"Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of States, has apologised for his remark in 1973 that it would not be an American concern if the Soviet Union sent its Jews to the gas chambers.
Mr Kissinger's comment was made in a recorded conversation with President Richard Nixon that was only released recently. During the conversation, he was heard saying: "The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern."
Mr Kissinger, 87, apologised in a Washington Post opinion article, saying that "references to gas chambers have no place in political discourse, and I am sorry I made that remark 37 years ago".
The transcript of the recording created consternation among Jewish groups because Mr Kissinger is a German-born Jew who fled the Nazis as a child and is regarded as a staunchly pro-Israel figure.
But Mr Kissinger argued that his comment was taken out of context and stated that the Nixon administration had managed to help many Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union.
I am inclined to side with Kissinger on this. He was clearly setting out the Realpolitik (political "realism") position -- which focuses on interests to the exclusion of morality. And he did immediately add that other, humanitarian, considerations could influence any actual policy decision.