A confidential State Department telegram published last month by "Southern Africa" magazine states there is widespread support among black South Africans for the withdrawal of American corporations from that country.
The telegram, written by William Bowdler, former United States ambassador to South Africa, states that not only workers and students, but also black businessman, want U.S. corporations to withdraw from South Africa.
Several State Department spokesmen yesterday declined to confirm the authenticity of the telegram--which "Southern Africa" received from an undisclosed source--and denied that there is widespread support for corporate withdrawal.
"The apartheid system leaves great room for the improvement of blacks," William Eden, economic affairs officer of the Southern Africa Bureau of the State Department, said yesterday. He added that "the blacks are very upset with the apartheid system, but it is not targeted at the United States."
"Unfortunately, there is no way to judge black attitudes," Michael A. Chisek, assistant officer of the Southern Africa Bureau of the State Department, said yesterday.
Chisek added that the United States government does not plan to follow "an active policy toward the disinvestment of American firms from South Africa."
Christopher J. Nteta '72, a member of the African National Congress of South Africa and a student at the Divinity School, said yesterday he disagrees with this State Department assessment of black attitudes towards foreign investment.
"Without exception, all major black institutions in South Africa want foreign corporations to get out," Nteta said yesterday, adding, "U.S. corporations might pay more but that's not relevant--black Africans want to take control over their own destiny.