Message to the House of
Representatives Returning Without Approval a Bill Concerning Apartheid in
To the House of Representatives:
am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 4868, the Comprehensive
Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Title III of this bill would seriously impede the
prospects for a peaceful end to apartheid and the establishment of a free and
open society for all in
Administration has no quarrel with the declared purpose of this measure.
Indeed, we share that purpose: To send a clear signal to the South African
Government that the American people view with abhorrence its codified system of
racial segregation. Apartheid is an affront to human rights and human dignity.
Normal and friendly relations cannot exist between the
while we vigorously support the purpose of this legislation, declaring economic
warfare against the people of
sweeping and punitive sanctions adopted by the Congress are targeted directly
at the labor intensive industries upon which the victimized peoples of
Banning the import of sugar, for example, would threaten the livelihood of 23,000 black farmers. Banning the import of natural resources is a sanction targeted directly at the mining industries of South Africa, upon which more than half a million black laborers depend for their livelihood.
prohibiting the importation of food and agricultural products, the measure
would invite retaliation by
we truly helping the black people of
then, is the first and foremost reason I cannot support this legislation.
Punitive economic sanctions would contribute directly and measurably to the
misery of people who already have suffered enough. Using
imposition of punitive sanctions would also deliver a devastating blow to the
neighboring states in southern Africa that depend on Pretoria for
transportation, energy, markets, and food. An estimated
million-and-a-half foreign workers, legal and illegal, now live in
the South African economy and creating more unemployment will only fuel the
tragic cycle of violence and repression that has gripped that troubled country.
Black unemployment in
feature of the bill would require the Administration to publicly identify
within six months any and all nations that have chosen not to join us in
observing the U.N. arms embargo against South Africa, ``with a view to
terminating United States military assistance to those countries.'' But the
only does this legislation contain sweeping punitive sanctions that would
injure most the very people we seek to help, the legislation discards our economic
leverage, constricts our diplomatic freedom, and ties the hands of the
President of the United States in dealing with a gathering crisis in a critical
subcontinent where the Soviet Bloc -- with its mounting investment of men and
arms -- clearly sees historic opportunity. Therefore, I am also vetoing the
bill because it contains provisions that infringe on the President's
constitutional prerogative to articulate the foreign policy of the
are, however, several features of the measure that the Administration supports.
Title II of the bill, for example, mandates affirmative measures to eliminate
apartheid and provide assistance to its victims, including support for black
participation in business enterprises as owners, managers, and professionals.
It authorizes the President to take steps for the purpose of assisting firms to
fight apartheid and extend equal opportunity to blacks in investment,
management, and employment. The bill also contains a number of other useful and
realistic provisions, such as those calling upon the African National Congress
(ANC) to reexamine its Communist ties and mandating a report on the activities
of the Communist Party in
The Administration has been -- and remains -- prepared to work with the Congress to devise measures that manifest the American people's united opposition to apartheid -- without injuring its victims. We remain ready to work with the Congress in framing measures that -- like the 1962 U.S. embargo of military sales and the carefully targeted sanctions of my own Executive order of 1985 -- keep the United States at arms distance from the South African regime, while keeping America's beneficent influence at work bringing about constructive change within that troubled society and nation.
remains my hope that the
Americans should recoil at what their television screens bring them from South
Africa -- the violence, the repression, the terror -- speaks well of us as a
people. But the historic crisis in
the postwar era, we Americans have succeeded when we left our partisan
differences at the water's edge -- and persevered; as we did in the rebuilding
Let us not forget our purpose. It is not to damage or destroy any economy, but to help the black majority of South Africa and southern Africa enjoy a greater share of the material blessings and bounties their labor has helped to produce -- as they secure as well their legitimate political rights. That is why sweeping punitive sanctions are the wrong course to follow, and increased American and Western investment -- by firms that are breaking down apartheid by providing equal opportunity for the victims of official discrimination -- is the right course to pursue.
Our goal is a democratic system in which the rights of majorities, minorities, and individuals are protected by a bill of rights and firm constitutional guarantees.
The White House,
Note: H.R. 4868, which passed over the President's veto on October 2, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 440.