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As Henry Kissinger turns 100, DOMINIC SANDBROOK examines his extraordinary life


The year was 1974, and in Washington DC Richard Nixon, crippled by scandal, was about to become the first U.S. president to resign. As the end approached, he called his vice president, Gerald Ford, to the Oval Office, to give him some last-minute advice.

At all costs, Nixon said, Ford must keep Henry Kissinger as his Secretary of State. ‘Henry is a genius,’ he said. ‘He’ll be very loyal, but you can’t let him have a totally free hand.’

Later, Nixon was more forthright. ‘Ford has just got to realise there are times when Henry has to be kicked in the nuts,’ he told an aide. ‘Because sometimes…



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