Letter to the Speaker of
the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee Transmitting a Report on Apartheid in South Africa
October 1, 1987
Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Chairman:)
to Section 501(b) of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, I hereby
transmit the first annual report on the extent to which significant progress
has been made toward ending the system of apartheid.
to Section 501 of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (The Act), the
President has transmitted to the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the
Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, a report on the extent to which
significant progress has been made toward ending the system of apartheid and
establishing a nonracial democracy in South Africa. Included is the President's
recommendation on which suggested additional measures, if any, should be
imposed on that country.
report concludes that there has not been significant progress toward ending
apartheid since October, 1986, and that none of the goals outlined in Title I
of the Act -- goals that are shared by the Administration and the Congress --
have been fulfilled. Moreover, the South African Government's response to the
Act over the past year gives little ground for hope that this trend will soon
be reversed or that additional measures will produce better results.
reviewing the twelve-month period since the Act became law, the report
describes a continuing bleak situation for blacks in South Africa who face increased
repression, harassment, and -- even in the case of a significant number of
minors -- imprisonment. Press censorship has been intensified, and illegal
cross border raids by South African security forces into neighboring countries
have resulted in the loss of innocent lives.
the economic area, the report points out that sanctions
have had minimal impact on interrupting South Africa's external trade
because of that country's ability to find substitute markets for its products
outside the United States. Where there has been a
significant impact, notably in the coal and sugar industries, the loss of
export markets in the United States has caused hardship
among black workers who are experiencing greater rates of unemployment.
Overall, South Africa's economic performance
has not been robust due to the poor investment climate, unfavorable
international conditions, and drought in the farming areas. Sanctions have
incrementally exacerbated an already existing problem.
report also takes note of considerable disinvestment by American companies
since the beginning of the recent unrest in South Africa. The report points out
that the most painful impact of this trend toward disinvestment has been the
disappearance of company-funded social, housing, educational, and job training
programs designed to improve living standards and career opportunities for
black South Africans.
political terms, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, which followed
selective measures instituted by Executive Order in 1985, sent a strong message
of abhorrence of apartheid on the part of the American people. The immediate
result, however, was a marked reduction in our ability to persuade the South
African Government to act responsibly on human rights issues and to restrain
its behavior in the region. Perhaps the single ray of hope during the period
under review was the appearance of ferment within the Afrikaner community where
there is increasing public discussion of ``power sharing.'' While this and
similar terms being discussed are still devoid of quantifiable substance, they
may be a precursor to eventual negotiations between the South African
Government and the black leadership, a goal which the U.S. Government will be
seeking to promote.
of the President's conclusion that the economic sanctions embodied in the 1986
Act have not been effective in meeting the goals on which the Congress and the
Administration agree, and his conviction that additional measures would be
counterproductive, the President recommends against the imposition of any
additional measures at this time, including those mentioned in Section 501(c)
of the Act, and continues to believe that the current punitive sanctions
against South Africa are not the best way to bring freedom to that country.
the United States now needs is a period
of active and creative diplomacy -- bilaterally as well as in consultation with
our allies and with our friends in southern Africa -- focusing on doing
all that is possible to bring the peoples of South Africa together for meaningful
negotiations leading to the creation of a democratic society. The essence of
this process is to state clearly what goals and values the West supports,
rather than simply to reiterate what it opposes. This was the purpose of
Secretary Shultz's public articulation on September 29 of the concepts which
must be addressed by all South Africans to undergird
a settlement of political grievances and the formation of a just, constitutional,
and democratic order in South Africa. His statement
delineates precisely the values that the West stands for and wishes to see
negotiated by South Africans as they chart a future free of apartheid.
to Congress Pursuant to Section 501 of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of
to Section 501 of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (the Act), I am
transmitting to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of
the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, a report on the extent to
which significant progress has been made toward ending the system of apartheid
and establishing a nonracial democracy in that country. Included also is my
recommendation on which suggested additional measures, if any, should be
imposed on South Africa.
Executive Order 12571, I directed all affected executive departments and
agencies to take all steps necessary, consistent with the Constitution, to
implement the requirements of the Act. I am pleased to be able to report that
the Act has been implemented fully and faithfully. Executive departments and
agencies are to be complimented for their excellent work in carrying out this
complex piece of legislation.
legislation sets out yardsticks by which to measure the effectiveness of the
approach it embodies. The specific goals are laid out in the legislation
itself. The Act, in Section 101, states that it and other actions of the United States were intended to
encourage the Government of South Africa to take the following steps:
-- Bring about reforms leading to the
establishment of a nonracial democracy in South Africa.
-- Repeal the State of Emergency and respect the
principles of equal justice under law for all races.
-- Release Nelson Mandela, Govan
Mbeki, and Walter Sisulu and all political prisoners
and black trade union leaders.
