World

1983 Grenada invasion: Tape shows contrite Reagan apologizing to Thatcher over secrecy

  • FILE- In this file photo dated Sept. 29, 1983, US President Ronald Reagan shakes hands with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after their meeting, at the White House in Washington. In a secret White House tape recording made public Monday Nov. 10, 2014, Ronald Reagan apologized to Margaret Thatcher for not telling her before U.S. troops had invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983, saying that total secrecy was needed because of fears that an information leak on the American side might endanger the military operation. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, FILE)

    FILE- In this file photo dated Sept. 29, 1983, US President Ronald Reagan shakes hands with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after their meeting, at the White House in Washington. In a secret White House tape recording made public Monday Nov. 10, 2014, Ronald Reagan apologized to Margaret Thatcher for not telling her before U.S. troops had invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983, saying that total secrecy was needed because of fears that an information leak on the American side might endanger the military operation. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo dated  Thursday, Dec. 6, 1990, Former United States President Ronald Reagan smiles with Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as the two old friends met for tea at Claridges Hotel in London.  In a secret White House tape recording made while the two held office and made public Monday Nov. 10, 2014, Ronald Reagan apologized to Margaret Thatcher for not telling her before U.S. troops had invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983, saying that total secrecy was needed because of fears that an information leak on the American side might endanger the military operation. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver, FILE)

    FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, Dec. 6, 1990, Former United States President Ronald Reagan smiles with Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as the two old friends met for tea at Claridges Hotel in London. In a secret White House tape recording made while the two held office and made public Monday Nov. 10, 2014, Ronald Reagan apologized to Margaret Thatcher for not telling her before U.S. troops had invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada in 1983, saying that total secrecy was needed because of fears that an information leak on the American side might endanger the military operation. (AP Photo/Martin Cleaver, FILE)  (The Associated Press)

So sorry we kept it a secret. That was Ronald Reagan's message to Margaret Thatcher when U.S. troops invaded Grenada in 1983 without telling the British leader first.

The American president called the British prime minister as the invasion unfolded to apologize for keeping her in the dark, saying "I'm sorry for any embarrassment we caused you."

He said in a secret White House tape made public Monday that he feared possible leaks on the U.S. side that could have endangered the operation.

Reagan goes out of his way during the conversation to assure Thatcher that he had not shut her out over fears the British would leak the information.

He said the caution came about because of a "nagging problem" with leaks.