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Daybreak Montreal uncovers tape of private conversation between Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan

01/27/2015 05:00 EST | Updated 03/28/2015 05:59 EDT
They were known for the warm relationship and their rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” but what kind of conversations did former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former US President Ronald Reagan have in private?

CBC Montreal’s Daybreak has uncovered a long-forgotten tape containing a private conversation between the world leaders in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

This comes after another recording surfaced between Reagan and former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Little was known about the tape when Daybreak received a copy. It was undated and labelled “Mulroney International Travel.”

Daybreak shared the tape with UQAM professor Greg Robinson, who specializes in 20th century American History. Robinson was able to place the tape sometime after Mulroney attended a Commonwealth meeting in Jamaica in February 1985, but before the now iconic Shamrock summit which was held in Quebec city in March 1985.

The tape opens up with a friendly exchange before moving on to discuss the poor financial state of the Caribbean Commonwealth, including Jamaica. Mulroney tries to convince Reagan to support his bid to get debt relief for those Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

​“They’re already friends — they’re already on a first name basis. There’s obviously already a level of comfort even though they’ve only been together once,” said Robinson, adding that it was a level of comfort Reagan was never able to achieve with Mulroney’s predecessor, Pierre Trudeau.

Listen to the full interview with UQAM professor Greg Robinson this morning on Daybreak at 7:15 am.

Listen to the full tape of the world leaders' private conversation by clicking above. (Please be advised that the audio is distorted and will get loud towards the second half.)

Read the transcript:

RR: Hi Brian.

BM: Good morning Ron. How are you?

RR: Just fine.

BM: Nice to talk to you.

RR: Well it's good to talk to you and looking forward to seeing you.

M: Well I wish we were in Quebec City... but... [laughs]

RR: Yeah, we're both a long ways away from home.

BM: We are indeed. How are you doing?

RR: Well I've been pretty good. I'm pleased to be able to tell you that, in answer to your request, we are liberalizing our oil exports to Canada. You asked about that... so we made a quick turn around on that one. Now I understand you want to talk to me about something?

BM: Well, I uh, I'm just really concerned Ron with [inaudible, but mentions the "monetary fund"]

RR: No, I can tell you Brian that's a fixture of these summit conference, there's little problems with him.

BM: I see...

RR: So we'll probably see ourselves dealing with those. [Inaudible]. We want to go for the '86 trade rounds that we talked about. And since Williamsburg for two years we've had discussions, meetings going on about monetary things and they're not due to report until June. [inaudible] And it's not that the two should go together, you can't link those two things -- again on the basis of that report. We'll see if this warrants, maybe on the recommendation of [inaudible] meeting. We'd be very happy to have such a meeting under these circumstance.

M: Ron, [inaudible]?

RR: No, I couldn't get any more specific than that... we just need to finalize what it is [inaudible].

BM: One point that I wanted [inaudible] is Jamaica. I was down there for the Commonwealth. [inaudible] The United States and Canada have been large suppliers of aid. What if [inaudible] the IMF and the World Bank...[Inaudible] ...if they were given a better opportunity of credit  and loans and so on. [Inaudible] could lead to new opportunities. [Inaudible] the poorer Commonwealth, all of them are important. They're not saying, ‘Give us more aid.’ They're saying, ‘Give us better terms of credit so we can [inaudible] our own way.’ I'm going to be talking about that and I hope that I might find your [inaudible].

RR: [Inaudible] right now...

BM: [inaudible]... because you saw what happened with the Prime Minister of Grenada. [inaudible] And they say, ‘These guys, they're not us. [inaudible] we're the poorest of the very poor.’ That's got to be the beginning of [inaudible] from the IMF and the World Bank. [Inaudible]. This is our own backyard, our hemisphere.   

RR: Yeah.

BM: And...[inaudible]

END OF TAPE

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