I read that Pat Buchanan wanted to be the ambassador to South Africa. Was it for the sake of helping maintain apartheid?

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    In a New York Times book review, Joe Klein writes: He writes that he wanted to be named ambassador to South Africa by President Ford so he could support the apartheid government. This is not a quote from the book. The answer, if there is one, likely, would be in the book NIXON’S WHITE HOUSE WARS: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever by Patrick J. Buchanan.
    – Rick Smith
    May 29, 2020 at 2:45
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    @RickSmith: FYI, I went to Amazon's "Look Inside" feature and got the direct quote. See my comment on the answer below. May 29, 2020 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


Buchanan was a supporter of Apartheid, which is no surprise given his white supremacist political views. The ADL for example describes him as "increasingly advanc[ing] an anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-immigrant ideology" with views "identical to those of self-declared "white nationalists."

According to Buchanan, the ambassador position was offered to him for various places, among them South Africa. He was interested because of "the whole apartheid thing". At least in that interview, he doesn't go into more detail. But given his views, there is no reason to believe he wanted to do anything else than support apartheid as ambassador.

As mentioned in the comments, according to Joe Klein, Buchanan is more explicit in his book:

He writes that he wanted to be named ambassador to South Africa by President Ford so he could support the apartheid government.

  • Thanks to Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, here is the direct quote from the book: "But South Africa I had been interested in for years. I felt that the Republic of South Africa and Rhodesia were part of the West, and, while being ostracized for having the white minority run those countries, were the most successful nations on the continent and natural allies in the Cold War." May 29, 2020 at 13:40
  • So while he doesn't directly condone apartheid in that quote, he was at least willing to excuse/ignore its injustices because of the "success" it brought those countries. May 29, 2020 at 13:44
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    @MichaelSeifert I don't think that's the quote Klein references (the event in question was in 74, while at least my "look inside" only gives me access up to 69). But it does reflect Buchanan's positive views of the South African apartheid regime.
    – tim
    May 29, 2020 at 14:43
  • I accessed the quote by "searching inside" on Amazon for "South Africa". The potential nomination is described as happening in '74, around the same time as Ford's pardon of Nixon. It's on pp. 388–389 if you can access it. May 29, 2020 at 14:57

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