The State Department on Monday formally accepted South Africa’s appointment of a new ambassador to the United States, ending a five-month delay caused by the Reagan Administration’s displeasure at South African policies.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the decision to recognize Herbert Beukes as South Africa’s ambassador does not mean an easing of policy toward the Pretoria government but merely reflects a desire “to use all possible channels of communication.”
“Our relations with South Africa remain troubled,” Redman said.
Redman said the Administration remains concerned by the white minority government’s slow progress toward ending racial discrimination, harsh repression of demonstrators, military raids into Angola and violations of a peace pact with neighboring Mozambique.
‘All Possible Channels’
“The gravity of the domestic situation in South Africa and continuing regional violence mandate that the United States utilize all possible channels of communication to convey to the South African government the need for immediate domestic reform and progress toward regional peace,” he said.
Beukes, who has been in diplomatic limbo as ambassador-designate since April 3, presented his credentials to Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead in a meeting Monday afternoon.
Most foreign envoys are routinely accredited within a few weeks of their appointment, but the State Department initially delayed formal acceptance of Beukes to protest South African raids into Angola. The Administration also recalled U.S. Ambassador Herman Nickel from Pretoria in June to protest the raids and kept him here until the beginning of September.
Beukes must still formally present his credentials to President Reagan to complete the process of accreditation, but he can now function fully as ambassador, Redman said.