Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger apologized on Friday for saying during a conversation with president Richard Nixon in 1973 that it wouldn’t be an American concern if the Soviet Union sent its Jews to the gas chambers.
Kissinger made the apology in a Washington Post opinion piece and said “references to gas chambers have no place in political discourse, and I am sorry I made that remark 37 years ago.”
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Kissinger’s conversation with Nixon had been recorded and he could be heard saying “the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
The former secretary of state argued in his opinion piece that his comment was largely taken out of context, while emphasizing that the Nixon administration had worked at helping Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union.
“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-ofcontext remark being taken so contrary to its intentions and to my convictions, which were profoundly shaped by these events,” Kissinger wrote.
Referring to his conversation with Nixon, where his gas chambers remark was made, Kissinger wrote “the conversation at issue arose not as a policy statement by me but in response to a request by the president that I should appeal to Senators Javits and Jackson and explain why we thought their approach unwise.”
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