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Profile: Henry A. Kissinger

 
  

Positions that Henry A. Kissinger has held:

  • US National Security Advisor under Richard Nixon (1969-1975)
  • US Secretary of State under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (1973-1977)


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, August 12, 2002

   “America's special responsibility is to work toward an international system that rests on more than military power � indeed, that strives to translate power into co-operation. Any other attitude will gradually isolate and exhaust America.” [Independent, 8/17/02]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Henry A. Kissinger actively participated in the following events:

 
  

Some point between 1969 and 1974      US-Vietnam (1947-2001)

       In a conversation with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger about civilian casualties in Vietnam, US President Richard Nixon says, “I don't give a damn. I don't care.” [CBS News, 2/28/2003]
People and organizations involved: Richard Nixon, Henry A. Kissinger
          

March 1969-1973      US-Cambodia (1955-1993)

       Henry Kissinger, Nixon's assistant for National Security Affairs, convinces the president to begin a bombing campaign in Cambodia where Viet Cong and North Vietnamese have established logistical bases. The campaign, secretly referred to as “Operation Breakfast,” spurs the Vietnamese to move deeper into Cambodia causing US bombings to move further into the country's interior. As in Laos (see 1969-1973), the US drops an incredible number of bombs on civilian areas. Craig Etcheson will later write in his book, The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea: “The fact is that the United States dropped three times the quantity of explosives on Cambodia between 1970 and 1973 than it had dropped on Japan for the duration of World War II. Between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of high explosives rained down on Cambodia; that is more than one billion pounds. This is equivalent to some 15,400 pounds of explosives for every square mile of Cambodian territory. Considering that probably less than 25 percent of the total area of Cambodia was bombed at one time or another, the actual explosive force per area would be at least four times this level.” [Los Angeles Times, 7/8/1997; Etcheson, 1984 cited in Ear, 1995]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, Richard Nixon
          

April 30, 1970      US-Cambodia (1955-1993)

       US and South Vietnamese troops invade Cambodia, attacking North Vietnamese and Viet Cong bases and supply lines. Angered by the move, four men from Henry Kissinger's National Security Council staff resign. [Blum, 1995; Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004; Hitchins, 2001] By the end of May, “scores of villages ... [have] been reduced to rubble and ashes by US air power.” [Blum, 1995] Though US ground forces are withdrawn by June 30, the South Vietnamese troops will remain, occupying heavily populated areas and supported by continued heavy US air bombings. During this time, popular support for the Khmer Rouge broadens, its ranks swelling from 3,000 in March 1970 to a peak of about 30,000. [Columbia Encyclopedia, 2004]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger
          

May-August 1973      US-Cambodia (1955-1993)

       Months after the Paris Agreement, which marked the official end of the Vietnam War, the United States, under the leadership of President Richard Nixon and his assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, steps up its bombing of Cambodia—contradicting earlier claims that the rationale for bombing Cambodia had been to protect American lives in Vietnam. During the months of March, April and May, the tonnage of bombs dropped on Cambodia is more than twice that of the entire previous year. The bombing stops in August under pressure from Congress. The total number of civilians killed since the bombing began in 1969 is estimated to be 600,000 (see March 1969-1973). [Guardian, 4/25/2002; Blum, 1995]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Richard Nixon, Henry A. Kissinger
          

1975      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Secretary of State Henry Kissinger signs a “Memorandum of Understanding” with Israel obligating the US to ensure the security of Israel's oil reserves and energy supply in times of crisis. “The memorandum ... [is] quietly renewed every five years” according to the London Observer, “with special legislation attached whereby the US stocks a strategic oil reserve for Israel even if it entail[s] domestic shortages—at a cost of $3 billion in 2002 to US taxpayers.” [Observer, 4/20/2003; Janes Foreign Report, 4/16/03 Sources: Memorandum of Understanding, 9/1/1975] In the event that commercial shippers refuse to ship oil to Israel, the US is obligated to ship it using its own tankers. [Janes Foreign Report, 4/16/03]
People and organizations involved: Israel, Henry A. Kissinger
          

April 22, 1975      US confrontation with Iran

       Secretary of State Henry Kissinger circulates National Security Decision Memorandum 292 on “US-Iran Nuclear Cooperation” outlining the administration's negotiating strategy for the sale of nuclear energy equipment to Iran. The document states the government would permit “US material to be fabricated into fuel in Iran for use in its own reactors and for pass through to third countries with whom [the US has] agreements.” According to the document, the administration would “[a]gree to set the fuel ceiling at the level reflecting the approximate number of nuclear reactors planned for purchase from US suppliers,” but would consider increasing the ceiling “to cover Iran's entitlement” from their proposed $1 billion investment in a 20 percent stake in one of the private US uranium enrichment facilities that would be supplying Iran. The strategy paper also explains under what terms the Ford administration would be willing to grant Iran approval to reprocess US supplied fuel. [Washington Post, 3/27/2005; Source: National Security Decision Memorandum 292] Three decades later, Kissinger will tell the Washington Post that the Ford administration was never concerned about the possibility of Iran building nuclear weapons or the potential for proliferation. “I don't think the issue of proliferation came up,” he will recall. “ They were an allied country, and this was a commercial transaction. We didn't address the question of them one day moving toward nuclear weapons,” he also says. [Washington Post, 3/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger
          

December 6, 1975      US-Indonesia-East Timor (1965-2002)

       US President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meet with Indonesian president Suharto in Jakarta and give him tacit approval to invade and annex East Timor. Suharto complains that the integration of East Timor into Indonesia is being resisted by Communist sympathizers. According to declassified US Government documents, Suharto tells Ford and Kissinger, “We want your understanding if we deem it necessary to take rapid or drastic action.” Ford responds, “We will understand and will not press you on the issue.” Kissinger then advises Suharto not to take action until he and the president have returned to Washington. “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.” Kissinger explains. “We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens, happens after we return.” [CNN, 12/7/2001; Pilger, John. Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy.; BBC, 12/7/2001 Sources: Embassy Jakarta Telegram 1579 to Secretary State, 6 December 1975] The following day, Indonesia invades East Timor (see December 7, 1976)
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, Suharto, Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr
          

1976      US confrontation with Iran

       President Gerald R. Ford signs a presidential directive giving the Iranian government the opportunity to purchase a US-built nuclear reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. Iran, with support from the US, wants to develop a massive nuclear energy industry that has complete “nuclear fuel cycle” capability so fissile materials can be supplied self-sustaining basis. US companies, chief among them Westinghouse, stands to make $6.4 billion from the sale of six to eight nuclear reactors and parts. The shah has argued that Iran needs a nuclear energy program in order to meet Iran's growing energy demand. Iran is known to have massive oil and gas reserves, but the shah considers these finite reserves too valuable to be spent satisfying daily energy needs. In a 1975 strategy paper, the Ford administration supported this view saying that “introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals.” Top officials in the Ford administration—including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz, who is responsible for nonproliferation issues at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency—are strong supporters of Iran's ambitions. Kissinger will tell the Washington Post 30 years later that the Ford administration was not concerned about the possibility of Iran using the facilities to produce nuclear weapons. “I don't think the issue of proliferation came up,” he says. But Charles Naas, deputy US ambassador to Iran at this time, will tell the Post that nuclear experts had serious concerns about potential proliferation. Naas will explain that the administration was attracted to the nuclear deal “terms of commerce” and interested in maintaining good relations with the shah. [Washington Post, 3/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr, Henry A. Kissinger, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

December 7, 1976      US-Indonesia-East Timor (1965-2002)

