The U.S. government did not show up Monday for the opening of the U.N. Conference on Sanctions Against South Africa, but black American leaders Jesse Jackson and Harry Belafonte attended and made stinging attacks on the Reagan Administration, which they accused of supporting the racist policies of South Africa.
Jackson said the United States would have shown "some sense of humanity, some sense of care" if it had not boycotted the conference, as did South Africa's other two principal trading partners, Britain and West Germany. Belafonte, the singer who has taken an active role in the movement for sanctions against South Africa, described President [Ronald Reagan] as "morally bankrupt, with racist attitudes."
Accusing the United States of "a sleazy partnership with despotism and state terrorism" in South Africa, Jackson said: "The United States, Britain and the Western allies can do without apartheid. Apartheid cannot do without America and the Western democratic allies."