Archive (Reagan Library)

South Africa: State Department memorandum for NSC (“AID program in South Africa”) [declassified 1999]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: State Department
Source: Reagan Library (NSC African Affairs Directorate Box 91026)
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 370
Themes: Commonwealth (South Africa), Foreign policy (Africa), British policy towards South Africa


January 9, 1985 [sic] 1986

SUBJECT: AID Program in South Africa

On January 7, State and AID debriefed Phil and me on the AID program in South Africa. Of the $30 m. for Southern Africa, Congress ear-marked $15 m. for regional activities. Adding $5 m., South Africa will have $20 m. in FY 1986 and $25 m. in 1987. All assistance will be provided to private groups, not the SAG.

The AID program will be unique in the unprecedented degree of U.S. domestic interest among individuals, businesses and universities with investments in S.A. and Congress. We should try to capitalize on this interest from a public diplomacy perspective, and use the AID program to demonstrate how constructive engagement can help the victims of aparthied to improve their political and economic condition.

The objectives of the program (cleared by State and AID, but not by the NSC) are to build bridges between the U.S. and disadvantaged S.A. communities; promote communication and cooperation among all S.A. groups; assist in the development of future leaders; and promote political and social changes away from apartheid and toward a democratic political system. State and AID explicitly decided that the program should not include economic objectives, as development is the responsibility of the SAG. Still, we should help Blacks who are disadvantaged economically, as this may reduce violence, promote moderation and improve their bargaining position.

The program will build on a previous AID program of $4 million. Of the $20 m. for 1986, half will support academic training (and secondary school preparation) of future leaders. The U.S. cost of scholarships is $40,000 per year (requiring five years for a B.A.), or about five times as much as training within S.A. Human rights, legal assistance, and support to labor unions will absorb $2.5 m. The remainder will support S.A. Black groups, a Bank, and matching grants to U.S. universities and groups. The program is sound, but additional support to Black businesses, job-related training for urban youths, and Black housing through Black businesses and similar initiatives could increase the immediacy of impact and provide a framework for corporate involvement.

cc: Walt Raymond