STATEMENT BY TRICIA NIXON COX AND JULIE NIXON EISENHOWER ON THE PASSING OF SECRETARY HENRY A. KISSINGER
On behalf of our family, and of all those who worked with our father and Dr. Henry A. Kissinger in a partnership that produced a generation of peace for our nation, we express our deepest condolences on the passing of one of America’s most skilled diplomats.
Henry Kissinger will be long remembered for his many achievements in advancing the cause of peace. But it was his character that we will never forget. As a youth, he escaped the horrors of the Third Reich. Then, as a newly naturalized American citizen and a member of the United States Army’s 84th Infantry, he returned to Germany to help achieve the defeat of the Nazi regime.
In the Nixon Administration, Dr. Kissinger conducted the lengthy and often frustrating negotiations in Paris to win peace with honor in Vietnam. He stood by our father’s military decisions to end the war. And he never wavered from our father’s commitment to liberate every American Prisoner of War from the cruel captivity in which they were held by the North Vietnamese.
Dr. Kissinger played an important role in the historic opening to the People’s Republic of China and in advancing détente with the Soviet Union, bold initiatives which initiated the beginning of the end of the Cold War. His “shuttle diplomacy” to the Middle East helped to advance the relaxation of tensions in that troubled region of the world. “I owe everything to Richard Nixon,” Henry told us on more than one occasion. Together, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger advanced the great cause of peace and freedom, and today, he joins our parents in eternal rest.
His uncommon story was so unique — and so thoroughly American. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy, David, Elizabeth, and the entire Kissinger family.
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ROBERT C. O’BRIEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE RICHARD NIXON FOUNDATION
Our nation and the world have lost a legendary diplomat with the passing of former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger.
Our sincerest condolences go out to Henry’s wife of nearly 50 years, Nancy, and to his family.
Henry’s role on the international scene was unparalleled and full of historic accomplishments, including the key roles he played in President Nixon’s historic opening with the People’s Republic of China and defending Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Henry and I spoke in person and by phone regularly when I was privileged to serve as one of his 21 successors as National Security Adviser. I deeply valued his thoughtful counsel, support and friendship.
Henry’s guidance to me continued well into his tenth decade, especially as we have both sought to preserve the legacy of President Nixon as Directors of the Richard Nixon Foundation. I can think of no more fitting title for Henry than that which the Nixon Foundation awarded him just last year: Architect of Peace.
Dr. Henry Kissinger: America’s diplomat
Shortly after Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States in 1968, he selected Dr. Henry Kissinger to be his principal advisor for national security affairs.
“The combination was unlikely,” the 37th president later recalled, “but our differences made the partnership work.”
The two would change the world.
Working together to realize President Nixon’s vision of a generation of peace, Dr. Kissinger helped create and implement a Grand Strategy for American foreign policy. The Vietnam War was honorably ended and the POWs brought home; the People’s Republic of China was opened to the world after almost a quarter century of angry isolation; the first major nuclear arms control treaty (SALT) was signed with the Soviet Union; Israel was saved from defeat during the Yom Kippur War; and Dr. Kissinger’s “shuttle diplomacy” played a vital part in the President’s vision of bringing peace to the Middle East.
In 1973, President Nixon appointed Dr. Kissinger as the nation’s 56th secretary of state, where he continued to serve through the remainder of the Nixon administration and into the Ford administration. The former secretary of state would go on to advise every president after Gerald Ford.
A prolific and bestselling author, Dr. Kissinger has created an important and influential body of work. His three bestselling volumes of memoirs ––White House Years, Years of Upheaval, and Years of Renewal— provide a magisterial account of foreign policy and relations during the Nixon presidency. His most recent best sellers include On China (2011), World Order (2014), and The Age of AI: And Our Human Future (2021). Dr. Kissinger’s latest book Leadership (2022), profiles the lives of six extraordinary leaders as seen through the distinctive aspects of statecraft he believes they embodied. Because he knew each of the six subjects and participated in many of the events he describes, he adds the unique element of his personal knowledge and insight.
Heinz Alfred Kissinger was born on May 27, 1923 in the Bavarian city of Furth. In 1938, as the Nazi persecution of Jews became unrelenting, his family was able to escape to London, and then to the Bronx, where Heinz became Henry and enrolled at the George Washington High School. In 1943 he was drafted and found himself back in Germany in the United States Army, fighting the Nazis as a rifleman in France and a translator and G-2 intelligence officer.
In 1947 he matriculated to Harvard, graduating (summa cum laude) in 1950. He stayed in Cambridge pursuing his Master’s and Ph.D. In 1954 he joined the faculty and remained there until joining the Nixon White House. He was Director of the influential Harvard International Seminar from 1952 to 1969.
In 1957 his thoughtful and provocative book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy was a crossover bestseller, and he became a sought after adviser for politicians and presidents beginning with President Eisenhower. He was a special advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and served as New York Governor (and presidential candidate) Nelson Rockefeller’s principal foreign policy adviser.
Among his many awards and honors are a Bronze Star from the U.S. Army in 1945, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, and the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.
In 2011, the Financial Times observed that “No one can lay claim to so much influence on the shaping of foreign policy over the past 50 years as Henry Kissinger. In and out of office, he has been intelligently ubiquitous.” Hailed as soldier, statesman, academician, author, and peacemaker, Henry Kissinger’s breadth and depth of knowledge –from the ways Metternich shaped the post-Napoleonic world to the ways Artificial Intelligence will shape our 21st Century future — are unparalleled.
Tributes to Dr. Kissinger
Henry was a brilliant, witty scholar who made history for one U.S. president and was consulted by many others, as well as foreign heads of state. His advice to President Nixon saved Israel and opened the way for possible peaceful relations with China. He was deeply respected by friends and foes of the United States. Asked his views on the Iran-Iraq War, he replied, “It is a pity that only one side can lose!”
– Pete Wilson, 38th Governor of California
Henry Kissinger and I were true friends. He was a great man and I was fortunate to know him for over fifty years. I was last with him for a few hours a little over a year ago. On that occasion he was as full of life, at 99 years old, and as quizative as he appears below in this favorite picture of the two of us.
The picture was taken at the newly renovated Nixon Library in Yorba Linda California. I am in the process of showing Henry an interactive kiosk on Foreign Affairs. The smile, the curiosity and being of the man captures his warmth and the friendship we shared. It was one of my great honors of a blessed life to have Henry call me his friend.
America and the world has lost one of its greatest Diplomats and Statesmen.
God Speed Henry. Love, Dwight
– Dwight Chapin, former personal aide and assistant to President Nixon
With Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger assisted in shaping the international order in the last quarter of the 20th century. Whether the opening to China, strategic arms limitations in the cold war, ending the Vietnam conflict, or making major breakthroughs in the Middle East, Kissinger’s partnership roles as National Security Adviser and Secretary of State to President Nixon were integral in raising his deserved status as a central intellectual and diplomatic figure of his generation.
– Ken Khachigian, Deputy Special White House Assistant to President Nixon