The article (Editorial Pages, June 6), “Firms’ Total Disengagement Is the Only Effective Way,” contains inaccurate information about IBM in South Africa. While we do not wish to take issue with the point of view expressed in the article, we do wish to correct the errors.
Your readers should know that IBM has a longstanding policy of not bidding for business when we believe our equipment will be used for repressive purposes. Under this policy, IBM does not and will not sell equipment to the South African military, police, prisons, agencies for the national security, or agencies that administer the passbook system.
We do not believe IBM’s economic well-being is at risk by our presence in South Africa. IBM could depart South Africa with very little financial sacrifice. IBM South Africa generates less than 1% of IBM’s worldwide revenues. But we believe the right thing to do is to remain and redouble our efforts to advance social equality.
IBM believes apartheid is reprehensible. We also believe the presence of IBM and other enlightened companies can have a positive effect on change in South Africa, and we will continue to work actively to bring about equality in that troubled country.
ROBERT J. SIEGEL
Siegel is director of information of IBM.