5 DECEMBER 1952, Page 20

South Africa

SER,—As a former pupil of the famous missionary school from which Dr. Shepherd writes as Principal, I salute his defence of the Nationalist Government's "good works" to the Non-European people of South Africa. I suggest, however, that this side of the picture does not blush unseen by S. Africa's overseas critics, as Dr. Shepherd believes.

Here in London, the Nationalist Government maintains an information office. For instance, in a recent televiSion broadcast in which I was invited to give the reasons ior black, people's discontent in S. Africa, the Director of this office was also invited to give the white man's side, and he ably enumerated the facts given by Dr. Shepherd.

May I submit that the S. African Government's critics are not satisfied with the principle of merely doing good to a subject people, but believe in the policy of the British Government, as laid down by Lord Salisbury on Nevember, 18th, 1952, when he said: " The aim of their policy (was) the advancement of all communities without discrimination on grounds of race, colour or creed. Progress must, in our view, be based on partnership between races, not on domination by any."

Is it not right, therefore, to criticise the ethics of denying whole populations the democratic right of political representation, the freedom of movement or all hope of being accorded a status of dignity as human beings if their skins are not white ?

All assurances of efficacious charitable offices leave critics cold because their concern is whether it is morally defensible for a powerful minority to maintain its politically and economically privileged position at the expense of a powerless majority by increasing farce and repressive legislation.

The critics' point is whether or not the white man in South Africa is there to spread and share his "Christian western civilisation,' spiritually and materially. The Nationalists' case is that they perform this function in causing the black man to be the servant, for all time, of the white—as ordained in the Old Testament. Overseas criticism iS directed at this interpretation of the white man's role in Africa, and at the school of thought which holds that South Africa's economy must forever be based on the policy of lowly-paid migrant labour.

South Africa's uneasy resentment of this criticism (which is such a marked feature of her present relationship with oversea countries) is a sign that, deep down inside her, she is aware that it is justified.—

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