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Saturday, 2 March, 2002, 03:05 GMT
Graham regrets Jewish slur
Billy Graham
Billy Graham has "spent his life building bridges"
The Reverend Billy Graham has apologised for a taped conversation with former President Nixon in which he said the Jewish "stranglehold" of the media was ruining the United States and must be broken.

This stranglehold has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain

Billy Graham to Richard Nixon
The remarks came in 500 hours of tapes Nixon had secretly recorded during the first six months of 1972 which have now been released by the US National Archives.

"Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon some 30 years ago," Mr Graham said in a statement released by his Texas public relations firm.

Former US President Richard Nixon's tape recorder
Nixon had hundreds of conversations taped
"They do not reflect my views and I sincerely apologise for any offence caused by the remarks," he said, adding that he had spent his life building bridges between Jews and Christians.

In the taped conversation, Mr Graham said the Jewish "stranglehold" on the media "has got to be broken or this country's going down the drain".

"You believe that?" Nixon replies.

"Yes, sir."

"Oh boy. So do I. I can't ever say that but I believe it," Nixon says.

"If you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something," Mr Graham replies.

A lot of Jews are great friends of mine, but they don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country

Billy Graham to Richard Nixon
Later in the conversation, when Nixon raises the subject of Jewish influence in Hollywood, Mr Graham says:

"A lot of Jews are great friends of mine. They swarm around me and are friendly to me, because they know that I am friendly to Israel and so forth, but they don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country, and I have no power and no way to handle them."

Nixon, who became friends with Mr Graham in the 1950s during his time as vice president in the Eisenhower administration, then advises: "You must not let them know."

See also:

28 Feb 02 | Americas
Tapes shed light on Nixon era
28 Feb 02 | Americas
Remembering 1972
20 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Flashback: Nixon in China
29 Aug 00 | Americas
Nixon 'was on drugs'
02 Dec 98 | The big picture
Echoes of Nixon
01 Mar 02 | Americas
Revelations and gaps on Nixon tapes
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