JOHANNESBURG, OCT. 16 -- Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said today he will continue to travel outside South Africa to talk with the outlawed African National Congress despite a government threat to seize the passports of citizens who meet with ANC leaders.

Reacting to a warning by Home Affairs Minister Stoffel Botha that the government will confiscate the passports of anyone known to have traveled outside the country to talk with the ANC, Tutu said it would be "quite intolerable" for a secular authority such as the government to prescribe for churchmen how to fulfill their "Christian mandate to be peacemakers.

"It is obvious that you need to speak to both sides involved in strife if you are to succeed in efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement," the Nobel peace prize laureate said in a statement.

He added, "I will continue to meet the ANC. . . . I will have to accept the consequences of reprisals."

Botha, speaking at a National Party provincial convention yesterday in Durban, warned that the government would take steps against South Africans who "persist in negotiating with murderers."

While the government could not know in advance about every such meeting, Botha said, "people must understand that it is just not {permitted} to talk with the enemy."

In July, the government had no official reaction when 67 mostly Afrikaner businessmen, professors, politicians and farmers visited Dakar, Senegal, to meet with senior ANC officials. Last month, 200 white and black South Africans traveled to Harare, Zimbabwe, for a conference on detained children, where they met with ANC President Oliver Tambo and other senior officials of the banned organization.

At the Harare meeting, ANC officials disclosed that since July South African government emissaries had approached ANC members three times in Botswana and Zambia to inquire whether ANC officials would be willing to meet secretly with an unidentified government minister. Cabinet officials have denied that any such approaches were approved at a high level of government.