       Indonesia invades and occupies the former Portuguese colony of East Timor. An estimated 200,000 people—roughly one-third of the country's population—will be killed in the violence and famine that follow. [Sojourner's Magazine, 9/1994; BBC, n.d.; Extra! 11/1993; Pilger, John. Death of a Nation: The Timor Conspiracy.] The invasion was tacitly approved in advance by US President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the day before during a meeting with Suharto.(see December 6, 1975)
People and organizations involved: Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr, Suharto, Henry A. Kissinger
          

September-October 1995: Unocal Obtains Turkmenistan Pipeline Deal      Complete 911 Timeline

       Oil company Unocal signs an $8 billion deal with Turkmenistan to construct two pipelines (one for oil, one for gas), as part of a larger plan for two pipelines intended to transport oil and gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Before proceeding further, however, Unocal needs to execute agreements with Pakistan and Afghanistan; Pakistan and Ahmed Shah Massoud's government in Afghanistan, however, have already signed a pipeline deal with an Argentinean company. Henry Kissinger, hired as speaker for a special dinner in New York to announce the Turkmenistan pipeline deal, says the Unocal plan represents a “triumph of hope over experience.” Unocal will later open an office in Kabul, weeks after the Taliban capture of the capital in late 1996 and will interact with the Taliban, seeking support for its pipeline until at least December 1997. [Coll, 2004, pp 301-13, 329, 338, 364-66]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Shah Massoud, Taliban, Unocal, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Henry A. Kissinger, Pakistan
          

September 19, 2001-September 20, 2001: Defense Policy Board Meets and Discusses Iraq      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Defense Policy Board (DPB) meets in secrecy in Rumsfeld's Pentagon conference room on September 19 and 20 for nineteen hours to discuss the option of taking military action against Iraq. [New York Times, 10/12/01] They also discuss how they might overcome some of the diplomatic and political pressures that would likely attempt to impede a policy of regime change in Iraq. [New York Times, 10/12/01] Among those attending the meeting are the 18 members of the Defense Policy Board, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Bernard Lewis, Ahmed Chalabi, and Chalabi's aide Francis Brooke. [New Yorker, 6/7/2004; Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 236; New York Times, 10/12/01] Secretary of State Colin Powell and other State Department officials in charge of US policy toward Iraq are not invited and are not informed of the meeting. A source will later tell the New York Times that Powell was irritated about not being briefed on the meeting. [New York Times, 10/12/01] During the seminar, two of Richard Perle's invited guests, Princeton professor Bernard Lewis and Ahmed Chalabi, the president of the Iraqi National Congress, are given the opportunity to speak. Lewis says that the US must encourage democratic reformers in the Middle East, “such as my friend here, Ahmed Chalabi.” Chalabi argues that Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists and asserts that Saddam's regime has weapons of mass destruction. [Vanity Fair, 5/04, pp 232] He also asserts “there'd be no resistance, no guerrilla warfare from the Baathists, and [it would be] a quick matter of establishing a government.” [New Yorker, 6/7/2004] Attendees write a letter to President Bush calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. “[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism,” the letter reads. The letter is published in the Washington Times on September 20 (see September 20, 2001) in the name of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a conservative think tank that believes the US needs to shoulder the responsibility for maintaining “peace” and “security” in the world by strengthening its global hegemony. [Project for a New American Century, 9/20/01; Manila Times, 7/19/03] Bush reportedly rejects the letter's proposal, as both Cheney and Powell agree that there is no evidence implicating Saddam Hussein in the attacks. [New York Times, 10/12/01 Sources: Unnamed senior administration officials and defense experts]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, James Woolsey, Adm. David E. Jeremiah, Ahmed Chalabi, Bernard Lewis, James R. Schlesinger, Dan Quayle, Harold Brown, Newt Gingrich, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, Defense Policy Board, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Francis Brooke
          

