TransAfrica Forum Issue Brief

(Vol. 1, No. 9)
by TransAfrica Forum
Washington, DC, United States
October 1982
5 pages
Type: Newsletter
Coverage in Africa: Angola, Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Contents:  THE U.S. AND SOUTH AFRICA: THE NEW RIGHT CONNECTION • THE MULDERGATE SCANDAL • THE DENTON HEARINGS • SOUTH AFRICA’S HIRED GUNS: THE REGISTERED FOREIGN AGENTS • REAGAN WATCH: AN ALLIANCE AMONG FRIEND • There is a host of connections between South Africa, New Right activists, conservative think tanks, registered foreign agents, and the new Reagan administration. In 1979, the Muldergate scandal revealed details of South Africa’s campaign to influence what Eschel Rhoodie described as U.S. "opinion formers and decision takers." Rhoodie, former South African Secretary of Information, spearheaded the propaganda war begun in 1974 to buy influence, support friends, and punish enemies in the U.S. One such "enemy" was Iowa Senator Dick Clark, Chairman of the Senate's Africa Subcommittee, outspoken critic of South African apartheid, and supporter of economic sanctions. Clark was unexpectedly defeated in 1978. Rhoodie alleges that the South Africa Department of Information contributed well over $250,000 to Robert Jepsen's campaign against Clark (which Jepsen denied), as well as about $150,000 to the 1976 campaign to unseat Senator John Tunney of California. Rhoodie claimed credit for both of their defeats, with contributions that clearly violated U.S. law. Since Reagan's election, investigations into South African interference in U.S. elections appear to be ignored. The Justice Department probe was conducted by Joel Lisker, who is now Staff Director of Senator Jeremiah Denton's Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism. President Reagan has chosen foreign policymakers who are friends of South Africa's government. In an interview, former Senator Clark discusses with Randall Robinson, TransAfrica Forum's Executive Director, this growing New Right-South Africa connection. In February 1974, South African Prime Minister John Vorster met with Gen. Hendrik van den Burgh, head of the Bureau of State Security (BOSS); Information Minister Dr. Cornelius Mulder (hence "Muldergate"), the man then expected to be Vorster's successor; and Rhoodie. The battlefields for their $70 million propaganda war were to be Washington, London, New York, and Paris. In 1977, the Department of Information paid about $110,000 to several American trade unions to prevent their support of a blockade against South African shipping organized by the International Federation of Free Trade Unions. South Africa funded John P. McGoff's unsuccessful bid to purchase the Washington Star and his successful bid to purchase the Sacramento Union. Senator Denton, a champion of ''New Right" causes, held five days of hearings on what he titled, "The Role of the Soviet Union, Cuba, and East Germany in Fomenting Terrorism in Southern Africa." These hearings sought to establish that the leading liberation movements in southern Africa - ANC and SWAPO - were terrorist groups controlled and directed by Moscow. The South African government has hired a network of highly paid lobbyists with solid connections to the New Right. Among them is John P. Sears of the Washington law firm Baskin and Sears. Another is the Washington law firm Smathers, Symington, and Herlong. The newsletter mentions the Washington law firm of Shipley, Smoak, and Henry, William Rusher, National Review, Global Communications, United Press International Television News (UPITN), the ANC (African National Congress), SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization), Lennox Sebe, the Ciskei Bantustan, the DTA (Democratic Turnhalle Alliance), SWAPO-Democrats, Philip J. Hare, former Senator George Smathers, former Congressman James Symington, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the South African National Rugby team, House Resolution 214, South Africa's invasion of Angola, the Democratic Party, the Rand Daily Mail, the U.S.-South West Africa/Namibia Trade and Cultural Council, Michigan Congressman Howard Wolpe, Gulf Oil Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute, Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Hoover Institution, Heritage Foundation, Committee for the Present Danger, Peter Duignan, Lewis Gann, Richard Allen, Thomas Moorer, the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Richard Mellon, Peter Vanneman, William Simon, Marvin Leibman, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Africa American African Affairs Association (AAAA), the Venda Bantustan, Jay Parker, Joseph Churba, Assistant Secretary of State Chester Crocker, Robert Cabelli, the Goldfields mining firm, Donald deKieffer, opening of restrictions on trade with South Africa, and TransAfrica Forum staff Cherri D. Waters, Ibrahim Gossama, and Menda Ahart.
Used by permission of TransAfrica Forum.
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers