South Africa

Just before the recent general strike, African National Congress Presi-dent Nelson Mandela telephoned the chairmen of the country's 30 largest corporations. He asked them not to dismiss striking workers, implying that if they complied, the stalled political negotiations would soon begin again.

It was the clearest sign yet that the deep political crisis that has halted the talks on majority rule could soon be over. President F.W. deKlerk has been weakened by domestic and international criticism of his handling of recent violence in black areas. He is also being pressured to compromise by Herman J. Cohen, the visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs. Cohen has been telling deKlerk that the white minority cannot hope to have a veto over policies once the majority takes over.

DeKlerk may go for a deal now being brokered by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance. Vance's formula calls for the quick establishment of an interim government while negotiations on the country's political future continue.

While the ANC's tough tactics appear to have paid off, Mandela, too, has reason to want the negotiations resumed and tensions reduced. He is worried that investor confidence in the economy of the country that he aims to govern will otherwise be irrevocably damaged.

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