August 13, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger joins Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his advisors for a meeting. Describing the meeting, the New York Times reports three days later that they “have decided that they should focus international discussion on how Iraq would be governed after Mr. Hussein—not only in an effort to assure a democracy but as a way to outflank administration hawks and slow the rush to war, which many in the department oppose.” [New York Times, 8/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Henry A. Kissinger
          

November 27, 2002: Kissinger Named Chairman of New 9/11 Commission      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Henry Kissinger.
President Bush names Henry Kissinger as Chairman of the 9/11 Commission. Congressional Democrats appoint George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader and peace envoy to Northern Ireland and the Middle East, as vice chairman. Their replacements and the other eight members of the commission are chosen by mid-December. Kissinger served as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser for Presidents Nixon and Ford. [New York Times, 11/29/02] Kissinger's ability to remain independent is met with skepticism. [CNN, 11/30/02; Sydney Morning Herald, 11/29/02; Chicago Sun-Times, 12/13/02; Washington Post, 12/17/02; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/3/02] . He has a very controversial past. For instance, “Documents recently released by the CIA, strengthen previously-held suspicions that Kissinger was actively involved in the establishment of Operation Condor, a covert plan involving six Latin American countries including Chile, to assassinate thousands of political opponents.” He is also famous for an “obsession with secrecy.” [BBC, 4/26/02] It is even difficult for Kissinger to travel outside the US. Investigative judges in Spain, France, Chile, and Argentina seek to question him in several legal actions related to his possible involvement in war crimes, particularly in Latin America, Vietnam, Cambodia (see March 1969-1973), Laos (see 1969-1973), Bangladesh, Chile, and East Timor (see December 7, 1976). [BBC, 4/18/02; Village Voice, 8/15-21/01; Chicago Tribune, 12/1/02] The New York Times suggests, “Indeed, it is tempting to wonder if the choice of Mr. Kissinger is not a clever maneuver by the White House to contain an investigation it long opposed.” [New York Times, 11/29/02] The Chicago Tribune notes that “the president who appointed him originally opposed this whole undertaking.” Kissinger is “known more for keeping secrets from the American people than for telling the truth” and asking him “to deliver a critique that may ruin friends and associates is asking a great deal.” [Chicago Tribune, 12/5/02]
People and organizations involved: George Mitchell, 9/11 Commission, George W. Bush, Henry A. Kissinger
          

December 13, 2002: Kissinger Resigns from New 9/11 Commission      Complete 911 Timeline

       Henry Kissinger resigns as head of the new 9/11 Commission. [Associated Press, 12/13/02; Associated Press, 12/13/02] Two days earlier, the Bush administration argued that Kissinger was not required to disclose his private business clients. [New York Times, 12/12/02] However, the Congressional Research Service insists that he does, and Kissinger resigns rather than reveal his clients. [Seattle Times, 12/14/02; MSNBC, 12/13/02] It is reported that Kissinger is (or has been) a consultant for Unocal, the oil corporation, and was involved in plans to build pipelines through Afghanistan (see September-October 1995). [Salon, 12/3/02; Washington Post, 10/5/98] Kissinger claims he did no current work for any oil companies or Mideast clients, but several corporations with heavy investments in Saudi Arabia, such as ABB Group, a Swiss-Swedish engineering firm, and Boeing Corp., pay him consulting fees of at least $250,000 a year. A Boeing spokesman said its “long-standing” relationship with Kissinger involved advice on deals in East Asia, not Saudi Arabia. Boeing sold $7.2 billion worth of aircraft to Saudi Arabia in 1995. [Newsweek, 12/15/02] In a surprising break from usual procedures regarding high-profile presidential appointments, White House lawyers never vetted Kissinger for conflicts of interest. [Newsweek, 12/15/02] The Washington Post says that after the resignations of Kissinger and Mitchell, the commission “has lost time” and “is in disarray, which is no small trick given that it has yet to meet.” [Washington Post, 12/14/02]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger, Bush administration, Congressional Research Service, 9/11 Commission
          

