Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger
Enlarge picture
Henry Kissinger

PresidentRichard Nixon, Gerald Ford
DeputyKenneth Rush, Robert S. Ingersoll, Charles W. Robinson
Preceded by
Succeeded by

Political partyRepublican
SpouseAnn Fleisher (1949-1964, div.)
Nancy Maginnes (from 1974)
ProfessionDiplomat, Academician

Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Richard Nixon administration. Kissinger emerged unscathed from the Watergate scandal and maintained his powerful position when Gerald Ford became President.

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. In that period, he pioneered the policy of détente that led to a significant relaxation in U.S.–Soviet tensions and played a crucial role in 1971 talks with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai that concluded with a rapprochement between the two countries and the formation of a new strategic anti-Soviet Sino–American alliance.

During his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations he cut a flamboyant figure, appearing at social occasions with many celebrities. His foreign policy record made him enemies among the anti-war left and anti-Communists alike on the right.

With the recent declassification of Nixon and Ford administration documents relating to U.S. policy toward South America and East Timor, Kissinger has come under fire from journalists and human rights advocacy groups, both in the U.S. and abroad. Following the release of those documents, officials in France, Brazil, Chile, Spain, and Argentina have sought him for questioning about war crimes he might have committed, such as Operation Condor, hindering his travel abroad.[1]

Personal background

Kissinger was born in Fürth in Franconia (Bavaria), Germany, as Heinz Alfred Kissinger to Jewish parents Louis Kissinger, a schoolteacher, and Paula Stern. His surname refers to the city of Bad Kissingen and was first taken by his great-great-grandfather, Meyer Löb, in 1817.[2] In 1938, fleeing Nazi persecution, his family moved to New York. Kissinger was naturalized a U.S. citizen on June 19, 1943, while in military training at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He spent his high school years in the Washington Heights section of upper Manhattan, but never lost his pronounced German accent. Henry Kissinger attended George Washington High School at night and worked in a shaving-brush factory during the day. While attending City College of New York, in 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, trained at Clemson College in South Carolina, and became a German interpreter for the 970th Counter Intelligence Corps. Kissinger was legendary for his ability to find and arrest former Gestapo agents in immediate post-war Germany.

Henry Kissinger received his B.A. degree summa cum laude at Harvard College in 1950, where he studied under William Yandell Elliott.[3] He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954, respectively. In 1952, while still at Harvard, he served as a consultant to the Director of the Psychological Strategy Board.[4] His doctoral dissertation was "Peace, Legitimacy, and the Equilibrium (A Study of the Statesmanship of Castlereagh and Metternich)."

Kissinger remained at Harvard as a member of the faculty in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs. He became Associate Director of the latter in 1957. In 1955, he was a consultant to the National Security Council's Operations Coordinating Board[4]. During 1955 and 1956, he was also Study Director in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations. He released his Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy the following year.[5] From 1956 to 1958 he worked for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as director of their Special Studies Project.[4] He was Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program between 1958 and 1971. He was also Director of the Harvard International Seminar between 1951 and 1971. Outside of academia, he served as a consultant to several government agencies, including the Operations Research Office, the Rand Corporation, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Department of State.[4]

A liberal Republican and keen to have a greater influence on American foreign policy, Kissinger became a supporter of, and advisor to, Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, who sought the Republican nomination for President in 1960, 1964 and 1968. After Richard Nixon won the presidency in 1968, he made Kissinger National Security Advisor.

With his first wife, Ann Fleischer, he had two children, Elizabeth and David. He lives with his second wife, Nancy Maginnes, in Kent, Connecticut. He is the head of Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm.

American actress and sex symbol Mamie Van Doren accompanied Kissinger to a State Department dinner at the White House once in the early 1970s. She later remarked in her memoirs that she was put off by Kissinger's continued reiterations to her on how he was the smartest man she'd ever meet.

He had triple coronary bypass heart surgery in May 1982.

He has a brother, Walter, who is one year younger.

Kissinger is a fan of the New York Yankees baseball team. He is also a supporter and honorary member of the German soccer club Spielvereinigung Greuther Fürth from his hometown, where he was a member in his youth.[6]

Foreign policy

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Kissinger being sworn in as Secretary of State by Chief Justice Warren Burger, September 22, 1973. President Nixon and Kissinger's mother, Paula, look on.

Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, and continued as Secretary of State under Nixon's successor Gerald Ford.[7]

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. In that period, he extended the policy of détente that led to a significant relaxation in U.S.-Soviet tensions and played a crucial role in 1971 talks with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai that concluded with a rapprochement between the two countries and the formation of a new strategic anti-Soviet Sino-American alliance. He was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to establish a ceasefire and U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. The ceasefire, however, was not durable.[7]

Kissinger favored the maintenance of friendly diplomatic relationships with anti-Communist military dictatorships in the Southern Cone and elsewhere in Latin America, and approved of covert intervention in Chilean politics. He has been accused of complicity and encouragement in the atrocities committed by the Argentine military junta. Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon requested that Kissinger answer questions about matters relating to these humans rights abuses, but the U.S. State Department rejected this petition.[8]

With the recent declassification of Nixon and Ford administration documents relating to U.S. policy toward South America and East Timor, Kissinger has come under fire from journalists and human rights advocacy groups, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Détente and the opening to China

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Kissinger, shown here with Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong, negotiated rapprochement with the People's Republic of China.

As National Security Advisor under Nixon, Kissinger pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, seeking a relaxation in tensions between the two superpowers. As a part of this strategy, he negotiated the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (culminating in the SALT I treaty) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. Negotiations about strategic disarmament were originally supposed to start under Johnson Administration but were postponed in protest to the invasion by Warsaw Pact troops of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

He sought to place diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union; to accomplish this, he made two trips to the People's Republic of China in July and October 1971 (the first of which in secret) to confer with Premier Zhou Enlai, then in charge of Chinese foreign policy. This paved the way for the groundbreaking 1972 summit between Nixon, Zhou, and Communist Party of China Chairman Mao Zedong, as well as the formalization of relations between the two countries, ending 23 years of diplomatic isolation and mutual hostility. The result was the formation of a tacit strategic anti-Soviet alliance between China and the United States. While Kissinger's diplomacy led to economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides and the establishment of Liaison Offices in the Chinese and American capitals, full normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China would not occur until 1979 as Watergate overshadowed the latter years of the Nixon presidency and the United States continued to recognize the Republic of China government on Taiwan.

Vietnam and Cambodia

See also:
Kissinger's involvement in Vietnam started prior to his appointment as National Security Adviser to Nixon. While still at Harvard he had worked as a consultant on foreign policy to both the White House and State Department and, in the summer of 1967, had acted as one of a series of intermediaries between Washington and Hanoi in a peace initiative codenamed "Pennsylvania." In the autumn of 1968, he used his contacts with the Johnson administration to tip-off the Nixon camp about an anticipated breakthrough in the Paris talks, which Nixon feared could cost him the campaign.

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Kissinger is updated on the latest situation in South Vietnam on April 29, 1975.
Nixon had been elected in 1968 on the promise of achieving "peace with honor" and ending the Vietnam War. In office, and assisted by Kissinger, Nixon implemented a policy of Vietnamization that aimed to gradually withdraw U.S. troops while expanding the combat role of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) so that it would be capable of independently defending South Vietnam against the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and North Vietnamese army (Vietnam People's Army or PAVN). Kissinger played a key role in a secret American bombing campaign of Cambodia to target PAVN and Viet Cong units launching raids against South Vietnam from within Cambodia's borders and resupplying their forces by using the Ho Chi Minh trail and other routes, as well as the 1970 Cambodian Incursion and subsequent widespread bombing of Cambodia. The bombing campaign inadvertently contributed to the chaos of the Cambodian Civil War, which saw the forces of dictator Lon Nol unable to defeat the growing Khmer Rouge insurgency that would emerge victorious in 1975.

Kissinger was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize along with North Vietnam diplomatic representative Le Duc Tho for their work in negotiating the ceasefires contained in the Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam," even though the terms of the agreement were quickly broken. The conflict would continue for two more years after the American withdrawal.[7] Tho declined the award, stating that his country was still not at peace; Kissinger accepted the award "with humility" but, having recently been appointed Secretary of State, did not collect the award in person, citing pressure of work, and it was accepted on his behalf by United States Ambassador to Norway Thomas R. Byrne.[10][11] The conflict continued until an invasion of the South by North Vietnam resulted in a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.

1971 Indo-Pakistan War

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An Indian cartoon published in The Times of India, deriding the foreign policy of Nixon and Kissinger (in car) for ignoring signs forewarning of Bangladeshi independence.[12]
Main article: Indo-Pakistan War

Kissinger has been criticized for his role during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. Despite reports of atrocities in East Pakistan, and despite being told—most notably in the Blood telegram—of "genocidal" activities being perpetrated by Pakistani forces, Kissinger and President Richard Nixon did nothing to discourage Pakistani President Yahya Khan and the Pakistan Army. Between 20,000 and 200,000 Bangladeshi lives were believed to have been lost because of the war. Kissinger was particularly concerned about Soviet expansion into South Asia as a result of a treaty of friendship that had recently been signed between India and the Soviet Union, and sought to demonstrate to the People's Republic of China the value of a tacit alliance with the United States.[13]

In recent years, Kissinger came under fire for comments made during the Indo-Pakistan War in which he described Indians as "bastards" and the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a "bitch."[14] Kissinger has since expressed his regret over the comments.[15]

1973 Yom Kippur War

Main article: Yom Kippur War

In 1973, Kissinger negotiated the end to the Yom Kippur War, which had begun with a surprise attack against Israel by Egyptian and Syrian forces. According to Kissinger, if Israel had initiated the war, they would not have received "so much as a nail" in aid from the United States. Kissinger has published lengthy and dramatic telephone transcripts of his activities during this period in the 2002 book Crisis. With Kissinger's support — which was reluctant at first — the U.S military conducted the largest military airlift in history. American action contributed to the 1973 OPEC embargo against the United States and its Western European allies, which was lifted in March 1974.

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On October 31, 1973, Egyptian foreign minister Ismail Fahmi meets with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger about a week after fighting ends in the Yom Kippur War.
Israel regained the territory it lost in the early fighting and gained new territories from Syria and Egypt, including land in Syria east of the previously captured Golan Heights, and additionally on the western bank of the Suez Canal, although they did lose some territory on the eastern side of the Suez Canal that had been in Israeli hands since the end of the Six Day War. Kissinger pressured the Israelis to cede some of the newly captured land back to the Arabs, contributing to the first phases of lasting Israeli-Egyptian peace. The move saw a warming in U.S.–Egyptian relations, bitter since the 1950s, as the country moved away from its former pro-Soviet stance and into a close partnership with the United States. The peace was finalized in 1978 when U.S. president Jimmy Carter mediated the Camp David Accords, during which Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for an Egyptian agreement to recognize Israeli statehood and end hostility.

1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus

In 1974 the junta which then ruled Greece staged an abortive coup against the president Archibishop Makarios III and Turkey launched an invasion "to restore constitutional order" on Cyprus.

In a White House memorandum of a conversation from February 20, 1975, Kissinger said: “In all the world the things that hurt us the most are the CIA business and Turkey aid.”[16] According to The Raw Story the context and the time period suggests Kissinger had supported illegal financial and military aid to Turkey for the 1974 Cyprus invasion.[17]

Latin American policy

The United States continued to recognize and maintain relationships with anti-Communist and non-Communist governments, democratic and authoritarian alike. John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress was ended in 1973. In 1974, negotiations about new settlement over Panama Canal started. They eventually led to Torrijos-Carter Treaties and handing the Canal over to Panamanian control.

Kissinger initially supported the normalization of U.S.–Cuban relations, broken since 1961 (all U.S.–Cuban trade was blocked in February 1962, a few weeks after the exclusion of Cuba from the Organization of American States under U.S. pressure). However, he quickly changed his mind and followed Kennedy's policy. After Fidel Castro's involvement in the struggle in Angola and Mozambique, Kissinger made it clear that unless Cuba withdrew its forces relations would not be normalized.
See also:

Chilean and Argentine coups

Main article: Chilean coup of 1973

Chilean Socialist presidential candidate Salvador Allende was elected by a narrow plurality in 1970, causing serious concern in Washington due to his openly Marxist and pro-Cuban politics. The Nixon administration authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to instigate a military coup that would prevent Allende's inauguration and presumably call new elections, but the plan was not successful.[18] The extent of Kissinger's involvement in or support of these plans is a subject of controversy.[19]

U.S.–Chilean relations remained frosty during Salvador Allende's tenure; following the complete nationalization of the partially U.S.-owned copper mines and the Chilean subsidiary of the U.S.-based ITT, as well as other Chilean businesses, the U.S. implemented partial economic sanctions, claiming that the Chilean government had greatly undervalued fair compensation for the nationalization by subtracting what it deemed "excess profits." The CIA provided funding for the mass anti-government strikes in 1972 and 1973; during this period, Kissinger made several controversial statements regarding Chile's government, stating that "the issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves" and "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people." These remarks sparked outrage among many commentators, who considered them patronizing and disparaging of Chile's sovereignty. In September 1973, Allende died during a military coup launched by Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, who became President.[20]
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Meeting between General Augusto Pinochet and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (1974).
It is unclear if Allende died from his own hand or at the orders of the coup leaders.

U.S.–Chilean relations significantly improved and remained warm until Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford in 1976 and implemented a tough stance against any state that violated human rights, regardless of its friendliness toward America.

