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US Denounces Plan to Ban Foreign Financing of Political Groups

March 2, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department on Wednesday denounced a South African government proposal to block foreign financing of political groups and individuals, perhaps including those receiving $25 million from the U.S. government.

″We regard this legislation as unwarranted,″ said spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley.

″Coming on the heels of last week’s effective outlawing of most anti- apartheid organizations, this is further evidence that the South African government, not content with being isolated by others from the rest of the world, is determined to isolate itself from Western democracies and the world abroad.

Tuesday’s proposal, apparently aimed at more groups than 17 anti-apartheid organizations hit by the government last week, would restrict groups found to receive foreign money.

In the current fiscal year, the United States has allocated $25 million to fund scholarships for South African blacks in their country and in the United States, to help develop businesses owned by black, for community help projects and labor union training, Mrs. Oakley said.

The financing, which does not flow through the government as it does in most countries receiving U.S. aid, is designed to show solidarity with anti- apartheid movements and perhaps broaden American influence among black critics of South Africa’s white minority government.

″Americans, like others throughout the civilized world, are providing help to groups seeking peaceful change in South Africa,″ Mrs. Oakley said. ″The South African government’s action may well discourage such efforts.″

″For our part, we intend to continue our support for constructive change and expanded black opportunity,″ she said. ″And we urge those concerned with a democratic alternative to apartheid to do likewise.″

At the South African Embassy, meantime, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., led a group of 60 anti-apartheid protesters into police vans, marking his 42nd arrest during three decades as a civil rights leader.

Lewis and the others were charged with violating a local ordinance that prohibits demonstrations with 500 feet of an embassy. The maximum penalty is a $100 fine and 60 days in jail, but South African officials have routinely declined to seek prosecutions in numerous similar protests in the past.

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