Mid-February 2003-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Bush administration quietly sends US diplomats to meet with the top officials of several UN Security Council member states in an attempt to influence their vote on any future resolutions on Iraq. A US diplomat tells the Associated Press, “The order from the White House was to use ‘all diplomatic means necessary,’ and that really means everything.”
Mexico - Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Kim Holmes, the assistant secretary of state for international organizations, are sent to Mexico City, where they encounter stiff resistance. The American diplomats reportedly warn Mexican officials, “Any country that doesn't go along with us will be paying a very heavy price.” Henry Kissinger also makes a trip to Mexico warning its officials that the Bush administration would be “very unhappy” if Mexico opposes the US at the UN. Towards the end of the month, US Ambassador Tony Garza says that Congress might attempt to punish Mexico economically if it fails to support the US position at the UN. [The Washington Post, 3/1/03; Associated Press, 2/24/03 Sources: Unnamed Mexican diplomat] A Mexican diplomat describes the pressure as “very intense” and adds that “the warnings are real” and having an impact on Mexican President Vincent Fox. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar also visits Mexico, but fails to get its support for a second resolution. [Associated Press, 2/24/03 Sources: Unnamed Mexican diplomat] Mexico proves to be one of the most difficult countries to win over to the US side because there is “little the Bush administration [can] use to scare or entice Mexico now since it does not receive US aid and the one thing it had wanted most—legalizing the status of undocumented Mexicans in the United States—was taken off the table more than one year ago.” Additionally, the Mexican congress, its news media, and 75% of the Mexican population are strongly opposed to an invasion of Iraq. Even more threatening to US hopes for a second resolution is a pact between Mexico and Chile. The two governments agreed that each will abstain if the US, Britain, France, Russia and China fail to come to an agreement. Commenting on the deal, a Chilean diplomat tells the Associated Press, “We're just not going to be used or bought off by either side.” But James R. Jones, a former US ambassador to Mexico, predicts that Fox will likely capitulate to Mexican business interests, which are dependent on a close relationship with the US. “If Mexico is not going to be good neighbors politically, it's going to hurt them economically,” he says. [The Washington Post, 3/1/03; Associated Press, 2/26/03; Associated Press, 2/24/03]
Angola, Guinea and Cameroon - On February 24, US Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner meets with Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda. Speaking of Angola's relationship with the US, Angolan Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins tells the Associated Press, “For a long time now, we have been asking for help to rebuild our country after years of war,” and adds, “No one is tying the request to support on Iraq but it is all happening at the same time.” A US diplomat tells the news service, “In Africa, the message is simple: time is running out and we think they should support us.” [Associated Press, 2/24/03] A major issue for Guinea and Cameroon is the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives African exporters preferential access to American markets. The act stipulates that beneficiaries must not “engage in activities that undermine US national security or foreign policy interests.” Angola is not currently eligible for the benefits provided under AGOA because of political corruption and its poor human rights record. But the US is considering overlooking these abuses in exchange for supporting its policy on Iraq. [Times, 3/8/03]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Walter Kansteiner, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Marc Grossman, Jose Maria Aznar, Kim Holmes, Henry A. Kissinger, James R. Jones
          

April 14, 2005      US confrontation with Iran

       Speaking at a forum on Middle East peace sponsored by The Week magazine, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warns that if Iran succeeds in building nuclear weapons it could touch off an arms race that could lead to the end of civilization. “I do not believe that living in a world with 20 or 30 nuclear states is a situation that civilized life can support,” he says. [New York Daily News, 4/15/2005] But during the 1970s, Kissinger and other US officials had supported Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear energy program (see 1976 and April 22, 1975). At the time, they were not concerned about the potential for Iran to use the technology to develop nuclear weapons. Nor were they concerned about proliferation. Kissinger told the Washington Post in March that he didn't “think the issue of proliferation came up.” [Washington Post, 3/27/2005]
People and organizations involved: Henry A. Kissinger
          

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