RONALD REAGAN once described African delegates to the UN as ‘monkeys’ in a call with then-president Richard Nixon, newly unearthed tapes have revealed.
The outburst, in 1971, came a day after the UN had voted to recognise China and expel Taiwan from the organisation.
Mr Reagan, who was the Republican governor of California at the time, was angry that African delegates had sided against the US in the vote.
In a phone call to the White House, he said: ‘To see those… monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!’
Mr Nixon, who quit as president in 1974, can be heard laughing.
The recordings have been published in The Atlantic magazine by Tim Naftali, a former director of the Nixon presidential library and clinical associate professor of history at New York University. He said the tape was initially published in 2000, when Mr Reagan was still alive, but the racist portion was withheld to protect his privacy.
‘I requested conversations involving Ronald Reagan be re-reviewed and, two weeks ago, the National Archives released complete versions,’ he added.
Mr Naftali also reported Mr Nixon later told his secretary of state that Mr Reagan, who served as US president from 1981 to 1989, had described the Tanzanian UN delegation as ‘cannibals’ who ‘weren’t even wearing shoes’.
Mr Naftali said the tapes ‘shed new light’ on the stance Mr Reagan took to defend the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa in the 1970s.
Mr Reagan died in 2004, aged 93, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.