1ished regarding this book indicating that it contains controversial matter, I have not been particularly concerned about the opinions of the British Council of Churches and to date have not read what has been published by it."
Capetown's Anglican Archbishop Selby has not yet read the book but his secretary repeated the Archbishop's comment in his official magazine when the report was first issued in October:
"I hope the report will be published and widely read by South Africans, It appears to me that those who produced the report did so on truly Christian principles. We may not all like the conclusions but it is difficult for anyone who has read the report to call in question the motives of those who wrote it. The conclusions will doubtless provoke many to a sense of anger. But why should we be angry when people seek to be helpful?"
Dr. A. J. Vartdermerwe, Cape Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church, declined comment, not having read the report yet.
In England, two Catholics who took part in meetings preparing the report praised it as a big step forward.
The official Catholic observer, Fr. Gerard Meath, Dominican Provincial in England, said the best thing the report did was to "affirm the principle that discrimination on the basis of colour is unjust".
Church people "have a responsibility to speak out on basic political principles", he went on. "I don't see how we can keep bur months shut. But first we have to get our heads clear and our consciences clear, and the report is to
be applauded for doing just that."
But he personally disagreed with the report's practical recommendations to the Government. "1 don't think these various sanctions will work For instance. if we cut off supplies of weapons, someone else will step in and give them."
. Dr. Richard Gray, who actively joined in the meetings and signed the report, agreed with all the conclusions and suggestions.
"The report's real significance and originality is that for the first time it directs people's attention to steps that can be taken to dissociate this country from South Africa's apartheid.
Dr. Gray, reader in African history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, was glad the report "didn't restrict itself to moral condemnations. There have been so many of those in the past". At a press conference in London on Monday given by members of the working party that produced the report, Mr. K. R. Johnstone said the report "offers a reasoned case of the situation in South Africa as we see it, as the basis for a dialogue with them. This has never before been done".
The Rev. T. A. Beetham, chairman, said he and the secretary spent six weeks in South Africa talking with Catholic, Protestant and Anglican Church leaders.
While critics might say Church bodies should not meddle in political matters, he said, "if you regard your Christian faith as an influence on your attitude to world affairs, then you get caught up in the tension of the body politic. Our interpretation of the Christian faith is that it has to be applied to our condition in the world".
Mr. Noel Salter, secretary of the party, said copies of the report had been sent to South African Churches, and that here in England committees were being set up to study replies made by them. "When the replies come we want our study groups to give them the ultimate possible attention," he said.