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Kissinger Telcons Series Descriptions

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The years, participants, and box numbers of the four series are included below:

Boxes:   1-26
Series:   Chronological File
Description:   The Chronological file contains telcons from January 21, 1969 to August 8, 1974. In addition to conversations between Dr. Kissinger and President Nixon, the telcons feature conversations between Dr. Kissinger and world leaders such as heads of state such as Edward Heath of Great Britain and Golda Meir of Israel, foreign ministers such as Ismail Fahmy of Egypt, and ambassadors such as Simcha Dinitz of Israel. There are conversations with celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, John Wayne, Danny Kaye, Warren Beatty, and Liza Minnelli; with media and entertainment industry executives such as producer Robert Evans and film industry executive Taft Schreiber; and with journalists such as Stewart and Joseph Alsop, Thomas Braden, Jerold Schecter, Hugh Sidey, Bernard Kalb, Mike Wallace, Ben Bradlee, Seymour Hersh, William Safire, Rowland Evans, and Barbara Walters. There are telcons of Dr. Kissinger's talks with members of Congress such as J. William Fulbright, and with politicians such as future Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan. There are telcons between Dr. Kissinger and Cabinet secretaries such as William Rogers, Melvin Laird, Elliot Richardson, and James Schlesinger. There are also telcons of other high ranking Cabinet officials such as Kenneth Rush and Joseph Sisco. Other people include business and civic leaders such as Max Fisher, Cabinet members, other White House officials such as H.R. ("Bob") Haldeman, National Security Council (NSC) staff members (including many with Haig), personal friends, and former Harvard University colleagues.

The Chronological file contains discussions on most of the foreign policy issues in which Dr. Kissinger was involved during his service in the Nixon administration. These include the Vietnam War (e.g., the secret bombing of Cambodia; the President's May 8, 1972 decision to bomb Hanoi and mine Haiphong Harbor; the Christmas bombing of 1972, peace negotiations leading up to the 1973 settlement agreement); US-Soviet Union relations (e.g., Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT), the Berlin agreement, the 1972 Moscow summit, the US-Soviet grain deal, Soviet Jewish emigration); US-People's Republic of China (PRC) relations (e.g., President Nixon's 1972 trip to China); the EC-121 incident involving North Korea; terrorism; the Jordan crisis; Cienfuegos; US-Chile relations; the Pentagon Papers; the India-Pakistan War; the Munich Olympics massacre; détente; the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the shuttle diplomacy that followed it; the oil embargo and energy crisis; and the Cyprus crisis of 1974. The telcons reveal Dr. Kissinger involved in crises and in less urgent diplomatic initiatives. They show him dealing with various aspects of foreign policy, including press relations, Congressional relations, contacts with other Federal departments and agencies, personnel issues, and administrative matters within the NSC staff and later, the State Department.

Dr. Kissinger's relationships with other administration officials and departments, particularly with Secretary of State William P. Rogers and the Defense Department, are illustrated throughout the Chronological file. Through President Nixon's direction, Dr. Kissinger ran foreign policy directly from the White House instead of through the State Department. He established back-channel meetings with Dobrynin; instructed the Paris peace talk negotiators; and isolated most major foreign policy enterprises within the White House. As a consequence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) established a covert intelligence gathering system through a naval aide, Yeoman Charles E. Radford, who secretly copied White House documents and provided them to the JCS. This series documents the so-called Radford affair.

Dr. Kissinger's management and administrative style is amply documented in his conversations with NSC staffers such as Haig, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Eagleburger, Morton H. Halperin, Winston Lord, and Scowcroft, and with State Department officials such as U. Alexis Johnson, after Dr. Kissinger became secretary of state. Matters discussed include his schedule, policy making, interdepartmental relations. preparation of memoranda, papers, and reports, paperwork flow, speech writing, and appointments to various offices (e.g., ambassadorships).

Other subjects of interest discussed in the Chronological File include the aborted Apollo XIII moon mission; James Hoffa's attempt to visit North Vietnam to gain the release of US prisoners of war; Dr. Kissinger's nomination to be secretary of state, and his subsequent confirmation hearings in September 1973.