In July 2001, the Chilean high court granted investigating judge Juan Guzmán the right to question Kissinger about the 1973 killing of American journalist Charles Horman at the hands of the Chilean military following the coup. The judge’s questions were relayed to Kissinger via diplomatic routes but went unanswered.

Kissinger took a similar line that he had toward Chile when the Argentine military, led by Jorge Videla, toppled the democratic government of Isabel Perón in 1976 and consolidated power, launching brutal reprisals and "disappearances" against political opponents. During a meeting with Argentine foreign minister César Augusto Guzzetti, Kissinger assured him that the United States was an ally, but urged him to "get back to normal procedures" quickly before the U.S. Congress reconvened and had a chance to consider sanctions.
See also:


In 1974 a leftist military coup overthrew the Caetano government in Portugal in the Carnation Revolution. The National Salvation Junta, the new government, quickly granted Portugal's colonies independence. Cuban troops in Angola successfully assisted the Marxist-Leninist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in defeating the anti-Communist UNITA and FNLA rebels in the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002). Kissinger supported UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) insurgencies, as well as the CIA-supported invasion of South African troops to Angola. In 1976 South African troops withdrew due to U.S. Congressional opposition.

In September 1976 Kissinger was actively involved in negotiations regarding the Rhodesian Bush War. Kissinger, along with South Africa's Prime Minister John Vorster, pressured Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith to hasten the transition to black majority rule in Rhodesia. With FRELIMO in control of Mozambique and even South Africa withdrawing its support, Rhodesia's isolation was nearly complete. According to Smith's autobiography, Kissinger told Smith of Mrs. Kissinger's admiration for him, but Smith stated that he thought Kissinger was asking him to sign Rhodesia's "death certificate." Kissinger, bringing the weight of the United States, and corralling other relevant parties to put pressure on Rhodesia, hastened the end of minority-rule.

East Timor and support of Suharto

The Portuguese decolonization process that had brought the U.S.'s attention to the newly-independent Angola and Mozambique also brought American attention to the small but densely populated and newly-independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor in the Indonesian archipelago. Indonesian president Suharto was a strong American ally in the Pacific and began to mobilize his army, preparing to annex the nascent state, which had become increasingly dominated by the popular leftist and Chinese-supported FRETILIN party. In December 1975, Suharto discussed the invasion plans during a meeting with Kissinger and President Ford in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Both Ford and Kissinger made clear that U.S. relations with Indonesia would remain strong and that it would not object to the proposed annexation. U.S. arms sales to Indonesia continued, and Suharto went ahead with the annexation plan, meeting fierce resistance from the native East Timorese. The Indonesian army responded with indiscriminate massacres; it is said that some 200,000 East Timorese lost their lives during the 24-year occupation, due to starvation and army massacres. The Indonesian government's recognition of East Timor as the province of Timor Timur was not accepted internationally. Repression on the part of the military and its collaborators was especially intense during the initial invasion and following a United Nations–supervised East Timorese vote for independence in March 1999. East Timor achieved independence in late 1999. The U.S. maintained friendly diplomatic ties with Suharto during the 1990s, but with the end of the Cold War, felt more free to criticize the regime for its actions in East Timor.

Accusations of war crimes and legal difficulties

The Trial of Henry Kissinger

A revival of interest in Henry Kissinger came during the new millennium, when journalist Christopher Hitchens wrote The Trial of Henry Kissinger, a scathing critique of Kissinger's policy that accused him of war crimes, particularly for his policy toward Vietnam, Cyprus, Cambodia, Chile and East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). Kissinger became a focal point of criticism from the political Left and certain human rights NGOs. According to the book, his foreign policy was chiefly concerned with attaining allies that had valuable geographical and strategic locations, such as Turkey and Pakistan, and turned a blind eye when these allies attacked democracies and murdered countless innocent people.

The book was later adapted into a documentary entitled The Trials of Henry Kissinger. The film focused on Kissinger's policies towards Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor, and Chile.

Involvement in Operation Condor

On May 31, 2001, French judge Roger Le Loire requested a summons served on Kissinger while he was staying at the Ritz Hotel in Paris [21]. Loire wanted to question Kissinger for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor—a mid-1970s campaign of kidnapping and murder coordinated among the intelligence and security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay—as well as the death of five French nationals under the Chilean junta [21]. As a result, Kissinger left Paris that evening, and Loire's inquiries were directed to the U.S. State Department.

