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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 05:12 GMT 06:12 UK
Reagan's diaries to be published
Ronald Reagan
Mr Reagan wrote near-daily entries in his diary while in office
Two decades after he left office, the diaries kept by US President Ronald Reagan when he was in office are being published for the first time.

Excerpts have been printed in the magazine Vanity Fair.

In brief entries, the former Hollywood actor recorded daily life in the White House. Of the attempt on his life in 1981 he wrote: "Getting shot hurts."

He was clearly frustrated by Israel and events in the Middle East prompted him to wonder if Armageddon was near.

His private musings while in office were recorded in five maroon leather volumes embossed with the presidential seal.

Even on subjects as worrying as the Cold War and relations with Cuban leader Fidel Castro a folksy sense of humour is evident.

"Intelligence reports say he Castro is very worried about me. I'm very worried that we can't come up with something to justify his worrying," he wrote on 11 February 1981.

'Coughing up blood'

He was clearly impressed with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for whom the admiration seems to have been mutual.

Got word of Israeli bombing of Iraq - nuclear reactor. I swear I believe Armageddon is near
Ronald Reagan, 7 June 1981

Of her visit to Washington in 1981 he wrote: "She is as firm as ever re - the Soviets and for reduction of govt. Expressed regret that she tried to reduce govt. spending a step at a time & was defeated in each attempt. Said she should have done it our way - an entire package - all or nothing."

The only period he did not make daily entries to the diaries is when he was shot on 30 March 1981.

"I felt a blow in my upper back that was unbelievably painful," he wrote later.

"I sat on the edge of the seat almost paralysed by pain. Then I began coughing up blood..."

Events in the Middle East were a common preoccupation.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan
His love for his wife Nancy is evident throughout the diaries
The entry for 7 June 1981: "Got word of Israeli bombing of Iraq - nuclear reactor. I swear I believe Armageddon is near."

Eight months later he noted: "trouble brewing in the Middle East" ahead of Israel's invasion of Lebanon. "Right now Israel has lost a lot of world sympathy."

The diplomatic crises of the 1980s are recorded as well as the faux pas.

When Prince Charles - "a most likeable person" - visited the White House his tea was served American-style:

"The ushers brought him tea - horror of horrors they served it our way with a tea bag still in the cup. It finally dawned on me that he was just holding the cup & then finally put down on a table.

"The Prince said: 'I didn't know what to do with it'."

Of his wife Nancy, he wrote after he was shot: "I opened my eyes once to find Nancy there. I pray I'll never face a day when she isn't there."




SEE ALSO
Reagan's mixed White House legacy
06 Jun 04 |  Americas
Reagan's military legacy
08 Jun 04 |  Americas
Reagan voted 'greatest American'
28 Jun 05 |  Americas
How will history remember Reagan?
12 Jun 04 |  Americas

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