-- Permit South Africans of all races the
right freely to form political parties, express political opinions, and
otherwise participate in the political process.
-- Establish a timetable for the elimination
of apartheid laws.
-- Negotiate with representatives of all
racial groups in South Africa the future political
system in South Africa.
-- End military and paramilitary activities
aimed at neighboring states.
Status of Apartheid: October 1986 to October 1987
regret that I am unable to report significant progress leading to the end of
apartheid and the establishment of a nonracial democracy in South Africa. Indeed, the following
review of events in South Africa since October, 1986
provides very little hope for optimism about the immediate future.
State of Emergency has not been repealed.
Instead, the earlier decree was toughened, press restrictions were tightened,
and an increasing number of foreign journalists (including Americans) were
expelled. Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, and other key prisoners have not been released.
Instead, the number of political prisoners detained by the Government has
vastly increased, including the detention of large numbers of minors, although
some detained children were later set free.
South Africa is not any closer in
late 1987 to respecting free speech and free political participation by all its
citizens than it was one year ago. No timetable has been set for the
elimination of the remaining apartheid laws. No clear and credible plan has
been devised for negotiating a future political system involving all people
equally in South Africa, and many of the legitimate representatives of the
majority in that country are still ``banned,'' in hiding, or in detention. The
Government of South Africa has not ended military and paramilitary activities
aimed at neighboring states. Instead, such activities have been stepped up, as
can be seen by Pretoria's April, 1987 raid against targets in Livingstone,
Zambia; its May, 1987 incursion into Maputo, the capital of Mozambique; and the
increase in unexplained deaths and disappearances of anti-apartheid activists
throughout the region. The cycle of violence and counterviolence
between the South African Government and its opponents has, if anything, gotten
Political Situation: Status of Race Relations
absence of progress toward the end of apartheid has been reflected in generally
negative trends in South Africa's internal
political-economic situation during the past year.
the recent whites-only election in South Africa, the National Party
attempted to exploit a nationalistic backlash to foreign interference. Without
any doubt, external factors played some role in the sizable vote totals for the
National Party's right-wing opposition as well as for the ruling party itself.
However the election results are interpreted, they appear to have put a brake
on any inclination toward fundamental reform by the South African Government.
They also helped to discredit the anti-apartheid stand of the Progressive
Federal Party and have put the current government in the position of having to
deal with an official opposition which for the first time in 40 years is to the
right, not the left.
Even before the elections, and more so after
their conclusion, the South African Government has spared no effort to stifle
This round of massive unrest, which began in 1984, has been put down with harsh
states of emergency. The detentions and other measures taken by the security
forces during this period severely damaged the opposition groups inside the
country, particularly the United Democratic Front, an umbrella organization committed
to the non-violent end of apartheid. The State of Emergency has resulted in the
detention of much of the UDF leadership and the silencing of much of the
organization's political expression. While the State of Emergency has failed to crush the
organization, it has nevertheless powerfully affected its strategies and put
the organization on the defensive.
Government has also been cool to the KwaZulu/Natal
Indaba, a convention representing all racial groups and a wide range of social
and political organizations in the Natal Province. For many months the
Indaba participants have been wrestling on a provincial basis with the great
questions that must be addressed by South Africans, including the creation of a
nonracial legislature and the drafting of a bill of rights. This process has
shown that South Africans are capable of difficult mutual accommodation to
advance the cause of racial justice and representative government. Regrettably,
the government has been slow to see the wisdom of encouraging such efforts at
disturbing has been the increase in regional tensions triggered in part by a
sharp expansion of South African military, para-military,
and covert operations. South African security forces have in the last year raided
Livingstone in Zambia and Maputo in Mozambique, in violation of
international law and, in the case of Mozambique, in violation of the Nkomati Accords (which established a regime of peaceful
cooperation between the South African and Mozambican Governments). These raids,
purportedly directed at the African National Congress, resulted in the deaths
of innocent civilians. South African forces have also been engaged in a variety
of other largely covert efforts in Swaziland, Botswana, and Zimbabwe aimed at keeping their
neighbors off-balance and deflecting public attention away from the imperative
of change at home and toward foreign sources of support for its opponents. Our
sanctions were followed by an increase in such ill-considered actions. We have
made our views known clearly, but Pretoria appears less inclined
to consider external views than was previously the case.
in the White Community
positive development has been the continuing ferment in the white South African
community, reflecting, among many other internal and external factors, the
messages of outrage and frustration sent by the United States and other interested
notable is the debate occuring within the subcommunity of Afrikaans-speakers. The last year has seen
the candidates (during the May elections) of the ``independents'' who broke
away from their traditional philosophical home in the ruling National Party;
the ``revolt'' of the University of Stellenbosch
academics who deserted the National Party as a show of protest against
apartheid; the increasing visibility of the extraparliamentary
opposition, exemplified by the former head of the Progressive Federal Party,
Frederick van Zyl Slabbert;
and, most recently, the meeting in Dakar between leading Afrikaners and
representatives of the exiled African National Congress, sponsored by Slabbert's Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South
Africa (IDASA), and hosted by Senegal's President Diouf.
