Wednesday, August 15, 2007

From the archives: Nixon, Haldeman and Ziegler on Jews and spying

537-004 - Presidential Recordings Program:

Date: July 5, 1971
Time: Unknown between 4:03 pm and 6:15 pm
Location: Oval Office
Participants: President Nixon, Bob Haldeman, Ronald Ziegler

President Nixon: All of the Jewish families are close, but there’s this strange malignancy now that seems to creep among them. I don’t know, the radicalism. I can imagine how the fact that [Daniel] Ellsberg is in this must really tear a fellow like [National Security Adviser] Henry [Kissinger] to pieces, or [Consultant Leonard] Garment, you know. Just like the Rosenbergs and all that. That just has to kill him. And you feel horrible about it.

Ronald L. Ziegler: Couldn’t be guy by name of Snyder.

President Nixon: There ain’t none.

H.R. Haldeman: [chuckling] It would’ve been a Rosenstein that changed his name.

Ziegler laughs.

Ziegler: It is. Right. It’s always an Ellsberg or [unclear—overlapping voices].

President Nixon: They’re all Jews. Every one’s a Jew. [Former Director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs Leslie H.] Gelb’s a Jew. [former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Morton H.] Halperin’s a Jew. But there are bad—[Alger] Hiss was not a Jew. So that proves something. [a99:40] Very interesting thing. So few of those who engage in espionage are Negroes. Very lucky that way. [Unclear] As a matter of fact, very few of them become Communists. If they do, they either, like, they get into Angela Davis, they’re more of an activist type, and they throw bombs and this and that. But the Negroes, have you ever noticed? There are damn few Negro spies.

Haldeman: They’re not intellectual enough. Not smart enough.

President Nixon: It may be.

Haldeman: They’re not smart enough to be spies, they’re not intellectual enough—

President Nixon: The Jews are born spies. You notice how many of them are? They’re just in it up to their necks. Haldeman: Well, got a basic devious abil—deviousness, that— President Nixon: Well, also, an arrogance, an arrogance that says—that’s what makes a spy. He puts himself above the law.

Ziegler: Yeah.

President Nixon: Other than spies for the pay. I’m talking about the spies that do it because of idealism.

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