Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger

Kissinger Men of the Year“The national-security adviser regularly ridiculed his chief’s intellect and ability. ‘You tell our meatball President I’ll be there in a few minutes,’ he once snapped to a secretary who had summoned him to a meeting with Nixon. ‘Wasn’t our leader magnificent on that,’ Kissinger said sarcastically of Nixon’s early public statements on the war in Vietnam. The President deserved a B-plus or a C or even a C-minus, he would say. But to the President’s face Kissinger offered only high praise.

He instructed one of his National Security Council aides, John Cort, to prepare a briefing book on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for the President. When he received it, Kissinger said that it was brilliant, but that it must be simplified because Nixon wouldn’t understand it. ‘Don’t ever write anything more complicated than a Reader’s Digest article for Nixon,’ he directed.”

The Final Days, Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein, Martin Secker & Warburg Limited, 1976.

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