Volume #27 - 429.|
RELATIONS AVEC DES PAYS PARTICULIERS
BOYCOTTAGE DES MARCHANDISES SUD-AFRICAINES
Le premier ministre de la fédération de Malaya|
au premier ministre
le 9 août 1960|
My dear Prime Minister
You will already be aware of the decision taken recently by the Government of the Federation of Malaya to prohibit the import of all South African goods with effect from 1st August, which was announced in the following terms on 6th July, 1960:
"The Government has decided to prohibit the import of all goods of South African origin into this country with effect from 1st August, 1960. This step has been taken only after very careful consideration of the various implications of this country's obligations under the GATT. The Government has felt impelled to adopt this course in view of South Africa's policy towards its own Negro and coloured people, and the insuperable barrier which this policy places in the way of normal relations between South Africa and other African and Asian Nations.
"The Government intends to maintain this stand until such time as the South African Government gives a sufficient indication of its sincere intention to tackle this problem in a humane way."
The main object of this letter is to give you a fuller explanation of our motives and reasons.
2. This Government has of course always expressed its disapproval of the attitude of the South African Government towards its Negro and coloured people. The shootings at Sharpeville and elsewhere of innocent people revealed apartheid as an inhuman policy which has shocked the civilized world. The denial of basic liberties to millions of human beings is a phenomenon which my Government finds difficult to ignore, My Government feels therefore it can no longer allow this to continue unchallenged. We think that positive action must be taken to ensure a change of Heart by South Africa.
3. The present policy of the South African Government constitutes, moreover, a complete bar to normal relations between South Africa and other Asian and African countries. For example citizens of this country are rigidly segregated when they visit South Africa and even our Envoy, if we attempted to establish diplomatic relations, would be treated in the same way. The whole situation is one which we can no longer accept and we are impelled to take some steps to bring home to the South African Government how strongly we feel that they are not only violating human rights and cutting themselves off from other Asian and African countries but also moving in the direction of ultimate disaster to themselves.
4. The range of positive action open to us is limited, and thus it has come about that, after pondering carefully as to our position in relation to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, we have finally reached the conclusion that we can best give a concrete indication of our attitude by prohibiting from 1st August the importation of South African goods.
5. What I have suggested to the South African Foreign Minister as a step which ought to be taken by his Government is the introduction of very limited representation, say 10 members on a limited franchise for the Africans themselves in the South African Parliament. I have suggested that this representation might later be gradually and cautiously enlarged in the light of experience over the years. I believe that African participation in the Government of that country must be gradual if good and humane understanding is to be maintained. But I believe too that a start must be made soon for the sake of the future of humanity and of the orderly progress of South Africa itself. Immediately we in this country see definite signs of such a move we will be ready to consider a return to normal trade relations.
6. The South African Government, relying perhaps on world apathy towards the problem, refuses even to contemplate such a step, and I am led to the conclusion that unless the world shows, in some positive way, that it respects the principle of human rights set out in the U.N. Declaration they will persist in their present course until they are finally engulfed in some cataclysm which might disturb the whole balance of human relations in the world.
7. It is for this reason that I am bringing to your attention the action which my Government has taken on apartheid and asking you to consider whether it would not be in the interest of the future of the human race for your country to give to the world and South Africa some positive indication of your objection to the present dangerous trends in South African policy.
8. You may recall that at the recent Conference of Independent African States in Addis Ababa, a unanimous resolution was adopted for the boycott of South African goods, as well as the denial of air space to all aeroplanes and harbour facilities to all ships from South Africa. Such positive and co-ordinated action as these should have their effect.
9. I am wondering therefore whether you are agreeable that some positive step should be taken and if so, whether you would consider the possibility of taking individual action. You may, on the other hand, prefer that a conference be held to discuss at greater length what action should, and can, be appropriately taken in this matter. My Government would be glad to act as host if it is generally felt that such a conference would be useful. I shall be grateful for your views in this matter as I think we all are equally anxious that the moral reprobation which the world feels in this, as evidenced at the United Nations and elsewhere, should be translated into effective action in order to achieve a just and humane solution to this problem.