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Richard Nixon tapes: New release reveals president's critical remarks on Jews, blacks

December 11, 2010 |  8:59 am


More White House tapes were released Friday by the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda. The tapes cover more than 200 hours. Here are excerpts of comments by the 37th president:

NIXON AND JEWS: On one section of the tapes, Nixon says: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality." As the New York Times reports, he went on to disparage other groups:

“The Jews have certain traits,” he said. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.” Nixon continued: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,” and his voice trailed off.

NIXON AND BLACKS: Nixon had expressed skepticism about improving the lives of black Americans, in comments posted by the Telegraph:

And in a separate conversation with Rose Mary Woods, his personal secretary, he said that a colleague has "sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he's been in New York ... He says well, 'They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.' So forth and so on." The president continued: "My own view is I think he's right if you're talking in terms of 500 years," he said.

KISSINGER AND SOVIET JEWS: The tapes quote Henry Kissinger, Nixon's national security advisor, as questioning U.S. interests in the plight of Soviet Jews, in an exchange posted by the Atlantic:

"The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy," Mr. Kissinger said. "And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern." "I know," Nixon responded. "We can't blow up the world because of it."

NIXON AND CHINA: Nixon and Kissinger discussed tensions between China and the Soviet Union, in this excerpt posted by the Wall Street Journal:

"The two men pondered whether the Chinese were nervous about a possible attack from the Soviet Union. “They may genuinely think that the Soviets are getting ready to jump them,” Mr. Kissinger said.


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-- Shelby Grad