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Obama to apologize to Guatemala head on experiment

The Associated Press
Friday, October 1, 2010; 2:10 PM

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama plans to call Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom to personally apologize over a disclosure that American scientists deliberately infected Guatemalan prisoners with syphilis decades ago.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday that the news was "shocking, it's tragic, it's reprehensible."

Obama's spokesman said: "The United States by all means apologizes to all of those that were impacted." He said the president had been briefed and intended to speak with the Guatemalan leader to "personally express that apology."

The 1946 experiment was unearthed by a Wellesley College medical historian. It apparently was conducted to test the effectiveness of penicillin.

© 2010 The Associated Press