In July 2001, the Chilean high court granted investigating judge Juan Guzmán the right to question Kissinger about the 1973 killing of American journalist Charles Horman [21], whose execution at the hands of the Chilean military following the coup was dramatized in the 1982 Costa-Gavras film, Missing. The judge's questions were relayed to Kissinger via diplomatic routes but went unanswered.

In August 2001, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba sent a letter rogatory to the U.S. State Department, in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), requesting a deposition by Kissinger to aid the judge's investigation of Operation Condor.[22]

On September 10, 2001, a civil suit was filed in a Washington, DC, federal court by the family of Gen. René Schneider, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, asserting that Kissinger gave the order for the elimination of Schneider because he refused to endorse plans for a military coup.[21][23][24] Schneider was killed by coup-plotters loyal to General Roberto Viaux in a botched kidnapping attempt,[24] As a part of the suit, Schneider’s two sons are attempting to sue Kissinger and then-CIA director Richard Helms for US$3 million.[24]

On September 11, 2001, the 28th commemorations of the Pinochet coup, Chilean human rights lawyers filed a criminal case against Kissinger along with Augusto Pinochet, former Bolivian general and president Hugo Banzer, former Argentine general and dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, and former Paraguayan president Alfredo Stroessner for alleged involvement in Operation Condor.[25] The case was brought on behalf of some fifteen victims of Operation Condor, ten of whom were Chilean.

In late 2001, the Brazilian government cancelled an invitation for Kissinger to speak in São Paulo because it could no longer guarantee his immunity from judicial action.[23][21]

Kenneth Maxwell's review, in Foreign Affairs November/December 2003, of Peter Kornbluh's book The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, discussed Kissinger's relationship with Augusto Pinochet's regime, in particular concerning operation Condor and Orlando Letelier's assassination, in Washington, DC, in 1976.

A 1978 cable released in 2000 shows that the South American intelligence chiefs involved in Condor "[kept] in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which [covered] all of Latin America". Robert E. White, the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, was concerned that the U.S. connection to Condor might be revealed during the then ongoing investigation into the 1976 assassination of Letelier.[26] Kornbluh and Maxwell both draw the conclusion from this and other materials that the U.S. State Department, on Kissinger's watch, had foreknowledge of the assassination.


In 2002, during a brief visit to the UK, a petition for Kissinger's arrest was filed in the High Court in London based on Indochinese civilian casualties and environmental damage resulting from U.S. bombing campaigns in North Vietnam and Cambodia in the period between 1969 and 1975.[21] Simultaneously, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who had engaged in a failed attempt to get Pinochet extradited from the United Kingdom for questioning, requested that Interpol detain Kissinger for questioning.[21] British authorities refused his request.

East Timor Action Network (ETAN) activists have repeatedly sought to question Kissinger during his book tours for his role in the Ford administration in supporting Suharto and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. Transcripts of Ford and Kissinger's endorsement of the invasion are available on the National Security Archive.[27]

Kissinger had knowledge of the 1971 atrocities committed by the Pakistani army and its allies during the war (see above), but did not advise President Nixon to put pressure on the Pakistani government to stop them.

Public perception

Kissinger, like the rest of the Nixon administration, was extremely unpopular with the anti-war political left, particularly after the secret and non-authorized by U.S Congress, U.S. bombing of Cambodia was revealed. However, few doubted his intellect and diplomatic skill, and he became one of the better-liked members of the Nixon administration, which some Americans grew to view as cynical and self-serving. Kissinger was not connected with the Watergate scandal that would eventually ruin Nixon and many of his closest aides, and this greatly increased Kissinger's reputation as he became known as the "clean man" of the bunch.

At the height of his popularity, he was even regarded as something of a sex symbol, earning him the nickname "Henry the Kiss."[28] He was seen dating such starlets as Jill St. John, Marlo Thomas,[29] Shirley MacLaine, and Candice Bergen. He was quoted as saying "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac".[30] Kissinger's head appeared in the animation series Futurama as a peace negotiator; Richard Nixon's head, explaining his choice of Kissinger uttered the following: "Looking like that, he talked his way into Jill St. John's bed. 'Nuff said!". There was even discussion of ending the requirement that a U.S. president be born in America by amending the U.S. Constitution so that Kissinger could have a chance to run.[31]

In 1992 Jornal do Brasil published an unflattering photo of Henry Kissinger on the front page. Kissinger's lawyer sent a cease and desist letter threatening to sue them if they sold the photo. The newspaper refused and one of the buyers was the advertising agency Woolward & Partners who were also threatened with legal action, after using it in an advertisement for computer equipment. The photo was featured in the 1996 book Washington Babylon by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.[32]

The musical satirist Tom Lehrer says that "political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize." [33]

In a 1999 radio interview with BBC news presenter Jeremy Paxman, ostensibly to promote the latest volume of his memoirs, Dr Kissinger reportedly walked out after being asked some tough questions about the U.S. role in the bombing of Cambodia.[34] However, BBC sources claim the he was late for another appointment and merely had to leave early.

