Henry Kissinger (left) and Kenneth Bialkin
Photos by Tim Boxer

Godfather of Diplomacy

WHEN HENRY KISSINGER became secretary of state, he found himself frequently at odds with The New York Times. He'd complain to then-editor A.M. Rosenthal, who was always sympathetic.

"Tell me what's wrong," Rosenthal would say, "and we'll investigate. If we're wrong, we'll fix it."

"For two days I felt good," Kissinger related at the American Jewish Historical Society dinner at the Pierre Hotel. "Of course, they never admitted they were wrong."

A.M. Rosenthal (left) and Ephraim Propp

Wall Street broker Ephraim Propp told Kissinger's towering wife Nancy, "I know why Henry married you - he needed someone he could look up to."

AJHS president Kenneth Bialkin presented Kissinger with the group's Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award, while Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman noted that the elder statesman "is not as smart as God is, but as smart as God was at his age."

Among the guests who came to praise the diplomatic godfather were Barbara Walters, Elie Wiesel, Beverly Sills, Isaac Stern and his ex-wife Vera Stern (but not together), Jeff Wiesenfeld, Malcolm Hoenlein, Erica Jesselson, Norman Podhoretz, Bruce Slovin and Ahmet Ertegun.

Barbara Walters

Sills sang a parody to the guest of honor: "I'm wild about Henry, and Henry's wild about - Nancy!"

"I've never heard Beverly sing," Walters declared, "since she retired from the Metropolitan Opera 20 years ago."

The ABC newswoman said she once asked Kissinger, "How do you feel being named the sexiest man in Washington?"

"I love it," he replied. "Now when I bore people, they think it's their fault."

Isaac Stern

Kissinger's new book, Years of Renewal (Simon & Schuster), is 1,151 pages long. He said he went to a party for Rosenthal's wife, Shirley Lord, who'd written a novel, Crasher. He told her, "My book would be just as thin as yours if I took out all the I's."


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