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Conversation: 502-012

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Start Date: Thursday, May 20, 1971 4:05 PM

End Date: Thursday, May 20, 1971 4:48 PM

Participants:

Nixon, Richard M. (President)Haldeman, H. R. ("Bob")Ziegler, Ronald L.Kissinger, Henry A.[Unknown person(s)]Scali, John A.Cox, Tricia NixonWoods, Rose Mary

Recording Device: Oval Office

Full Tape Conversation Start Time: 01:30:40

Full Tape Conversation End Time: 02:09:50

502a.mp3

502b.mp3

NARA Description:

On May 20, 1971, President Richard M. Nixon, H. R. ("Bob") Haldeman, Ronald L. Ziegler, Henry A. Kissinger, unknown person(s), John A. Scali, Tricia Nixon Cox, and Rose Mary Woods met in the Oval Office of the White House from 12:05 pm to 12:48 pm. The Oval Office taping system captured this recording, which is known as Conversation 502-012 of the White House Tapes.

Nixon Library Finding Aid:

Conversation No. 502-12

Date: May 20, 1971
Time: 12:05 pm - 12:48 pm
Location: Oval Office
                                               16

                          NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                         Tape Subject Log
                                            (rev. 9/08)



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

     President's announcement of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks [SALT] agreement
     -Haldeman’s assessments
          -Foreign policy statement
          -Effect on viewers
          -Press
                 -Dan Rather                                        Conv. No. 502-12 (cont.)
                 -Herbert E. Kaplow
                 -John W. Chancellor
                 -Rather's comments
                       -Surprise
                       -Moscow
          -Time in Washington, D.C. and in Moscow
          -Drama
          -Evening news
          -Length of President's statement
          -SALT talks
          -Limitation of nuclear arms
          -Text of President's announcement, May 20, 1971
                 -Introduction

Ronald L. Ziegler entered at 12:10 pm.

          -Ziegler's views
          -Compared to Kissinger's earlier press briefing
          -Anti-ballistic missiles [ABM]
          -Rather's comments
               -President
               -Aleksei N. Kosygin
               -Leonid I. Brezhnev
          -Camera coverage
          -Wire service coverage
               -Kissinger's response

Kissinger entered at 12:27 pm.

          -New Republic
               -U. Alexis Johnson [?]
          -Marianne Means [?]
               -Charles G. ("Bebe") Rebozo
          -Text of President's announcement, May 20, 1971
                                         17

                     NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                 Tape Subject Log
                                    (rev. 9/08)



           -Change of wording
           -Soviet response
     -Kissinger's earlier press briefing, May 20, 1971
     -Chancellor's response
     -Rather
     -Marvin L. Kalb [?]
     -Preliminaries to President's announcement
     -North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]               Conv. No. 502-12 (cont.)
           -Paris
     -Domestic policy
     -Soviets
     -President’s relations with the press
     -Michael J. (“Mike”) Mansfield
     -Charles W. Colson
           -President's instructions
                 -Senate
     -Soviets
     -Strategy for pursuing negotiations with Soviets
           -Offensive
           -Defensive

President's briefing of Congressional leaders, May 20, 1971
     -Senators
            -J. William Fulbright
            -Mansfield
            -Allen J. Ellender
            -Fulbright
                  -Smoking habits
                  -Reading
                        -Newspaper
     -Carl B. Albert's absence
            -Meeting with Capitol Architect
            -Informing the press
            -Spiro T. Agnew
            -Press
            -Veracity

SALT announcement
    -Kissinger's calls on May 20, 1971
         -George Meany
               -Response
         -Lyndon B. Johnson
                                             18

                         NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                     Tape Subject Log
                                        (rev. 9/08)



                     -Response
               -Howard Stein
               -Jack J. Dreyfuss, Jr. (?)
               -John J. McCloy
                     -Response
          -Nelson A. Rockefeller's views
               -People's Republic of China [PRC]
               -SALT                                                  Conv. No. 502-12 (cont.)
          -Kissinger's earlier press briefing on SALT, May 20, 1971
               -Press
               -Compared to Kissinger's Vietnam press briefings
          -ABM
          -Offensive weapons
          -Cameras
          -Press
          -Chinese
               -Message
               -Pakistani Ambassador
               -Joseph S. Farland

     [Unintelligible]

                -Navy
                -Farland
                -Agha Muhommad Yahya Kahn
          -Official communication
          -John A. Scali
                -Reaction to announcement
          -Soviet reaction

An unknown person entered at an unknown time after 12:27 pm.

     Request for Scali

The unknown person left at an unknown time before 12:31 pm.

     SALT announcement
         -National Security Council [NSC] members
                                              19

                              NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                       Tape Subject Log
                                          (rev. 9/08)



           -Gerard C. Smith
                -Arms Control and Disarmament Agency [ACDA] staff
                -Photograph session in Oval Office
                      -William P. Rogers
                      -Melvin R. Laird

     President's briefing of Congressional leaders on SALT, May 20, 1971
          -Smith's performance                                       Conv. No. 502-12 (cont.)
          -Smith
                 -Negotiating efforts with the Soviets
          -George H. Mahon, F. Edward Hébert and Robert F. Byrd's comments
          -Republicans
          -Fulbright

Scali entered at 12:31 pm.

     Scali's briefing on SALT, May 20, 1971
           -Smith
           -Howard K. Smith
           -Smith
                 -Johnson
           -SALT
           -US and Soviet Union positions
           -Negotiating strategy

     SALT announcement
         -Press
         -Rather
         -United Press International [UPI]'s and Associated Press [AP]'s lead stories on
              President's SALT announcement, May 20, 1971
         -Timing
         -Coverage

     President's previous Congressional briefing
          -Ellender, Hébert, Byrd, Mahon, John C. Stennis
          -Congressional response
                 -ABM

Kissinger left at 12:36 pm.

[The President talked with Tricia Nixon between 12:36 pm and 12:39 pm]
                                                  20

                            NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                        Tape Subject Log
                                           (rev. 9/08)



[Scali and Haldeman can be heard in the background]

[See Conversation No. 3-83]

[Conversation No. 502-12A]

[End of telephone conversation]
                                                                    Conv. No. 502-12 (cont.)
     President's SALT agreement announcement
          -Chancellor
          -Tricia Nixon's views on length of President's comments
          -Drama
          -Scali
          -Chancellor
                 -Meeting with Kissinger

     Scali's press briefing, May 20, 1971
           -Kissinger's press briefing, May 20, 1971
           -Senate
           -Negotiations with Soviets
           -Press
           -Post World War II world
                 -Importance of SALT
                       -Historical perspective

Kissinger entered at an unknown time after 12:39 pm.

           -US relations with Soviet Union and PRC
                -Since World War II
           -Means

Kissinger, Ziegler, and Scali left at 12:43 pm.

     Soviets

     President’s critics

     PRC

     Vietnam

Rose Mary Woods entered at 12:45 pm.
                                             21

                          NIXON PRESIDENTIAL MATERIALS STAFF

                                      Tape Subject Log
                                         (rev. 9/08)



     Letter to Acheson

     President's SALT agreement announcement
          -Length
          -Drama
          -Television
          -Drama
          -Length                                              Conv. No. 502-12 (cont.)

     Acheson letter

The President, Haldeman, and Woods left at 12:48 pm.