The Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR) voted last night to support a resolution asking the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) not to expand its investments in Chile until the Pinochet regime there restores complete civil and political rights.
Five ACSR members voted for the proposal, while two voted against it. Four committee members recommended that the Corporation abstain on the resolution.
Committee members decided to support the proposal because they thought ARCO's invesments in Chile had a significant effect in stabilizing Pinochet's military government, Detley F. Vagts '49, professor of law and chairman of the committee, said yesterday.
In another action, the ACSR decided in a nearly unanimous vote not to ask the Eastman Kodak Company to abandon its operations in South Africa. Committee members thought the company's presence might benefit both Black and white factory workers, Richard Valeely, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences representative to the ACSR, said yesterday.
Foreign investments help promote the human rights trangressions of the Pinochet regime, John Womack '59, professor of history, said yesterday, adding that the foreign capital influx permits the Chilean government to institute "free market" economic policies unpopular among the country's wage earners, including the suppression of all attempts to organize labor unions.
Womack added that the withdrawal of all U.S. investments from Chile would severely undermine the operation of Pinochet's military regime. "They [the military leaders] would not be able to carry out the economic policies they propose. They would go broke, effectively. Hopefully the government would then fall," he said.
A halt in foreign investment may not induce the Chilean regime to change its policies, Mary L. O'Connor, who has prepared reports on corporate activity in Chile for the Investor Responsibilty Research Center, a Washington consulting firm, said yesterday.
"Some people would say cutting off investments in Chile would only make Pinochet more intransigent. Instead, he would turn to other countries for aid," she added.
The ARCO resolution resembles the pattern of shareholder resolutions meant to bring public attention to corporate activities in South Africa, Lawrence F. Stevens '65, secretary of the ACSR, said yesterday. He added, however, that he could not speculate why activist shareholders singled out South Africa and Chile as targets for their proposals when many other developing countries have poor human rights records.
Vagts, who was one of the ACSR who recommended abstention on the ARCO resolution, said he does not think "corporations have the skills, the knowledge, or the mandate to conduct foreign policy." He cited an earlier ACSR voted against a proposal to ban IBM's trade with communist countries as an instance when the committee decided against asking a corporation to participate in international politics