Henry Kissinger recently apologized for comments made to former-president Richard Nixon in 1973, saying it wouldn’t be an American concern if the Soviet Union sent its Jews to the gas chambers.
Kissinger also forgives Nixon for anti-Semitic comments made, about him, behind his own back.
The recent apology, to Jews (I guess), appeared in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that appeared on its website Dec. 24 but is dated Dec. 26.
The recently released remarks, recorded in the Oval Office, were taken out of context, wrote Kissinger:
“For someone who lost in the Holocaust many members of my immediate family and a large proportion of those with whom I grew up, it is hurtful to see an out-of-context remark being taken so contrary to its intentions and to my convictions, which were profoundly shaped by these events,” Kissinger wrote.”References to gas chambers have no place in political discourse, and I am sorry I made that remark 37 years ago.”
Kissinger made the remarks after a meeting he and Nixon had with then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir on March 1, 1973 in which Meir pleads for the United States to put pressure on the Soviet Union to release their Jews. Kissinger and Nixon, then the secretary of state, dismiss the plea after Meir leaves.
Kissinger is reported as saying on the tapes:
“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policyâ€¦And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
To which Nixon replies:
“I know. We canâ€™t blow up the world because of it.”
Six months later, during the Yom Kippur War, Nixon rejected Kissinger’s advice to delay an airlift of arms to Israel as a means of setting up an Egypt confident enough to pursue peace.
Kissinger writes in the Washington Post piece that his comments were not a “policy statement,” but were made in reply to a request by Nixon that he attempt to encourage various vocal senators to agree to stick with mum diplomacy in order to get Jews out of the Soviet Union.
Kissinger defends his statement and policy by saying that a silent diplomacy about Soviet Union Jews, was setting an Egyptian peace strategy in place:
“The issue became public because of the success of our Middle East policy when Egypt evicted Soviet advisers. To restore its relations with Cairo, the Soviet Union put a tax on Jewish emigration. There was no Jackson-Vanik Amendment until there was a successful emigration effort.”