Nixon, Truman, and FDR’s Private Thoughts About Jews

August 30, 2013 6:50 am 19 comments

FDR. Photo: Frank O. Salisbury.

JNS.orgThe latest tapes of President Richard M. Nixon’s private conversations reveal a number of anti-Semitic remarks made by the president. This is not particularly surprising, since previously released tapes also contained hostile comments about Jews by Nixon. But one remark in the latest tapes stands out. Discussing potential judicial nominees with an aide, Nixon said, “No Jews. Is that clear? We’ve got enough Jews. Now if you find some Jew that I think is great, put him on there.”

How could the president make disparaging remarks about Jews and instruct that they be excluded as nominees, and then, in the same breath, declare that he would accept a Jew “that I think is great” (presumably one whose political and social views mirrored Nixon’s)? How could he harbor such apparent dislike of Jews in general, yet feel perfectly comfortable embracing a certain kind of Jew?

There were, in fact, a number of Jews in Nixon’s inner circle, from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to legal counsel Leonard Garment.

One finds a similar phenomenon with regard to several earlier presidents. A previously unknown diary by Harry Truman, discovered in 2003, revealed that he harbored harsh feelings about Jews. Incensed when former Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. called him about the plight of the refugee ship Exodus in 1947, Truman wrote in his diary, “He [had] no business, whatever to call me. The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgment on world affairs… The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[erson]s as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog.”

Yet Truman, like Nixon, also had a number of Jewish friends and aides, such as his lifelong friend and business partner, Eddie Jacobson, and senior White House advisers David Niles and Max Lowenthal.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s privately expressed views on Jews were not all that different from Nixon’s. While Nixon worried about having too many Jews among judicial nominees, Roosevelt once told his cabinet—according to the account of Treasury Secretary Morgenthau—that there were “too many Jews among federal employees in Oregon.”

In a similar vein, President Roosevelt told French military leaders at the Casablanca Conference in 1943 that “the number of Jews engaged in the practice of the professions” in liberated North Africa “should be definitely limited,” lest there be a recurrence of “the understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany…”

Prof. Leonard Dinnerstein, who has studied Roosevelt’s appointees, writes, “Of his 192 judicial appointments, seven went to Jews,” which was nearly identical to the number chosen by his three Republican predecessors in the White House. Moreover, “The number of Jews employed in policymaking positions in the Departments of State, War, Navy, and Commerce, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Tariff Commission, and the Board of Tax Appeals [under Roosevelt] could probably be counted on one’s fingers and toes.”

And FDR rejected a proposal to name his economic adviser Benjamin Cohen assistant secretary of the treasury because he feared it would constitute too much Jewish representation in that department.

Yet Roosevelt, like Truman and Nixon after him, embraced individual Jews when their talents and expertise proved useful—so long as they did not press him on Jewish issues. As a result, the Jews in Roosevelt’s White House seldom mentioned Jewish concerns. To a friend who urged Cohen to ask FDR about European Jewry, Cohen replied (in 1940), “I don’t feel that I should push myself into Jewish matters where the skipper does not ask my advice.”

There were exceptions, of course. Morgenthau belatedly, and under pressure from his (non-Jewish) staff, went to the president about the plight of Europe’s Jews. Niles and Lowenthal actively pressured Truman to support the creation of Israel.

But more typical was Kissinger, who—according to a tape released several years ago—advised Nixon in 1973 that even “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern.” That was exactly the kind of counsel Nixon preferred to receive from his Jewish advisers.

Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C.  His latest book is “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.”


  • Regardless of FDR’s social ties, the bottom line is his lack of action about using the military to stop at least some of the Holocaust. He knew very well (from both British and American sources with documentation) about the atrocities being committed. Both he and Churchill refused to take direct action to stop the annihilation when it was very feasible to do so.

  • Modern Ketubah is sometimes lacking in originality and tradition, hand-written ketubah is so hard to find!

