Recently released tapes have revealed that Ronald Reagan, former president of the United States, called African representatives to the United Nations monkeys.
Reagan, who was the governor of California at the time, made the comment during a telephone conversation with Richard Nixon, who was president at the time.
The Atlantic, an American magazine, reports that the conversation occurred the day after the United Nations voted to recognise China and expel Taiwan.
Delegates from Tanzania, at the time, opposed the United States’ stance, which was in solidarity with Taiwan.
“Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said.
“To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!”
The tape was uncovered by Tim Naftali, an associate professor of history at New York University, who was in charge of the Nixon Presidential Library between 2007 and 2011.
Naftali said that part of the conversation was removed from the original tapes for privacy reasons when it was released by the National Archives in 2000; Reagan was still alive.
Reagan’s death in 2004, however, eliminated the privacy concerns.
“I requested that the conversations involving Ronald Reagan be re-reviewed and, two weeks ago, the National Archives released complete versions,” Naftali added.
Reagan was president between 1981 and 1989. He died in 2004, aged 93, after battling with Alzheimer’s disease.