Miller Center

Nixon, Kissinger, and the “Decent Interval”

In this conversation, President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, discuss a time frame for pulling American troops out of Vietnam. President Nixon acknowledges that South Vietnam will probably fall to the North but he and Kissinger want to make sure that its collapse does not negatively impact the 1972 presidential election or the Nixon administration’s foreign policy. Kissinger advises that they need a “formula” to hold South Vietnam together until which time the public not only looses interest in the matter but that it also holds Saigon, and not the Nixon administration, responsible for the political and military defeat.

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President Richard M. Nixon, thirty-seventh President of the United States, 1963-1969.

Biographical sketch from American President.

Henry Kissinger was U.S. National Security Adviser, 1969-1975, and Secretary of State, 1973-1977.

Biographical sketch from the Nobel Prize website.

RMN Daily Diary, August 3, 1972.
Newspaper ArticleTape 760-6, Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum. Raw audio available through The Miller Center's Scripps Library portal. Finding aids available at Nixon Library.

Audio Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin's record of conversation with Kissinger and Nixon, May 14, 1969. Source: George Washington University.

DocumentSouth Vietnam, The Spring Offensive, 1972. Source: ehistory @ OSU | United States Military Academy.