The State Department said yesterday that a Senate bill introduced Wednesday proposing steps to help South Africa's black-majority population and delay consideration of economic sanctions for two years was not an administration bill.
Reacting to a Washington Post article that described the measure in these terms, an official said the State Department had not seen the text of the bill before publication, although it had given "suggestions" to its sponsors, Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.).
"But based on remarks describing the bill, there appear to be some elements of it, notably its emphasis of American support for black advancement, which appear consistent with U.S. policy," the official said. "But it is not an administration bill."
A spokesman for Lugar concurred, saying the administration has not formally endorsed any of numerous bills before the committee regarding punitive actions that the United States might take against South Africa and has not indicated its stance on the Lugar-Dole proposal.
He said one provision of the Lugar-Dole bill, making it mandatory for U.S. companies in South Africa to subscribe to the so-called Sullivan principles on equal treatment for nonwhites, could be objectionable to the administration in light of comments by Secretary of State George P. Shultz last week.
In his address, Shultz noted that some are proposing that the voluntary Sullivan principles be made mandatory and penalties be imposed on firms that do not comply.
"Well-intentioned as these proposals may be, let us not kid ourselves about their likely effect. Given the additional risks and uncertainties which such legislation would create, many U.S. firms are apt to conclude that their continued presence in South Africa is simply no longer worth the candle," Shultz said. "The result will be reduced American influence."