within the government, there have been hesitant, heavily qualified statements
from the Cabinet concerning ``power sharing'' and the need to negotiate with
black leaders. South Africans have not yet identified a realistic formula on
which to base and begin serious negotiations, but the issue is surfacing publicly
and is being discussed. Such developments suggest that despite all the negative
things that have occurred in recent years -- the violence, killings, and
repression -- there continue to be forces at work in South Africa that yet may lead to
progress toward a negotiated settlement. South Africans are continuing to seek
ways out of the impasse. Today, it is clearer than ever that the travesty of
apartheid is South Africa's to solve.
South Africa's economy is ``open''
by world standards in the sense that a relatively high percentage of its gross
domestic product derives from a combination of exports and imports. South Africa is a trading nation,
which suggests that its economy would be relatively vulnerable to our
sanctions. Yet this is not necessarily the case. The nature of South Africa's exports is such that
the majority of export earnings come from sales of primary products -- gold and
other metals and minerals -- that have a ready market internationally whether
or not we choose to buy them.
years of contending with embargoes on arms and oil, South Africa has shown itself adept
at evading sanctions. The easiest way to avoid sanctions is completely overt --
simply shift to new export markets. The evidence available to us indicates that
South Africa has been largely
successful at developing new markets, both because of their willingness to
undercut competitors' prices and because of the quality of their products and
the perception by much of the world that South Africa is a reliable supplier.
Although the sanctions voted by Congress in 1986 potentially affect a large
percentage of South African industries, many still operate at capacity --
albeit with somewhat lowered profit margins -- because of their success in
developing new export markets. New export markets for South African
agricultural products, metals, and textiles have been found in the Far East, parts of the Middle East, and Latin America and, most ironic, in
the rest of Africa. In fact, South Africa's trade surplus has
risen, not fallen, since we and our major allies imposed trade sanctions last
the other hand, many of the commodities covered by U.S. sanctions were already
facing difficult international market conditions and chronic oversupply. It seems
clear that sanctions exacerbated these problems and that some of the South
African export industries have suffered some damage, including the sugar, coal,
and iron and steel sectors.
South Africa is slowly recovering
from an economic recession that began in 1981. This recession and sanctions,
combined with the absence of business confidence and the resulting decline in
new investments, have been major elements in the country's poor economic
performance. It is important to appreciate, moreover, that although the South
African Government has been able to avoid some of the economic effects of our
sanctions in the short term, the long-term effect on unemployment and growth
rates may well be more serious. There is a growing consensus among economists
that a combination of sanctions, South Africa's inability to attract foreign
capital, and a variety of other factors will mean that, at best, South Africa's
gross domestic product growth will likely hover between 2.5 and 3.5 percent per
annum for the foreseeable future. Yet studies indicate that annual real growth
of 5 to 6 percent will be necessary to create jobs for the 350,000 new workers
who will enter the labor force each year. To the extent that our sanctions
contribute to a slowdown in real growth, we will have contributed both to an
increase in unemployment that will hit blacks hardest, as population growth
continues to outstrip economic growth, and to an erosion of prospects for
economic progress by blacks in the future, once apartheid has ended.
fact, economic growth and the openness of the South African economy have been
among the major forces eroding apartheid. They also offer the best chance of
bringing about its end. Black economic empowerment is one of the keys to
progress. An open and dynamic economy provides jobs and skills for the majority
of the population, provides the indispensable base for trade unions to address
their grievances, and inevitably will improve educational possibilities for
blacks as economic growth demands a better educated labor force.
the overall economic context, a phenomenon worthy of note is the trend toward
disinvestment among American-owned business firms in South Africa. The value of U.S. direct investment in South Africa has been cut nearly in
half by disinvestment -- from $2.4 billion in 1982 to approximately $1.3
billion in 1986. By now, it is probably less than $1 billion. In most cases, U.S. firms have sold their
South African holdings to their local managers and/or employees. Most of the
rest have been sold to other firms, usually South African white-owned
competitors, at fire-sale prices. In very few cases have these companies pulled
up stakes altogether. Despite disinvestments, the products and services of
departing U.S. firms remain generally
available in South Africa. The main impact of
disinvestment has been to damage fair labor standards programs. There is no
question but that many projects in education, training, and community
improvement funded by major foreign investors have been damaged or eliminated.
