Tapes of phone recordings have been uncovered and in it, former US President Ronald Reagan describes African delegates to the United Nations as “monkeys”.
According to the BBC, he made the statement in a 1971 telephone call with then-President Richard Nixon, while he was governor of California.
The recording was unearthed by Tim Naftali, a clinical associate professor of history at New York University, who directed the Nixon Presidential Library from 2007 until 2011.
Mr Reagan was apparently angry that a Tanzanian delegation at the UN sided against the US and voted to recognize China and expel Taiwan.
After the UN voted to do just that, the group started dancing.
Mr Reagan, who was a supporter of Taiwan, called the president the following day to express his apparent frustration.
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 then be heard laughing.
Professor Naftali published his findings in The Atlantic and wrote that the racist exchange was removed from the original tapes for privacy reasons.