Henry Kissinger and Poet Allen Ginsberg in the Buff?

LOOP FAN ALERT! Some of the following material may be shocking. We’ll alert you at the appropriate point.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University, after protracted legal and bureaucratic wrangling, has released 15,502 documents and over 30,000 pages of transcripts of telephone conversations between former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford and many other senior government officials, foreign officials and media and show business figures

Many shed light on some of the more important diplomatic events from 1969, when Kissinger was in the White House, to early 1977, when Kissinger left the State Department.

In one conversation in November 1975, after White House chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld allegedly engineered the cabinet shake-up known as the “Halloween Massacre” so he would become Secretary of Defense and his pal Dick Cheney moved up to be chief, Kissinger is chatting with Treasury Secretary William Simon.

Simon tells Kissinger that he’d insisted to reporters that Kissinger had not been behind the moves and that he thought the move would be worse for Kissinger.

“The guy that cut me up inside this building isn’t going to cut me up any less in Defense,” Kissinger told Simon, referring to Rumsfeld.

“It is going to be worse, Henry,” Simon said.


“It’s going to be worse,” Simon repeated.

“That’s right,” Kissinger said.

This next excerpt is not for the squeamish.

On April 23, 1971, just before the “May Day” anti-war demonstrations in Washington, beat poet Allen Ginsberg called Kissinger, saying he was “calling at the request partly of Senator [Eugene] McCarthy."

Ginsberg said he wanted “to arrange a conversation” or meeting between Kissinger, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), “maybe even Nixon” and Ginsberg and McCarthy and various anti-war leaders.

Kissinger said he’d met with peace groups before, but they just rush out afterwards and blab to the press. He told Ginsberg he “would be prepared to meet in principle” but “on a private basis.”

Ginsberg said it was “difficult to set limits” on the unruly group but “we can try to come to some kind of understanding.”

“You can set limits to what you say publicly,” Kissinger observed, a bit irrationally given the crowd involved.

“It would be even more funny to do it on television,” Ginsberg said.

“What?” Kissinger responded.

“It would be even more useful if we could do it naked on television,” Ginsberg offered.

“K: (Laughter)” the transcript says.

We warned you.

By Al Kamen  |  December 23, 2008; 4:36 PM ET
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