During the past decade, U.S. companies have spent
nearly $200 million on such projects. Because of disinvestment, this vital
source of manpower and community development assistance has been severely cut
concentration through disinvestment of more of South Africa's wealth in local white
hands has, at least in the short term, marginally enlarged the economic gap
between the races. Blacks at present control only a minute fraction of the
country's physical capital and share equity. Black-owned enterprises contribute
only about 1 percent to the nation's gross domestic product (although much more
black economic activity takes place in the informal sector and goes
unrecorded), and we doubt that black ownership totals more than about 2 percent
of South Africa's capital stock.
501(c) of the Act states that if the Government of South Africa has not made
significant progress in ending the system of apartheid and establishing a
nonracial democracy, the President shall include in this annual report
recommendations on the imposition of additional measures from among the five
listed in that sub-section.
two sets of economic sanctions imposed against South Africa to date -- by
Executive Order in 1985 and by statute in 1986 -- have sent a clear message to
the ruling white community that the American people are outraged by the
institutional injustice of apartheid and the basic denial of human rights that
it embodies. Although the South African white leadership has reacted defiantly
toward these measures, and has chilled the bilateral diplomatic relationship as
a result, the message has clearly been registered. The American people have
made their feelings clear.
the most important goal of the Act was to pressure the South African Government
to meet the unambiguous prescriptions laid out in the Act itself. As indicated
above, significant progress has not been made toward ending the system of
apartheid and establishing a nonracial democracy in South Africa in the twelve month
period since the enactment of the Act.
have reviewed the suggested additional measures listed in Section 501(c) in
light of what we hope to achieve in South Africa as well as the impact
of those measures already taken. My conclusion is that the imposition of
additional economic sanctions at this time would not be helpful in the
achievement of the objectives which Congress, the American people, and I share.
While the measures imposed by the 1986 Act have registered an important message
to the white South African community, and have contributed to our efforts to
broaden our contacts with black opposition groups, the impact has been more
negative than positive. I am particularly concerned by evidence that these
measures have caused increasing unemployment for black South African workers,
especially in such industries as sugar production and coal mining. While our
sanctions have accentuated the overall economic stagnation in South Africa, it is clear to me that
their impact on the government itself and its political choices have not
advanced our goals. The ability of that country to evade sanctions by finding
alternate markets for its exports indicates that it would be futile to impose
additional measures that would also be harmful to United States strategic or economic
interests. In addition, our sanctions measures have made it more difficult for
the United States to persuade the South
African Government to act responsibly on human rights issues, to move toward
negotiations, and to restrain its behavior in the region. I believe that the
imposition of additional measures, including those listed in Section 501(c),
would exacerbate these negative developments without adding any additional
positive benefits in support of our objectives. For these reasons, moreover, I
continue to believe that punitive sanctions are not the best way to bring
freedom to South Africa.
experience has illustrated once again the very real constraints on the United States, or any other nation,
that tries to impose its own solutions to South Africa's problems. It is clear
that in the heat of debate over sanctions against South Africa, Americans on both
sides of the issue overestimated the importance of the United States as a factor in the
South African matrix. The impact of American sanctions to date has been
significant neither in hastening the demise of racism in South Africa nor in punishing the
South African Government.
is needed on the part of the United States is a period of active
and creative diplomacy bilaterally as well as in consultation with our allies
and friends in Africa focusing on doing all that is possible to bring
the peoples of South Africa together for meaningful
negotiations leading to the building of a democratic society. The essence of
this process is to state clearly what goals and values we in the West support,
rather than simply to reiterate what we oppose.
was the purpose of Secretary Shultz' public articulation on September 29th of
the principles we believe must undergird a settlement
of political grievances and the formation of a just, constitutional, and
democratic order in South Africa. His statement delineates precisely the values
that we in the West stand for and wish to see addressed by South Africans as
they chart a future free of apartheid. It constitutes an attempt to challenge
all parties in the equation with a positive vision of a post-apartheid South
Africa, and to lend our moral weight to those many South Africans -- a
majority, I believe -- who have not given up hope.
is crucial in the coming period that we work with and, where possible,
coordinate policies with our principal OECD partners. Aside from the question
of the 1986 sanctions measures -- which few of our key allies have adopted --
our positions and policies are complementary with those of the OECD countries,
particularly the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan. We
must work with these nations and others to buttress the Front Line States and
the region against destabilization and economic decay. We must support and
encourage those South Africans, white and black, that are already at work
breaking down the barriers of fear, mistrust, and ignorance of each other. We
must continue to strive together through public and private endeavors to assist
the non-white communities in South Africa to prepare themselves
for their rightful role after the inevitable end of apartheid. Most
importantly, we must, together, push firmly for progress, change, and
negotiation in South Africa, leading to a just and
democratic future for that troubled nation.
Note: Identical letters
were sent to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Claiborne
Pell, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The letters were
released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 2.