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- The Administration made a vigorous effort to defeat the Byrd Amendment but it was nonetheless passed by a ten vote margin. The Congress is hostile to the embargo because although the United States has abided by it scrupulously, other nations have not, and it does not appear to have been effective. Moreover, it makes the U.S. dependent on the Soviet Union for the essential commodity of chrome, and the Soviets have tripled the price of their chrome since the embargo went into effect. Finally, Zambia's recent decision to import $20 million worth of corn from Rhodesia undermined Congressional support for the embargo.
-We are now studying whether it is still possible to get this bill set aside. We will do our best, but the situation is, frankly, not very promising.
Conversation Between President Nixon and the President's
Washington, September 28, 1971.
[Omitted here is conversation unrelated to Rhodesia.)
Kissinger: If the debate’ is delayed, it makes no difference at all because the debate takes about two weeks. If the debate starts the day I get back, which is the 25th
Nixon: But what could they put in between, Henry? How could they do it?
Kissinger: Well, they could put in some African issues. They could keep the general debate cooking along.
Nixon: -I trust, speaking of African issues, that you paid no attention to what I said to that OAU fellow?3
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Oval Office, Conversation 579–15. No classification marking. The editors transcribed the portions of the tape recording printed here specifically for this volume. The exchange is part of a larger conversation, 5:51–6:42 p.m.
2 The General Assembly vote on Taiwan.
3 Mauritanian President Ould Daddah. According to the President's Daily Diary, Nixon met with Daddah and other African leaders in the Cabinet Room, 3:15–3:52 p.m. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files)
Kissinger: I didn't quite understand what point you were making, which was just as well.
Nixon: That's right.
Nixon: Well, I was being nice to them. The point that I was making is that the—there's the Byrd Amendment
Kissinger: Oh, oh. I'm-oh, I'm not (unclear]—
Nixon: —and I just want to be sure. Don't let State pucker out of this and sink the goddamn-we want to continue to buy that chrome. I mean why should—why the hell do we let the Russians always
Kissinger: Mr. President, we were—I didn't even bother you
Nixon: Zambia's buying it. Well, I just marked on there, I don't know whether
Kissinger: I saw your note.* I wasn't even—but, that came up for the first time last week.
Nixon: I know. I didn't know about it
Kissinger: And they wanted me to call up Senators who said they would shift if I spoke for you
Nixon: Jeez (unclear)
Kissinger:—but they would not shift for the State Department. So I refused to intervene, because I knew your view, but I didn't want to come to you so that you
could disavow me if worse came to worse. You could
I had done it on my own.
Nixon: You see, Henry-you see those poor, child-like Africans. God almighty, you think what the world, you know? We did our best.
Kissinger: You did an absolutely superb job. The guy was almost incoherent anyways. It was
See footnote 1, Document 56.
Kissinger: And these other savages that he
Nixon: (laughs) It's really something, though. You've got to, Henry, to wonder about Africans (unclear) talk about it
Kissinger: But Newsom called me and he said that they were just floating on air. He said they
Nixon: -a lot of patting them on the ass goes a long way. I think what you've got to do here is (unclear). I just feel Bill (Rogers) is—well, he cannot-he will continue to rationalize and confuse the two issues. I mean, he may, but the Chinese trip has got to, you know, has got to go as we plan it.
Conversation Among President Nixon, British Foreign
Washington, September 30, 1971.
Douglas-Home: At present (unclear] this is only happening in Rhodesia.
Nixon: Oh, really?
Douglas-Home: I think so. And this will be within the five principles.? [unclear)—
Douglas-Home: —not giving a time scale at least helps to provide the blocking mechanism to, say, prevent the Africans from doing it. Where it's been right now is through parity.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Oval Office, Conversation 582-9. No classification marking. The editors transcribed the portions of the tape recording printed here specifically for this volume. The exchange is part of a larger conversation, 4:10–5:31 p.m. According to the President's Daily Diary, British Ambassador Earl Cromer was also the meeting; Nixon, Kissinger, DouglasHome, and Cromer met from 4:10 until 5:13 p.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files)
2 See footnote 2, Document 3.
Douglas-Home: And we haven't been able to provide Commonwealth seats beyond on the subject. Now, we may get some agreement
Douglas-Home: And if we do we're going to have a hell of a time, (Harold] Wilson told (unclear). He then said this is as rough as he can.
Nixon: Which way is he? Is he going to (unclear)?
Douglas-Home: Well, because you could say it's not been announced
Nixon: We're not going to have the blacks in (unclear).
Nixon: (unclear] Let me tell you that, I want to assure you what I think you heard me say, and I talked on the phone today with Heath (about) this, but we will not embarrass you on Rhodesia or South Africa. Now, the point that I think Henry heard me talk to these Africans when they were in here the other day, and he's also seen what I had written on that—on those memos as they come through. We have to take positions because of our political situation, but I just feel so strongly on this issue that it's—but look, who was this—who's the head of that, who's that head of the OAU? What country is he from—?
Nixon: Mauritania? Now, Mauritania's got-Mauritania, they've got a million two hundred thousand people. They haven't—they have to answer to the problems of a million two hundred thousand instead of worrying about worrying about what's happened in Rhodesia or South Africa. So, he spent the whole time, you know, yelling about that thing. Not yelling, but you know? They're talking about that. It reminded me of Sukarno. 1—when I visited Sukarno in '53, here's this great country and the rest, here's this man with this tremendous mystique, marvelously colorful. I was the Vice President then, and, of course, it meant quite a bit for me to get over to him, perhaps for him to receive me. But, on the other hand, I remember when I talked to him-I was there three days—three-fourths of the time he's talking about West Irian.
Nixon: They don't even want to deal with a bunch of cannibals up there. You know what I mean? (unclear] That became the great issue. It's always this. Now, in the case of Rhodesia, let me say whatever you work out—whatever you work out, I'll have you remember this, I don't be pushed on by that African group over there at State because I think that-what else with the chrome thing have we decided?
Kissinger: We have this Byrd Amendment-
Douglas-Home: (unclear] if we get this revenue (unclear] set up (unclear] completely, he may get back on it. But he's, so far, after all the blocking mechanisms (unclear] tax credits (unclear) for proper franchise (unclear] declaration of rights. So, the whole thing looks very, so
, very (unclear]
Nixon: I want to be—I want to be informed if you will on this, not (unclear)
Nixon: I just don't want it to be, too over to the Hill. I want you to get it, get
Nixon: Fine. But if it's something, if it's anything in the ballpark, I'll, I'll be sure to say something about it,
Douglas-Home: It will come to the front of the U.N., too, that we have pushed
Nixon: I understand
Kissinger: If you could make sure that I get some advance warning, before it gets to that
Nixon: This is one where we don't want to cause you any trouble. We've got enough troubles of our own.
Douglas-Home: (laughs) (unclear] Horn of Africa where it could, it would be
Douglas-Home: —that you could get a multiracial state of some kind.
Kissinger: On the U.N., Mr. President, if, on some of these procedural points like the China issue, if you could give us a hand we know you can't do much on the basic thing
[Omitted here is conversation unrelated to Southern Africa.)