German-born US diplomat. After a brilliant academic career at Harvard University, he was appointed national security adviser in 1969 by President Nixon, and was secretary of state 1973–77. His missions to the USSR and China improved US relations with both countries, and he took part in negotiating US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973 and in Arab-Israeli peace negotiations 1973–75. He shared the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1973 with North Vietnamese diplomat Le Duc Tho for their efforts in securing the peace settlement of the Vietnam War.
His secret trips to Beijing and Moscow led to Nixon's visits to both countries and a general détente. In 1976 he was involved in the negotiations in Africa arising from the Angola and Rhodesia crises. In 1983, President Reagan appointed him to head a bipartisan commission on Central America. He was widely regarded as the most powerful member of Nixon's administration.
Born at Furth in Bavaria, Kissinger emigrated to the USA in 1938. After work in Germany for army counter-intelligence, he won a scholarship to Harvard, and subsequently became a government consultant. With his book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1956), he emerged as an authority on foreign affairs, advising presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Kissinger was professor of government at Harvard 1962–69. His other publications include The Necessity for Choice (1961), The Troubled Partnership (1965), American Foreign Policy, and his autobiography World Restored (1973).
In February 2002, tapes and more than 20,000 pages of notes of Kissinger's telephone calls made while he was national security adviser to President Nixon were released to the US National Archives.