Later roles

Business interests and public service

In 1977, Kissinger was appointed to Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies.[35]

In 1989, Kissinger founded a consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, and is a partner in affiliate Kissinger McLarty Associates with Mack McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.[36] He also serves on board of directors of Hollinger International, a Chicago-based newspaper group,[37] and as of March 1999, he also serves on board of directors of Gulfstream Aerospace.[38]

From 1995 to 2001, he served on the board of directors for Freeport-McMoRan, a multinational copper and gold producer with significant mining and milling operations in Papua, Indonesia.[39] In February 2000, then-president of Indonesia Abdurrahman Wahid appointed Kissinger as a political advisor. He also serves as an honorary advisor to the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce.

Kissinger served for many years as a director of Hollinger International, the chief executive officer of which was disgraced media tycoon Conrad Black. Hollinger's board is widely viewed to have not exercised sufficient oversight, enabling Black and other senior executives to defraud the company.

In 1998, Kissinger became an honorary citizen of Fürth, Germany, his hometown. He has been a life-long supporter of the Spielvereinigung Fürth football club and is now an honorary member.

He served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary from February 10, 2001 to the Summer of 2005.

Kissinger delivered eulogies during the state funeral of former President Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford in 1994 and 2007 respectively.

Role in U.S. foreign policy

Kissinger left office when a Democrat, former Governor of Georgia and "Washington outsider" Jimmy Carter, defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential elections. During the campaign, Carter criticized Kissinger, arguing he was "single-handedly" managing all of America's foreign relations. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, Kissinger's role in U.S. government and policy was minimized, as the neoconservatives who rose to dominance in the Republican Party under the Reagan administration beginning in 1981 considered Nixonian détente to be a policy of unwise accommodation with the Soviet Union. Kissinger continued to participate in policy groups, such as the Trilateral Commission, and to maintain political consulting, speaking, and writing engagements. He would often appear as a foreign-policy commentator on American broadcast networks.

In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Kissinger to chair a committee to investigate the events of the September 11 attacks. This led to criticism from Congressional Democrats who accused Kissinger of being secretive and not supportive of the public's right to know. Leading Democrats insisted that Kissinger file financial disclosures to reveal any conflicts of interest. Both Bush and Kissinger claimed that Kissinger did not need to file such forms, since he would not be receiving a salary. However, following continual Democratic pressure, Kissinger cited conflicts of interest with his clients and stepped down as chairman on December 13, 2002.

Kissinger and Iraq

In 2006, it was reported in the book by Bob Woodward that Kissinger was meeting regularly with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to offer advice on the War in Iraq.[40] Kissinger confirmed in recorded interviews with Woodward[41] that the advice was the same as he had given in an August 12, 2005 column in The Washington Post: "Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy."[42]

In a November 19, 2006 BBC Sunday AM interview, when asked whether there is any hope left for a clear military victory in Iraq, Kissinger said, "If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi Government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible... I think we have to redefine the course. But I don't believe that the alternative is between military victory as it had been defined previously, or total withdrawal."[43]

See also


  • Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.[44]
  • Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.<ref name="aphrodisiac" />
  • A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone.
  • Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible, because otherwise the bleeding will not end.
  • Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.
  • High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.
  • Most foreign policies that history has marked highly, in whatever country, have been originated by leaders who were opposed by experts.
  • While we should never give up our principles, we must also realize that we cannot maintain our principles unless we survive.


