Published: Fri, August 02, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Reagan Calls African UN Delegates ‘Monkeys’ in Racist Call to Nixon

Reagan Calls African UN Delegates ‘Monkeys’ in Racist Call to Nixon

The tape that's getting the most attention today is a 12 minute and five second recording of Nixon and then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan from October 26, 1971.

In what appears to be a vendetta against Africans who voted in support of China's membership of the United Nations, ex-President Ronald Reagan has been uncovered as having referred to African delegates to the UN as "monkeys" who feel "uncomfortable wearing shoes".

The previously undisclosed change took place after the United Nations voted to expel Taiwan to be able to seat representatives from Beijing, a move that the USA opposed.

"Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did", Reagan said.

He made the comment in a 1971 telephone call with then-President Richard Nixon.

The recordings were resurfaced by NYU professor Tim Naftali, who served as director of the Nixon Presidential Library from 2007 to 2011.

It was not until late 2018 that the National Archives began a more in-depth review of the earliest Nixon tapes, as Reagan's death in 2004 meant all privacy concerns were void.

But he mentioned the recordings contain been ordered to be reviewed following a courtroom direct. "Reagan's demise, in 2004, eradicated the privateness issues", Mr Naftali mentioned. "It was the combination of the slur by Reagan and then Nixon's repeating it, not once but twice in later conversations".

He details how Nixon "used Reagan's call as an excuse to adapt his language to make the same point to others", first calling Secretary of State William Rogers to talk about Reagan's distaste for the "cannibals" (Nixon's word), which he described as a "typical" American reaction.

Reagan made this comment in 1971 while serving as governor of California, newly-unearthed tapes released by a USA magazine, The Atlantic, have shown.

Mr Reagan, who was the Republican governor of California at the time, was angry that African delegates had sided against the United States in the vote. "Reagan's racism appears to be documented only once on the Nixon tapes, and never in his own diaries", Naftali writes.

The remarks, which date back to a conversation from 1971, came to light after The Atlantic obtained the audio from a taped recording of the exchange. "And he had convinced himself that it wasn't racist to think black people, as a group, were inferior to whites, so long as he held them in paternalistic regard".

Reagan publicly defended the apartheid states of Rhodesia and South Africa in the 1970s.

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