  • Rabbi Shoah Levi

    The Morgenthau Plan for Germany was presented to Franklin Roosevelt by his treasury secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. George Patton said in his diary that the idea was presented to Morgenthau by Dwight D. Eisenhower during a visit to Patton’s camp in France a few weeks after D-Day based on a book written in 1941 by Theodore N. Kaufman entitled “Germany Must Perish!”

    The Morgenthau Plan was the reason that millions of Germans, both prisoners of war and German civilians, were slaughtered on Eisenhower’s orders in the months and years following World War II. It was the reason that German industry was dismantled and taken to the Soviet Union. It was the reason that German children and adults were put through Jewish brainwashing to hate themselves and obey the Jews. It was all in the plan, all based on Kaufman’s vicious little book.

    • Joseph Williams M.D.

      You are not a Rabbi.I wish your delusional statements were true. In my opinion, any suffering the German people suffered after causing the deaths of 10s of millions could never be enough. Morgenthau’s Plan was a great idea.

      • There never was a manicale plan to kill Jews..that is a lie..

        European leaders..and Hitler..just wanted them out of their countries..and ship them to MADAGASCAR..and force them to staythere..because they ALWAYS do so much damage to peoples countries as they infiltrate…and then genocide the people..





        they are not our friends…and never will be because of the sick ravings of the Babylon Talmud…aka the TEACHINGS OF BABYLON

        Jesus told the Pharisees that their TEACHINGS make to laws of God of no effect

        In Judaism..all non Jews are deemed as BEASTS…therefore..stealing or murdering a beast is acceptable as in Judaism..were not humans..

        THE BABYLON TALMUD should be burned and forgotten..Through that religion..the peoples of the earth have been ‘SLAIN’

        REVELATION 18:24

    • ‘Shoah’ is not a genuine Hebrew name, just as your post is not genuine.

  • We all heard about Watergate, but who illegally wire tapped Richard Nixon and Billy Graham speaking privately?

  • Elsewhere on the internet, Richard J. Garfunkel has described himself as “a collector of FDR memorabilia” who owns “over 5000 pieces, that include buttons, books, pictures, campaign literature and ephemera of every imaginable type.” This passion, he says, has occupied him “for over 50 years” and he has even “developed a lecture called ‘FDR the Collector, and Collecting FDR.’ ” He is, in short, quite a fan.
    (see )

    A fan understandably does not respond well to criticism of the object of his adoration. In this case, Mr. Garfunkel agrees that Richard Nixon’s remark about not wanting to have too many Jews among his judicial appointees shows Nixon “was a sick and obviously paranoid person,” while Franklin D. Roosevelt’s similar remark is explained away by Mr. Garfunkel on the grounds that “every American, at one time or another has made pejorative remark about someone or some group.”

    The most important question regarding President Roosevelt’s attitude toward Jews is, of course, how he responded to the plight of Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler. On this subject, Mr. Garfunkel offers only one comment: “By the way half the immigrants to the USA from 1933-8 were Jewish.” Evidently his point is to suggest that FDR admitted a substantial number of Jewish refugees. But the percentage of immigrants who were Jewish tells us nothing about the total number who were admitted–or who could have been admitted.

    Here are the actual numbers:

    The U.S. immigration system –which Roosevelt inherited from the Herbert Hoover administration, but then made much harsher– limited the number of German Jews admitted during the Nazi years to 25,957 annually (27,370 after the Anschluss). But that quota was almost never allowed to be filled. In 1933, only 1,375 immigrants from Germany were admitted (about 5% of the quota). In 1934, it was 3,556; in 1935, it was 5,243; and so on. The quota from Germany was filled in only one of FDR’s twelve years in office, and in most of those years it was less than 25% filled. This was because the Roosevelt administration piled on extra requirements to discourage and disqualify would-be immigrants.

