Henry Kissinger: Eminence Noire
Robert Parry - December 28, 2008
The recent release of 40-year-old tape recordings of President Lyndon Johnson complaining about “treason” by Richard Nixon’s campaign for sabotaging Vietnam peace talks in 1968 also reflects darkly on one of Washington’s enduring Wise Men, a person whose views are still sought and respected: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
It was Kissinger, who – while serving as a peace-talk adviser to the Johnson administration – made obstruction of the peace talks possible by secretly contacting people working for Nixon, according to Seymour Hersh’s 1983 book, The Price of Power.
“It is certain,” Hersh wrote, “that the Nixon campaign, alerted by Kissinger to the impending success of the peace talks, was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [in Saigon] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on the peace negotiations.”
The newly released tapes show that Johnson had caught on to the Nixon campaign’s back-channel dealings with South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu. In late October and early November 1968, Johnson protested to Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen and eventually to Nixon himself about the sabotage.