Ken Khachigian: The Armenian who wrote speeches for Nixon and Reagan

Presidential speech writer Ken Khachigian was a guest at the Men’s Forum of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in Pasadena on January 30, Massis Post reports.

During a lecture titled “Behind the Scenes with President Reagan,” Mr. Khachigian said that he was not a speech writer, rather a speech collaborator, as the drafts that he presented to the President were edited before a final draft was prepared.

He said that his involvement with politics and political campaigns had started with a letter sent to Presidential candidate Richard Nixon in 1967, requesting to volunteer in his campaign, and the rest is history. His experience working for Mr. Nixon then led to his career work in 9 presidential campaigns. He has served in the White House for 3 U.S. Presidents and was instrumental in guiding George Deukmejian to victory as Governor of the State of California.

One of Mr. Khachigian’s most memorable achievements, as a chief speech writer, senior political adviser, and special consultant to President Reagan, was the “Holocaust Proclamation,” signed by the President on April 22, 1981. It says, “Like the Genocide of the Armenians before it, and the Genocide of the Cambodians which followed it – and the too many other such persecutions of too many other people – the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”

Mr. Khachigian admitted that he had cleared this speech with two senior members of the National Security Agency before presenting it to the President. Such measures were necessary, he noted, to make sure that there were no international political repercussions harmful to the United States.

In the course of his professional work with President Reagan, Mr. Khachigian was a frequent visitor of Camp David. He also once visited the President’s famous Santa Barbara ranch, which President Reagan used for rest and relaxation.

During the question and answer session that followed the lecture, Mr. Khachigian anticipated one question raised by a member of the audience and answered right away, saying; no, I was not the author of the famous line “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall.”

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