Harvard and South Africa


To the Editors of The Crimson:

The news that Harvard plans to establish a program of graduate studies for black South Africans is welcome. But such a policy should not distract us from the more fundamental issues that students brought up last year.

Harvard has repeatedly refused to call for all United States corporations to withdraw from South Africa. It has ignored the overwhelming evidence that foreign investors provide strategic, military and economic support to the racist apartheid system. No amount of education for a necessarily tiny number of individuals will offset the damage done by Harvard's tacit support of the status quo.

In this light, it is disturbing that Lawrence Stevens '65, a University spokesman, is apparently reverting to examination of United States firms employment practices in South Africa to decide if Harvard should call for their withdrawal from South Africa. Such a criterion totally neglects the corporations' role in supplying advanced technology, military equipment, and finance to the white-minority regime. As all United States corporations together employ 70,000 blacks in South Africa, to see how any improvement in their workers conditions will break down apartheid. At the same time, U.S. investors provide such crucial inputs as oil (40 per cent of the country's needs) and computers (IBM has sold them to both the Defence Department and the Atomic Energy Board in South Africa).

Last year, the University recognized the importance of such sales, without admitting the overall negative role of United States companies in South Africa. Hopefully, it will not now ignore that decision. Neva Seidman Makgetla '78


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