The House : South Africa

By a vote of 150 for and 268 against, the House rejected an amendment to soften proposed U.S. economic sanctions against the white-minority government of South Africa. The amendment sought to exempt from the sanctions any South African-based company, American or foreign, that abides by the fair-employment code developed by Philadelphia minister Leon Sullivan.

Employers under the Sullivan principles must provide non-discriminatory working and housing conditions. About 75% of the approximately 280 U.S. companies doing business in South Africa are Sullivan signatories.

The vote occurred just before the House repudiated the Administration and passed, on a non-record vote, a far-reaching bill to penalize Pretoria for its official policy of racial segregation known as apartheid.

The bill (HR 4868) cuts virtually all U.S. economic ties with South Africa, requiring American companies to cease operating there within 180 days. Also, it bans all imports from South Africa except for certain strategic metals, and bars South African airliners from landing in the United States.

The bill was sent to the Republican-controlled Senate where its future appears dim.


Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who sponsored the amendment, said strengthening compliance with the Sullivan principles was preferable to economic sanctions that would diminish U.S. influence over the South African government.

Opponent Howard Wolpe (D-Mich.) said, “The struggle against apartheid is no longer a struggle for desegregated workplaces or improved working conditions--it is a struggle for political rights.”

Members voting yes wanted to soften the sanctions bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Bates (D) x Rep. Hunter (R) x Rep. Lowery (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x

SALT Treaty

The House, by a vote of 187 for and 222 against, rejected a Republican-sponsored amendment that would have reinforced President Reagan’s plan to disregard certain limits of the SALT II arms-control treaty with the Soviet Union. Reagan recently announced that the United States is no longer bound by the 1979 pact, which the Senate has not ratified but which has been respected by U.S. administrations.

Accusing the Soviets of repeatedly violating the treaty, Reagan said the U.S. probably will exceed SALT limits later this year when it deploys another B-52 bomber equipped with Cruise missiles.

Members voting no wanted Reagan to continue adhering to the SALT II treaty.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Bates (D) x Rep. Hunter (R) x Rep. Lowery (R) x Rep. Packard (R) x