     -Chances for success
     -Role of Secretary of Defense
           -Pride of service
     -Peacetime service
           -Boredom
                                    -40-

           NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                              Tape Subject Log
                                (rev. Feb-09)

                                                 Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

           -Azores
           -Pilots
                 -Airplanes
           -Navy
                 -Ships
           -Army
           -Haig

Command structure
    -Chiefs of staff
          -JCS chairman
          -Criteria for appointments
                 -Intelligence
                 -Toughness
                 -Strength
                 -Haig
    -Gen. Creighton W. Abrams, Jr.
          -Dwight D. Eisenhower
          -Abilities
                 -Division commander
                 -Tanks
    -Haig
          -Private talk with Richardson
          -Army
          -Air Force
          -Biases
          -Intelligence services
                 -Coordination
                 -James R. Schlesinger
                 -Congress
    -Competent personnel
          -Haig
          -Promotions
                 -Army
                 -Navy
    -Air Force
          -Gen. John D. Ryan
                 -Son
                        -Vietnam War
                                      -41-

            NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                               Tape Subject Log
                                 (rev. Feb-09)

                                                   Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

Military service academies
      -Number of graduates
      -Growth
            -Cuts
            -Billets

Defense Budget
     -Congressional relations
     -Loss of Republicans on House Appropriations Committee
     -Senators on floor
           -Armed Service Committee
           -J. Strom Thurmond, John G. Tower, Peter H. Dominick, and Barry M.
            Goldwater
           -Votes
           -Richard S. Schweiker, William B. Safire
           -Margaret Chase Smith
           -Tower
                  -Political skills

Defense Department reorganization
     -Articulation of policy and strategy
           -Force structure
     -Forrestal
     -Unification
           -Opportunity
     -Budget competition
           -1930s
           -Force requirements
     -Vietnam settlement
     -Europe
     -Latin America
     -Middle East
     -The President's support
           -Cambodia
     -Need for competence
     -The President’s reading skills
           -Harvard University
     -Winston S. Churchill
           -Book recommendation
           -Account of World War I
                               -42-

     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                        Tape Subject Log
                          (rev. Feb-09)

                                              Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

            -Eastern front
            -Compared to account of World War II
-Military mind
      -The President’s view
      -Strategic thinking
      -Eisenhower
            -Politician
      -Gen. George S. Patton
            -Field Commander
      -Gen. Douglas MacArthur
      -Haig
      -Gen. Charles A. J. M. De Gaulle
      -Last war thinking
      -World War I
            -Gallipoli campaign
                   -Royal Navy
            -Churchill
            -Tanks and maps
                   -Artillery
                   -World War II
                   -Churchill
                   -France, Great Britain
      -Civilian mind
-The President’s meeting with Moorer
      -Tactical air power
            -December 1972 bombing
            -Small wars
            -Jets
            -Helicopters
                   -Vulnerability
            -Army Air Corps
                   -Clements
                   -Compared to Air Force
            -Air Force
                   -Fighter pilots
                   -Soviet Union
                          -Bombers
                   -B-52s
                   -Missiles
            -JCS
                                             -43-

                   NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. Feb-09)

                                                         Conversation No. 833-17 (cont’d)

                   -Change in attitudes
                   -Successor

       NSC meeting
           -Spiro T. Agnew
           -Executive Committee
                 -Clements
           -Rogers, Laird
           -Informal discussions
           -Briefings for Richardson
                 -Moorer, Rogers
                 -Kissinger’s past meetings
                 -Rogers
                 -[David] Kenneth Rush
                        -State Department
           -The President's role
           -Public statements
                 -Post Vietnam settlement plans
                 -Richardson’s preparation

       Defense Department
            -Clements
                  -Detailed work
            -Control of expenditures
                  -Compared to HEW
            -The President's technical expertise
            -Waste
            -Personnel
                  -Bravery
                  -Leadership
            -Richardson's program
                  -Confirmation hearings
                  -Coordination

Richardson and Kissinger left at 12:42 pm.
                                             -44-

                    NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                       (rev. Feb-09)