    For example, there were instances in which an applicant showed the U.S. Consulate in Berlin a copy of his Jewish marriage certificate (his ketubah) but was unable to secure his civil marriage certificate from an uncooperative Nazi bureaucrat. The Consulate refused to recognize the validity of the Jewish certificate and therefore considered the applicant’s children to be illegitimate. Having illegitimate children disqualified the applicant on the grounds of “moral character.”

    Another example: as of 1941, merely having a close relative in Europe was enough to disqualify an applicant. That was because Roosevelt administration officials concocted a theory that the Nazis could threaten the relative and thereby force the immigrant to become a spy for Hitler. No instances of such forced-espionage were ever actually uncovered; but that didn’t stop the administration from using that harebrained theory as a way to choke off Jewish refugee immigration.

    President Roosevelt could have admitted many more immigrants without having to ask Congress to liberalize the entire immigration system. Nor did he have to initiate a public debate over the contentious issue of immigration. All he had to do was quietly instruct the State Department to allow the existing quotas to be filled. During the years 1933 to 1945, a total of more than 190,000 quota places from Germany and other Axis countries sat unused. Those were 190,000 lives that could have been saved if FDR had simply given the word to his State Department.

    Telling us that President Roosevelt had a number of Jewish friends or appointees does not change the historical fact that the president and his administration deliberately went above and beyond the immigration laws in order to keep Jewish refugees out of America. “Some of his best friends were Jews” is not a persuasive argument.

    Dr. Rafael Medoff
    The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
    Washington, D.C.

    • Roosevelt…Eisenhower..and Truman were all Jewish..Along with the Bushes….Clinton married to a Jewess…Lyndon Banes Johnson..also well as Obama..whos mother was a Jewess..

      Weve had almost all Jews for president for quite some time now



      Things like the NDAA…which can permit the same thing as the SOVIET PURGES…



      See how Roosevelt..a Jew himself…worked in collusion with his brethern in the Federal Reserve

      They have made it a crime to expose these people..Its time to not worry about that…and expose the take over of the American Jews.

      No nativities allowed at the White House at Christmas

      Only that 90 foot tall Jewish 9 branched non scriptural MENORAH..AND THAT DREDLE…ARE ALLOWED IN WASHINGTON DC proving a Jewish take over of our nation




      CHEKA in yiddish means ANIMAL SLAUGHTER…and all non JEWS ARE CONSIDERED ACCORDING TO THE BABYLON TALMUD…TO BE BEASTS…CATTLE…and it teaches that even the best of us should be killed



      • Tess, where is your evidence that Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Johnson, Bush and Obama were Jewish? If you have evidence place it in the public domain, please. Here I was believing the presidents were Martians disguised as humans!

  • Commander Goyim And His Lost Sheeple Airmen

    FDR was a JEW! Dutch.

  • Dear Mr. Garfunkel,

    I knew that FDR and Churchill wanted an unconditional surrender and rejected every negotiation with Canaris/ von Stauffenberg in 1943. But I had no clue why.
    Great piece of information.
    As for Richard Nixon, did you know that Golda Meir acknowledged that he saved Israel in 1973?

  • “They put the Jewish interest above America’s interest and it’s about goddamn time that the Jew in America realizes he’s an American first and a Jew second.”
    -R Nixon

    Did alot for israel:

    Nixon – overriding inter-administration objections and bureaucratic inertia – implemented a breathtaking transfer of arms. During a 32-day period beginning October 14, jumbo U.S. military aircraft touched down in Israel 567 times, delivering some 22,300 tons of material. This enabled Israel to reverse its earlier setbacks, surround the Egyptians in the Sinai, and advance deep into Syrian territory.

