More than 80 students and faculty last night joined members of the Southern Africa Solidarity Committee (SASC) in picketing outside Winthrop House, to protest the arrival of recruiters from the Chase Manhattan Bank. The protesters objected to Chase's refusal to make a public commitment against future loans to the South African government and its agencies.
Only 20 of the 80 students who signed up for interviews showed up at Winthrop last night.
"We are demonstrating because the bank refuses to make a clear policy statement that it will stop all loans to the government of South Africa or its public corporations until such time that a system of majority rule is implemented in that country." Peter M. Sacks '79-3, a member of SASC, said yesterday.
Demonstrators, led by members of SASC and the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC), chanted "Chase Manhattan foots the bill, Botha's army shoots to kill," and other slogans to the beats of bongo drums as Chase recruiters interviewed students inside Winthrop.
James Whitcomb one of the Chase recruiters, said last night he was not aware of the bank's involvement in South Africa. He added, however, "the bank will not lend to any group for something we see will support apartheid."
Although the bank does not currently extend loans to the South African government or its agencies, the bank's policy statement says it will continue to loan to the government or other agencies if it believes the loan would benefit all segments of South African society.
The Harvard Corporation has stated it will not hold certificates of deposit in any bank that is currently making, rolling over or renewing loans to the South African government. The Corporation holds no such investments in Chase Manhattan.
Joseph M. Schwartz, a second-year student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a member of DSOC, said last night that the group believes any loans to South Africa "help to prop up" the economy of that nation and strengthen the apartheid system.
A spokesman for Chase said yesterday the protesting group of students is "ill-advised, misinformed," and "guilty of making untrue claims without having checked the facts." He added the bank has "been a leader in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa."
Howard Schomer '37, a member of the board of the National Council of Churches--a New York-based group which keeps track of corporate ties with South Africa--said yesterday that although some groups within the council have approved Chase's policy, the majority of the 32 denominations do not think Chase's policy is satisfactory.
Chase's statement does not deal with the problem of loans to para-state organizations, Schomer said, adding that the bank has not made any statement regarding its policy of renewing loans to South Africa.
The Chase spokesman said yesterday the bank has received "enthusiastic compliments from the National Council of Churches, for our laudable position with respect to South Africa.