Newly discovered 1971 leaked tapes from the White House reveal the stark hostility former US President Richard Nixon had towards India and Indians.
Nixon referred to Indians as the “most sexless” and “pathetic”, and called Indian women the “most unattractive women in the world” during a meeting with senior officials at the Oval Office on June 17, 1971, reports say.
The tapes were recently declassified and released in batches up to May this year after Gary J Bass of Princeton University filed a legal request for their declassification. The tapes were reported by Bass in an opinion piece in The New York Times published on Friday.
Nixon’s antipathy towards Indians was also fanned by Henry Kissinger, the National Security Adviser during that time, who also determined US policy towards New Delhi in the early 1970s, Indian Express reported. Richard Nixon, a Republican, was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 until 1974.
Bass says that the declassified White House tapes reveal a ‘stunning’ conversation between Nixon, Kissinger and the then White House chief of staff HR Haldeman in the Oval Office in June 1971 in which Nixon asserts in a ‘venomous tone’ that Indian women are ‘undoubtedly the most unattractive women in the world.’ Nixon also calls Indians ‘most sexless’, ‘nothing’ and ‘pathetic’, according to the tapes. “On Nov. 4, 1971, during a private break from a contentious White House summit with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India — a rare woman leader at the time — the president harangued Mr Kissinger about his sexual disgust at Indians,” Bass writes.
The tapes reveal the personal racism of Nixon and his prejudice towards Indians reflecting his attitudes towards international events and actors. It also makes it evident how Nixon had hostility towards India, while having a soft corner for Pakistan that led him to look away from the atrocities of Pakistani army against Bengali people in the East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).