1. ^ Human Rights Watch World Report 2002: Americas: Argentina. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.; East Timor Revisited. The National Security Archive. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.; Christopher Hitchens (November 27, 2002). The Latest Kissinger Outrage. Slate. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
2. ^ "Die Kissingers in Bad Kissingen", Bayerischer Rundfunk, June 2, 2005. Retrieved on 2007-02-03. (german) 
3. ^ Draper, Theodore. "Little Heinz And Big Henry", New York Times, September 6, 1992. Retrieved on 2006-12-30. 
4. ^ Henry Kissinger - Biography. nobelprize.org. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
5. ^ Kissinger, Henry (1957). Nuclear weapons and foreign policy. Harper & Brothers, 455. 
6. ^ Der berühmteste Fan. SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
7. ^ History of the National Security Council, 1947-1997. whitehouse.gov. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
8. ^ "Spanish judge seeks Kissinger", CNN, April 18, 2002. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.2002"> 
9. ^ The Nobel Peace Prize 1973. Nobel Foundation. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
10. ^ The Nobel Peace Prize 1973: Presentation Speech by Mrs. Aase Lionaes, Chairman of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Storting. The Official Web Site of the Nobel Foundation (1973-12-10). Retrieved on 2007-04-28. “In his letter of November 2 to the Nobel Committee Henry Kissinger expresses his deep sense of this obligation. In the letter he writes among other things: I am deeply moved by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize, which I regard as the highest honor one could hope to achieve in the pursuit of peace on this earth. When I consider the list of those who have been so honored before me, I can only accept this award with humility. … This year Henry Kissinger was appointed Secretary-of-State in the United States. In his letter to the Committee he writes as follows: I greatly regret that because of the press of business in a world beset by recurrent crisis I shall be unable to come to Oslo on December 10 for the award ceremony. I have accordingly designated Ambassador Byrne to represent me on that occasion.
11. ^ Lundestad, Geir (March 15, 2001). The Nobel Peace Prize 1901-2000. Nobel Foundation. Retrieved on 2006-12-31.
12. ^ R. K. Laxman. "You Said It!", The Times of India. 
13. ^ The Tilt: The U.S. and the South Asian Crisis of 1971. National Security Archive (December 16, 2002). Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
14. ^ (2005) "150. Conversation Among President Nixon, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), and the President’s Chief of Staff (Haldeman), Washington, November 5, 1971, 8:15–9:00 a.m.". Foreign Relations, 1969–1976 E-7 (19). 
15. ^ "Kissinger regrets India comments", BBC, July 1, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-12-15.2005"> 
16. ^ White House memorandum
17. ^ Intelligence officers confirm Kissinger role in Turkish invasion -Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane- Wednesday June 27, 2007
18. ^ Church Report. U.S. Department of State (December 18, 1975). Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
19. ^ Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders (1975), Church Committee, pages 246–247 and 250–254.
20. ^ Pike, John. Allende's Leftist Regime. Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
21. ^ Why the law wants a word with Kissinger, Fairfax Digital, April 30, 2002 (English)
22. ^ Argentina. Human Rights Watch World Report 2002. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
23. ^ Hitchens, Bill. "The latest Kissinger outrage", Slate.com, November 27, 2002. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.2002"> 
24. ^ Miller, Christopher. "Family of Slain Chilean Sues Kissinger, Helms; Military Leader Was Killed in Kidnap Attempt Linked to Nixon Administration", The Washington Post, September 11, 2001, p. A.22. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.2001">  Republished on the site Freedom of Information Center, University of Missouri. Retrieved on 2006-12-30.
25. ^ "Word", The Washington Post, September 12, 2001, p. A.27. Retrieved on 2006-12-14.2001"> 
26. ^ Operation Condor: Cable Suggests U.S. Role. National Security Archive (March 6, 2001). Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
27. ^ Burr, William; Evans, Michael L. (eds.) (December 6, 2001). East Timor Revisited. National Security Archive. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
28. ^ Henry Kissinger: Profile. bbc.co.uk.
29. ^ "Henry Kissinger Off Duty." TIME, 7 February 1972.
30. ^ The New York Times (28 October 1973)
31. ^ "President Kissinger?", TIME, March 4, 1974. Retrieved on 2006-12-15.1974"> 
32. ^ The Memory Hole: The Photos Kissinger Doesn't Want You to See
33. ^ Tom Lehrer interviewed by Stephen Thompson. TIME. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
34. ^ Kissinger walks out of Paxman programme (June 29, 1999). Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
35. ^ CSIS. CSIS (2007). Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
36. ^ Council of the Americas Member. Council of the Americas. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
37. ^ Sun-Times Media Group Inc · 10-K/A. United States Securities and Exchange Commission (May 1, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
38. ^ Gulfstream Aerospace Corp, Form 10-K. United States Securities and Exchange Commission (March 29, 1999). Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
39. ^ Freeport McMoran Inc · 10-K. United States Securities and Exchange Commission (March 31, 1994). Retrieved on 2006-12-29.
40. ^ "Bob Woodward: Bush Misleads On Iraq", CBS News, October 1, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.2006"> 
41. ^ Woodward, Bob. "Secret Reports Dispute White House Optimism", The Washington Post, October 1, 2006, pp. A01. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.2006"> 
42. ^ Kissinger, Henry A.. "Lessons for an Exit Strategy", The Washington Post, pp. A19. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
43. ^ Marr, Andrew. "US Policy on Iraq", BBC, November 19, 2006. Retrieved on 2006-12-29.2006">  (Transcript of a BBC Sunday AM interview.)
44. ^ Woodward and Bernstein, The Final Days, chapter 14

