The Nixon Administration & the Jewish Community
To the Editor:
Leonard Garment’s review of Peter Golden’s Quiet Diplomat: A Biography of Max M. Fisher [Books in Review, February] is in itself a strong contribution to the history of the Nixon administration’s relationship to the Jewish community. Although I disagreed with Fisher’s stance on a number of issues (I was the first chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jews), my contacts with Mr. Garment, who dealt with the problems of Jewish emigration on an almost daily basis from his office in the Executive Office Building, were consistently positive, forthright, and direct on his part. Mr. Garment was an insider who left the Washington scene with his reputation intact; not easy in those days!
Mr. Garment writes that “during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Fisher lobbied the President and Henry Kissinger nonstop (estimate: at least 100 phone calls) for rapid resupply of the Israelis.” If the number of calls is correct, they went entirely to Kissinger who was the de-facto President, operating from the basement “situation room” of the White House, while Nixon was engaged wholly in playing and replaying his tapes in the living quarters on the second floor. He was trying to find reasons for refusing to turn the tapes over to Judge Sirica, and it was during this same week that the seventeen-minute gap or blank in the tapes appeared.
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