Why South Africa? An Analysis of the Square One Policy of Reduced Involvement - Communications with irregular regimes
by Gary Gappert
Washington, DC, United States
American Committee on Africa
The report says the question is sometimes asked: Why South Africa? Why are liberals and other Americans of conscience always calling for action against South Africa? It seems contradictory that American liberals call for increased communications with Cuba and China but are also appealing for an end to communications with South Africa. Why disengage from South Africa and not from other "bad" governments? The report says let us note that South Africa is the only racist dictatorship in today's world of increased racial polarization, the relentless imposition of a racist totalitarian system takes on a highly magnified importance. The report says the totality of oppression in South Africa is unique. It applies not only in the political sphere, but also in the economic. social, cultural, and recreational, etc.; there is not any way in which the individual black African can escape apartheid even for a moment. The report says the United States has been engaged with apartheid for 20 years; the Nationalist government in South Africa has been in power for that long and has gotten more and more oppressive every year. Each year harsher and harsher legislation is ·enacted as the white regime in South Africa seeks to make its racial dictatorship more secure. The report says in one survey conducted last year by Business Intelligence Services Ltd., in Johannesburg, 81 per cent of the American businessmen replying to a questionnaire indicated a positive feeling towards South Africa and its system; over a third of the businessmen replying indicated that if they were voting in South Africa, they would vote for the Nationalist Party which was the party which introduced the apartheid system; another third would vote for the white supremacist United Party while only 15 percent would vote for the multi-racial Progressive Party. The report says it can also be claimed that the average American visitor to South Africa never has a chance to see the real inequities of the system but receives charming attention from his white host. The report says the U.S. government still refuses to integrate its own diplomatic and technical teams in South Africa. The report says a final reason for changing the American level of involvement in South Africa is the realization that it is just historically inevitable that 3 million white people will be unable to continue to dominate more than 10 million non-white people for any sustained period of time in the future; change is inevitable in South Africa. The report says in concluding let us note that our current engagement with South Africa is normal but not neutral; calling for a policy of disengagement from South Africa is similar to calling for a policy of vigorous neutrality with respect to South Africa. [Note: the author starting working at the American Committee on Africa about November 1968, most likely this was written when he worked at ACOA.]
Used by permission Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers