WASHINGTON — South African President Frederik W. de Klerk will pay a historic visit to the White House in June, officials said today.
Black leaders called the De Klerk invitation "a slap on the face" to Nelson R. Mandela, who will call on President Bush a week later.
U.S. officials said De Klerk will visit the White House on June 18, the first official visit by a South African president in more than 30 years. But White House and State Department spokesmen declined to confirm the dates.
Bush invited the two men as soon as De Klerk freed Mandela last February after 27 years in prison. The invitations were designed to boost a process, begun in talks earlier this month between De Klerk and Mandela, to grant political rights to South Africa's disenfranchised black majority.
U.S. officials said the decision to have de Klerk's visit precede Mandela's was dictated by the two men's schedules and not by a preference for either leader.