Kissinger regrets gas chambers remark

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger apologized Friday for a recently revealed remark from 1973, where he said it was no concern of the US if Soviet Jews were gassed.


In recently released White House audio tapes, Kissinger was 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.”

In his Washington Post article, Kissinger wrote that Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union had never been put forward as a formal US position “not because of moral insensitivity but because intense crises imposed other priorities.”

He added that through a realist approach adopted by the White House, “Jewish emigration rose from 700 a year in 1969 to near 40,000 in 1972.”


“My answer tried to sum up that context in a kind of shorthand that, when read 37 years later, is undoubtedly offensive,” he wrote. “It was addressed to a president who had committed himself to that issue and had never used it for political purpose to preserve its humanitarian framework.”