White House legend: Henry Kissinger in his White House office in the Seventies. Newly released documents shes light on some of his less famous quotes
American Jewish groups, lobbying the Nixon administration on behalf of their Soviet brethren, got under White House adviser Henry Kissinger's skin so much that he denounced them as self-serving 'bastards', newly released documents reveal.
The comments were made in August 1972, when appeals were flooding the White House over the Kremlin's levying of fees for exit permits. One such letter was from the Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, appealing to the White House to end its strategy of 'quiet diplomacy', and for Mr Nixon to take up the issue with Soviet leaders directly.
A White House official, Leonard Garment, himself flooded with letters and phone calls with Jewish appeals, asked Mr Kissinger for help and guidance. According to transcripts released by the State Department, Mr Kissinger -- deputy national security adviser at the time -- said to Mr Garment: 'Is there a more self-serving group of people than the Jewish community?
Mr Garment replied: 'None in the world.' The exchange was all the more remarkable because both Mr Kissinger and Mr Garment were Jewish. But Mr Kissinger continued, saying,: 'What the hell do they think they are accomplishing? You can't even tell bastards anything in confidence because they'll leak it.
Despite his outburst, Mr Kissinger said he would take up the issue with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and also meet again with Jewish leaders.
But he finished with: 'They ought to remember what this administration has done.' The remarks were contained in documents dealing with U.S.-Soviet relations released by the State Department.
Mr Kissinger, 88, was not available for comment over the released transcript.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr Kissinger played a dominant role in U.S. foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of detente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War.
Even after his term with presidents Nixon and Gerald Ford, he has been approached for advice by successive presidents -- including Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.