President Reagan today rejected the "emotional clamor" for punitive sanctions against South Africa and urged the white-minority ruled government to set a timetable for elimination of its apartheid laws.
After hearing Reagan's speech, black Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu said the West "can go to hell."
In a telephone interview just after Reagan spoke in Washington, Tutu angrily denounced the President's opposition to economic sanctions against South Africa.
"I found the speech nauseating," Tutu told Britain's Independent Television News from Johannesburg.
Criticizes Western Leaders
The 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner said Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl--all of whom oppose strict sanctions--are saying to blacks: "You are utterly dispensable, and forget about us.
"I am quite angry," Tutu went on. "I think the West, for my part, can go to hell."
In a White House address to top Administration officials and invited foreign policy specialists, Reagan said, "We must stay and work, not cut and run."
Struggling to retain control of U.S. policy without bowing to growing congressional pressure for tougher action, Reagan offered few alternatives other than to continue pressing the South African government to ease its policies and avert further violence.
Stresses Harm to Blacks
As he has in the past, he stressed the need to remain involved in South Africa, particularly economically, on the ground that reprisals would hurt the black workers and have adverse effects on the West.
"It would be a historic act of folly for the United States and the West--out of anguish and frustration and anger--to write off South Africa," the President said.
Reagan urged the setting of a timetable to eliminate apartheid; the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, head of the African National Congress; the legalizing of banned black political movements, and the start of a dialogue to construct a political system that rests upon the consent of the governed where the rights of the minorities are protected by laws.
Steps Urged for Years
Those are all steps the United States has urged for years upon the reluctant South African government, which in recent months has clamped ever-tighter restrictions on the black population in an effort to maintain order in the face of growing violence.
Speaking from the East Room in his first major address on the subject in nearly a year, Reagan at no point mentioned his policy by the name of "constructive engagement," which has been strongly criticized on Capitol Hill.
"I urge the Congress--and the countries of Western Europe--to resist this emotional clamor for punitive sanctions," Reagan said. "If post-apartheid South Africa is to remain the economic locomotive of southern Africa, its strong and developed economy must not be crippled.
"America's view of apartheid has been, and remains, clear," Reagan said. "Apartheid is morally wrong and politically unacceptable."
'We Share Outrage'
Reagan said, "We share the outrage Americans have come to feel." But he warned that not only is there violence by South African security forces, but also "violent attacks by blacks against blacks."
Reagan also was critical of moves for total disinvestment of U.S. business interests in South Africa as contained in a House-passed bill.
"If disinvestment is mandated, these progressive Western forces will depart and South African proprietors will inherit, at fire sale prices, their farms and factories, plants and mines.
"How would this end apartheid?" he asked.