  • Fascinating. I totally bought Medoff’s understanding until I read Garfunkel’s rebuttal, where at I changed my mind, certainly with regard to FDR, who was, for his time, progressive, rational, though far from ideal.
    A problem is that if, shall we say an FDR, or an Obama, sees Jews on the planet the same way he sees every other group or people, which is what we say we want, then FDR/Obama will allow Jews to be slaughtered like Christians are in Nigeria, or gays are in Iran, or Tutsi were in ????, in what was a real, if smaller, holocaust and so forth. In reality, I want FDR/Obama to do a great deal more and take such deaths seriously and attempt to stop the murder, somehow. Which makes for a noisy me, a noisy pushy us, attempting to save lives. Jewish lives because that particular sector of humanity is my/our particular warrant. Of course Jews care about all humanity, as do Sikhs and Bahai and gay men, tbough our most thorough focus is often on our particular communities.
    My amazement is that Christians are not pressing hard, making lots of ‘ noise ‘ about the low level continuing annihilation of Christians in various Muslim dominant communities. My amazement is that gays, happy to stop drinking coke to protest the upcoming Russian Olympics, have avoided the real work of making ‘ noise’ about countries like Iran where they are being judicially murdered and other places where their lives are marked.
    My amazement is that there are not huge vocal womens’ organizations causing massive waves about women being stoned to death in Iran now and likely Afghanistan again, about women without rights to their own lives in societies like the Saudi.

  • More bull-tickie by notorious FDR hater Madoff. His facts on FDR are always skewed to his own purpose. FDR had more Jews appointed to high positions than almost all the presidents in history. Over 15% of his appointments, which total was equal to the first 31 presidents combined and all the presidents, combined until Bill Clinton. As usual, the quotes are taken out of context, and in the millions of documents, thousands of letters and unlimited amount of conversations he had with countless people, these are the two examples? I would like to have been a fly on the wall when Madoff was talking privately. Every American, at one time or another has made a pejorative remark about someone or some group. Truman married a family of anti-Semites and was no particular friend of Jews. His daughter wrote that Eddie Jacobson, who my grandfather knew quite well, was his employee. Of course, that was not true. But Truman at least grew in office and at least recognized the State of Israel. Nixon was a sick and obviously paranoid person, who never was close to Jews, but Leonard Garment, Murray Chotiner,William Safire and Henry Kissinger all carried water for him. Maybe they liked the power. As for FDR, the amount of Jews who worked for him is long and he resisted the impulses of his class and generation.

    He may have been raised by people who had class prejudices, but whose bias never extended to different races, ethnicities and religions. Sara never opposed him going to Columbia Law School which was approximately 30% Jewish, wherein Harvard was only 6% Jewish. (Sara and Eleanor, Jan Pottker, St.Martin’s Press, 2004, page 110.) Recently much has been written about the exclusion of Jews from the elite Ivy League schools. The efforts of Columbia’s long-time President Nicholas Murray Butler to limited Jews through a quota system came after FDR’s time there. In fact until the “Jewish Quota” came into almost universal use, the amount of Jews at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia continued to rise. See “Stand Columbia” and “The Chosen” for references to that history.

    Franklin grew up in a home with people who were products of the mid 19th century, but neither his father James, who was born in 1828, nor his mother Sara who was born in 1854, (1854-1941) exhibited any overt racial or religious prejudice. The senior Mr. James Roosevelt (1828-1900) dealt with Jews through his business interests and Jews were welcomed in his home. In 1933 Sara Roosevelt asked her friend New York Judge Benjamin Greenspan (famous for ruling in favor of the publication of the book G-d’s Little Acre) if she could attend an Orthodox Jewish service with his four children. She went and was “so thrilled and talked and talked about it, and the sincere piety shown by his children.” (Sara and Eleanor, page 288.) When some of her old acquaintances criticized her “for the type of people” she knew, her answer was “Oh, dear, I suppose I should change my ways and learn to be a snob.” (Sara and Eleanor, page 304.)

    In April of 1938 Sara humbly accepted the Einstein Medal for Humanitarianism, given by the Jewish Forum in honor of her broad sympathy and activities in alleviating the conditions of all people throughout the world who suffer from poverty, oppression and hatred” (Sara and Eleanor page 309.) Later in October of 1938 Sara Roosevelt became active in the effort to save German Jews and was in direct contract with the Women of the League for the Honor of Israel, regarding getting more orphaned Jews into the United States.