Further reading

  • Foreign policy
  • Rescuing the World: The Life and Times of Leo Cherne by Andrew F. Smith, Henry A. Kissinger (2002) ISBN 0-7914-5379-0
  • Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (2001) ISBN 0-684-85567-4
  • Diplomacy (1994) ISBN 0-671-65991-X
  • On Men and Power: A Political Memoir by Helmut Schmidt, Henry Kissinger (1990) ISBN 0-224-02715-8
  • Observations: Selected Speeches and Essays 1982-1984 (1985) ISBN 0-316-49664-2
  • For the Record: Selected Statements 1977-1980 (1981) ISBN 0-316-49663-4
  • A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22 (1973) ISBN 0-395-17229-2
  • American Foreign Policy: Three essays, (1969) ISBN 0-297-17933-0
  • The Troubled Partnership: A Re-Appraisal of the Atlantic Alliance (1965) ISBN 0-07-034895-2
  • The Necessity for Choice: Prospects of American Foreign Policy (1961) ISBN 0-06-012410-5
  • Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957) (ISBN 0-865-31745-3 (1984 edition))
  • Memoirs
  • Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises: Based on the Record of Henry Kissinger's Hitherto Secret Telephone Conversations (2003) ISBN 0-7432-4910-0
  • Vietnam: A Personal History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2002) ISBN 0-7432-1916-3
  • Years of Renewal (1999) ISBN 0-684-85571-2
  • Years of Upheaval (1982) ISBN 0-316-28591-9
  • The White House Years (1979) ISBN 0-316-49661-8
  • Biographies
  • Kissinger: A Biography, by Walter Isaacson, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992, (updated, 2005), ISBN 0-671-66323-2
  • The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, by Jussi M. Hanhimaki (2004) ISBN 0-19-517221-3
  • The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping of America's Foreign Policy, by Richard C. Thornton (1989) ISBN 0-88702-051-8
  • The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, by Seymour Hersh (1983) ISBN 0-671-44760-2
  • Kissinger, by Marvin L. Kalb, Bernard Kalb (1974) ISBN 0-316-48221-8
  • Kissinger on the Couch, by Phyllis Schlafly (1974) ISBN 0-87000-216-3
  • Kissinger: Portrait of a Mind, by Stephen Richards Graubard (1973) ISBN 0-393-05481-0
  • The Trial of Henry Kissinger, by Christopher Hitchens (2002) ISBN 1-85984-631-9
  • Die Kissinger-Saga, by Evi Kurz (2007) ISBN 973-3-940405-70-8
  • Historiography
  • Larry Berman: No peace, no honor. Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam New York, NY u.a.: Free Press 2001. ISBN 0-684-84968-2.
  • Jussi M. Hanhimäki, 'Dr. Kissinger' or 'Mr. Henry'? Kissingerology, Thirty Years and Counting, in: Diplomatic History Vol. 27, Issue 5, pp. 637-76.
  • Holger Klitzing: The Nemesis of Stability. Henry A. Kissinger's Ambivalent Relationship with Germany. Trier: WVT 2007, ISBN 3-88476-942-3.
  • Robert D. Schulzinger: Henry Kissinger. Doctor of diplomacy. New York: Columbia Univ. Pr. 1989, ISBN 0-231-06952-9.
  • Other
  • Kissinger Transcripts: The Top Secret Talks With Beijing and Moscow by Henry Kissinger, William Burr (1999) ISBN 1-56584-480-7
  • Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia by William Shawcross, (Revised edition October 25, 2002) ISBN 0-8154-1224-X
  • Dallek, Robert (2007). Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060722304. 

External links

Preceded by
Walt Rostow
United States National Security Advisor
Succeeded by
Brent Scowcroft
Preceded by
William P. Rogers
''' United States Secretary of State
Served Under: Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford'''
Succeeded by
Cyrus Vance
Preceded by
Richard Nixon
Time's Men of the Year (with Richard Nixon)
Succeeded by
John Sirica

NAMEKissinger, Henry
SHORT DESCRIPTIONUnited States Secretaries of State, National Security Advisor
DATE OF BIRTH27 May 1923 (1923--) (age 84)
PLACE OF BIRTHFürth, Franconia, Bavaria
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Nancy Kissinger (Nancy Maginnes) (photo [1] ) is a philanthropist who is married to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger received her B.A. in history in 1955 from Mount Holyoke College. She is the second wife of Henry Kissinger.
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