Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan called African delegates to the U.N. “monkeys” in a phone call with then-President Richard Nixon, according to the former director of Nixon’s presidential library, who published his findings in the Atlantic.
Tim Naftali, who directed the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum from 2007 to 2011, writes that Reagan is heard in the phone conversation saying to Nixon, “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did.”
“Yeah,” Nixon interjected.
“To see those, those monkeys from those African countries — damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”
Nixon gave a huge laugh.
Naftali says Reagan is heard in the phone call apparently referencing the way the Tanzanian delegation started dancing in the General Assembly when the UN took the vote to seat the delegation from Beijing instead of Taiwan.
The National Archives originally released the tape of the phone call in 2000 without the racist portion, according to The Atlantic, but as a researcher, Naftali said, he requested a new review of Nixon’s conversations with Reagan last year. The National Archives released the complete version of the recording online two weeks ago.