The Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, has just been to the White House, where she implores President Nixon to press the Soviet Union to allow the emigration of Jews who wish to leave. In the Oval Office after she leaves, the president and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, are discussing her request.
"The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy," Kissinger tells Nixon, tapping the table for emphasis. "And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. It may be a humanitarian concern --"
"Well, we can't blow up the world because of it," Nixon responds.
That conversation, secretly recorded on March 1, 1973, is included in the latest batch of White House tapes released by the Nixon Library. Though nearly 38 years have elapsed, it is shocking to hear Kissinger's insistence that another Holocaust ought to be a matter of indifference to the United States. That opinion would be appalling coming from any American official; coming from a German-born Jew whose family fled the Nazis and who lost at least 13 close relatives in the concentration camps, it seems almost obscenely callous.