H.R. Haldeman, as Richard Nixon’s right-hand man, recorded in his diary that the President was “pretty fed up with blacks,” and believed there was “total Jewish domination of the media.”
On Feb. 26, 1970, Haldeman dictated that Nixon “really raged again against United States Jews” and told his aide “not to let any Jews see him about the Middle East.”
Haldeman noted that the Nixon outburst was in the presence of his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, who is Jewish.
The Haldeman recollections, to be published in a book Tuesday, were previewed Monday night on ABC’s “Nightline,” with a second segment to be broadcast on Tuesday. In some cases, Haldeman’s voice is heard as he dictated, in others his words are read by anchor Ted Koppel.
Koppel describes Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, as “what so many of us have always wished for, a fly on the wall with a notebook, a tape recorder, a home-movie camera; and access to almost everything that happened during the Nixon years in the White House.”
Nixon died last month; Haldeman last year. The television program shows Jo Haldeman saying that in his final illness her husband said “he wanted me to keep his commitment to have the diaries published.”
Haldeman’s recollections range from the trivial--how his staff thought that getting Nixon a dog would humanize him--to bigotry at the presidential level.
Asked for comment, John H. Taylor, director of the Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda, said “politics and anti-Semitism are two different things” and that black-Jewish statements Nixon made “should be viewed strictly in a political context.”
Taylor contends the statements reflect Nixon’s frustrations. He attracted only a small part of the Jewish vote in the 1968 election and polls showed most Jews did not support his Vietnam policies, Taylor said.
“I had the privilege of serving him for 15 years and never heard him make an anti-Semitic statement,” said Taylor, Nixon’s former aide.
Nixon did not have much support among black Americans, although he went through the motions such as posing for pictures with band leader Lionel Hampton and singer-dancer Sammy Davis Jr.
Koppel reads Haldeman’s words:
“P (President) emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.
“Pointed out that there has never in history been an adequate black nation and they are the only race of which this is true. Says Africa is hopeless, the worst there is Liberia, which we built.”
After Nixon met with black civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy on May 13, 1969, Haldeman said Abernathy had brought a long list of demands then “went out and stabbed us on TV.”
Said Haldeman: “Proved again there’s no use dealing honestly with these people. They obviously want confrontation, no solutions . . . pretty fed up with blacks and their hopeless attitude.”
Nixon biographer Stephen Ambrose comments on the television program that Nixon was particularly unhappy about the New York Times.
“It is funny about Nixon: He rants and raves about the Jews, and they control the press and they this and they that. He was the best friend Israel ever had. And he had Bill Safire working for him.”
Safire, who is Jewish, was a Nixon speech writer. He now is a columnist for the New York Times.
“There was considerable discussion of the terrible problem arising from the total Jewish domination of the media and agreement that this is something that would have to be dealt with,” Haldeman is heard saying.
“The Rev. (Billy) Graham has the strong feeling that the Bible says that there are satanic Jews and that’s where our problem arises.”