Cabinet Shuffle -- Secretary of State

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White House: Albright's Roots No Bar To Mideast Role


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Feb. 4) -- Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright's newly discovered Jewish origins should have no effect on her role in the Middle East peace process, the White House said today.

White House spokesman Michael McCurry said Albright spoke with President Bill Clinton on Monday about new genealogical information she has received about her family, and the president encouraged Albright to delve further into her family history.

McCurry noted, though, that Americans of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths are participating in the search for peace in the Mideast, and Albright's roots should not affect her position as a key U.S. player in the peace process.

The Washington Post reported today that in researching an upcoming profile of Albright, it discovered that more than a dozen of her relatives, including three grandparents, were killed as Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Albright, who was raised as a Roman Catholic and became an Episcopalian at the time of her marriage, called the new information "fairly compelling" but said she wanted to do some more research.

Albright left Czechoslovakia with her family when she was just 2 years old, immediately after the Nazi occupation began. She told The Post her parents never spoke to her about what had happened to their relatives left behind. They only said they died during the war, Albright said.

Albright said after she was nominated in December, she began to receive letters from people who claimed to have known her family. Some forwarded copies of birth certificates.

"I started to think about it, and to put pieces together," Albright said. "There was more and more information, and it began to make more sense to me."

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