The Chronological file includes Dr. Kissinger's involvement in the seventeen wiretaps that the White House ordered for national security reasons on thirteen NSC staffers and four newsmen at various times from 1969 to 1971. The wiretaps, and the resulting summaries, originated in an attempt to find out who was leaking information to the media about the secret bombing of Cambodia. When the taps were revealed in 1973, President Nixon took responsibility for authorizing them, but Dr. Kissinger was repeatedly asked both at his secretary of state confirmation hearings before the Senate in 1973 and in 1974 whether he himself had ever initiated a wiretap. The telcons contain conversations about this issue between Dr. Kissinger and members of the press and members of Congress. The telcons also touch on other Watergate and abuse of governmental power matters, including the break-in and subsequent investigations, the publication of the Pentagon Papers, and the Plumbers and their activities, especially those of former NSC staffer David R. Young.

The Chronological file contains Dr. Kissinger's conversations with members of the press, media, and Hollywood and New York celebrities. These conversations relate to a variety of subjects, including dinners, speeches, and other social affairs in which Dr. Kissinger was an invited guest. While they pertain to Dr. Kissinger's social and private life, they also involve his media and press relations. In the course of his contacts with celebrities and powerful people in the media and entertainment industry, Kissinger became a celebrity in his own right. Members of the press, media, and celebrities benefited, too, of course, as they advanced either own careers through their social contact with a man whom many considered to be the most powerful person in Washington.

Boxes:   27-28
Series:   Anatoli Dobrynin File
Description:   The Dobrynin file mostly contains telcons of conversations between Dr. Kissinger and Soviet ambassador to the US Anatoli Dobrynin, although there are telcons of conversations of people other than Kissinger (Haig, Kennedy, Scowcroft) and Dobrynin (Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, charge d'affaires Yuri Vorontsov). There are duplicate copies of some of these Kissinger-Dobrynin conversations in the Chronological file and in the Home file. In addition, at least three telcons from this file are also duplicated in the NSC Files at the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff. These telcons are between Haig and Soviet officials. Along with Haig's other telcon transcripts, they can be found in boxes 998-999 of the Haig Chronological Files in the NSC Files. Finally, there are also telcons about the 1973 Arab-Israeli War that are duplicated in both the Dobrynin file and the Chronological file. These calls occurred in various places, including Washington, DC, Key Biscayne, and San Clemente.

The Dobrynin file provides a record of the development of détente. It documents the establishment of what many historians have called the two men's "special relationship"-the "channel" between Dobrynin and Dr. Kissinger beginning in February 1969 whereby the two men often met without secretaries or interpreters to negotiate major issues in US-Soviet relations. In 1972 a special "hot line" was installed between the White House and the Soviet embassy. Dobrynin and Dr. Kissinger spoke frequently about their respective government's positions on virtually every major issue involving US-Soviet Union relations including linkage, the Vietnam War, the Berlin agreement, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and ABM proposals, the India-Pakistan War, US-Soviet trade (e.g., the extension of Most Favored Nation status to the Soviets), and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. These telcons reflect the rapport that the two men shared, which often manifested itself in humorous banter even during times of crisis.

Boxes:   29
Series:   Home File
Description:   The Home file consists of telcons recorded at Dr. Kissinger's home from July 1970 to April 1972. These calls involve subjects such as the Vietnam War (e.g., Presidential speeches, the William Calley case), Cienfuegos, the Jordan crisis, textile negotiations with Japan, reflections on intellectual "elites," and the US's PRC initiatives. There are conversations in this series between Dr. Kissinger and people such as President Nixon, Joseph Sisco, Michael Mansfield, and Lyndon Johnson. This series also contains conversations between Dr. Kissinger and "Dr. Yoshida," who was believed to be Wakaizumi Kei. These conversations were conducted using code names during sensitive negotiations over voluntary textile quotas between the US and Japan. There are some duplicates of telcons from this series in the Dobrynin file. Moreover, there are Nixon White House telephone tape recordings of some of the conversations transcribed in these telcons.

Boxes:   30
Series:   Jordan File
Description:   The Jordan file contains telcons covering the period of the Jordanian crisis (September 5-25, 1970) when civil war broke out between King Hussein's forces and "Black September" Palestinian guerrillas, and Syrian tanks invaded Jordan in support of the Palestinians. There are conversations in this series between Dr. Kissinger and people such as President Nixon, William Rogers, Sisco, Nelson Rockefeller, and Israeli ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin. Included in this series are a few State Department telegrams. Some telcons from this series are duplicated in the Chronological File, which also has telcons about the Jordanian crisis that are not found in the Jordan File.


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