    In 1940 for the second year in a row, Sara attended the large mother-daughter Hadassah tea for the purpose of aiding Palestine projects, including the resettlement off Jews escaping from Germany and Poland. Hadassah planted 700 trees in the Sara Delano Roosevelt Grove with monies from the previous event. Hadassah was able to resettle over 250,000 Jews and created orphanages to care for 9000 children. Among the many people attending the tea were her biographer and confidant Rita Kleeman, a Jewish woman and several members of the Warburg family and the mother of George Gershwin. She gave money to many organizations including the National Jewish Hospital. She was guest of honor at a dinner in 1940 of Youth Aliyah, which supported the transport of Jewish children to Palestine, and then at age 85 she traveled to Ontario to address the Toronto Hadassah meeting. (Sara and Eleanor, Jan Pottker) Right up until her death in 1941 she was concerned about the problems of refugee Jews in Europe.

    As part of this his administration, he called upon Felix Frankfurter, of the Harvard Law School to start sending young lawyers down to Washington to staff the emerging New Deal. Roosevelt used many of the young Jewish lawyers, labor leaders and intellectuals to change the face and direction of government. People like Herbert Wechsler, David Reisman, Robert Stern, Paul Freund, Milton Katz, Milton Freeman. Charles Kaufman, Arthur Goldschmidt, Wilbur Cohen, Edward Bernstein, Abe Fortas, Dorothy Rosenmen, Jerome Frank, David Lilienthal, Isador Lubin, Nathan Margold, Lee Pressman and Paul Herzog among many others became famous as Felix’s hotdogs.

    FDR also leaned on his strong relationship with Jews throughout his whole political life: Bernard Baruch, Henry Morgenthau Jr, his Secretary of Treasury, David Niles, Anna Rosenberg (1902-83, Assistant Secretary of Defense 1950, first woman to reach that level at the Defense Department), Herbert Lehman, (1878-1963). Lt.Governor and Governor of New York, (1929-32, 1933-42) later US Senator, (1949-57) and the aforementioned Frankfurter, Ben Cohen, and Judge Rosenman.

    Franklin Roosevelt was a confirmed “German-hater.” He told the NY Times in August 1944 “if I had my way, I would keep Germany on a breadline for 25 years!” He wrote Cordell Hull, (1871-1955, US Secretary of State 1933-44) “Every person in Germany should realize that this time Germany is a defeated nation… and that the whole nation has been engaged in a lawless conspiracy against the decency of modern civilization.” It was FDR who advocated, against the wishes of Winston Churchill (1874-1965) the policy of “unconditional surrender” and a tough peace. He said that Germany should be dismembered and their leaders punished. Roosevelt never rejected the “Morgenthau Plan” that called for the economic destruction of post-war Germany, authored by Henry M. Morgenthau. Even when Secretary of War Stimson (1867-1950, US Secretary of War 1940-45) took a softer line and complained about its brutality to the President, he found FDR unwavering in its support, for the concept of a destroyed industrial state, surviving only on agriculture. Whether the plan was sensible or not, or whether the plan was even viable, Truman scrapped the plan and accused Morgenthau of Jewish vindictiveness.

    Madoff has no concept of the history of that time, the forces aligned against FDR, the growing anti-Semitism in America and strength of Lindbergh, the American First group of isolationist. It was FDR who used his influence to silence Father Coughlin, it was FDR who sought ways to re-settle Jews from Germany. Read Breitman and Lichtman’s new book, “FDR and the Jews” and learn the real truth. Was he perfect, no! But, he did more than any other leader for the Jews? By far, yes! By the way half the immigrants to the USA from 1933-8 were Jewish.

    As long as Madoff spews his insinuations, out of context statements and unfounded assertions, I’ll answer with the truth.

    Richard J. Garfunkel

    • Thank you, I too had a skewed view of Mr. Roosevelt. I’ll follow your lead and read a little more.

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