The Multinational Monitor


L E T T E R S   T O   T H E   E D I T O R


To the Editor:

I write in an attempt to correct some of the major inaccuracies contained in Nicholas Burnett's article, in the February issue ("Kaiser short-circuits Ghanaian development").

It is both unfair and inaccurate to describe Valco as an "enclave" operation that augments a foreign corporation's profits while contributing little to the economic progress of Ghana. The facts are that without an aluminum smelter as the major consumer of electricity, it would have been uneconomic to build the Akosombo dam and hydroelectric plant. Valco provides all the foreign exchange needed to service Akosombo's construction debt. Valco employs over 2,200 Ghanaians and has contributed more than $232 million to Ghana's foreign exchange

It is totally false to allege that Kaiser Aluminum never acted in good faith to help Ghana develop alumina refining. Kaiser Aluminum and its Japanese partners in 1975 prepared and submitted to the government of Ghana a thorough study of the feasibility of a bauxite/ alumina project in Ghana. It showed a negative cash flow for the first seven years of operation. When the project is economically viable and capable of being financed, Kaiser Aluminum will hope to be a participant.

It is unfair and inaccurate to describe The Valco Fund as only a token act of public relations. Through 1979, Valco contributed $1.7 million to the Fund. It will contribute more than $5 million dollars to the fund in 1980 and if operations go well, more in years to come.

We take great pride in the Valco organization and the Ghanaian people who make it the excellent enterprise it is. We feel very strongly about our responsibilities to host countries, and we firmly believe an objective analysis would reveal that we have fully lived up to our obligations as corporate citizens in Ghana.

- Ward B. Saunders, Jr.
Managing Director
Volta Aluminum Company
Oakland, California

Nicaraguan aid logjam

To the Editor:

Charles Roberts' piece on Nicaragua in the March issue ("Nicaragua: The _Unfolding Scene") was quite perceptive and well done. There is one point, however, that needs clarification. This is in the area of the $75 million aid package reported as approved by the U.S. Congress. Though approved by both houses of Congress, the measure may very well have subsequently died.

The Senate approved a bill for this aid on January 29th (vote: 53 to 34). The House debate on this went on for four days and centered on Cuban influence in Latin America. After much delay and the inclusion of cluttering amendments, the House passed a similar bill on February 27th (vote: 202 to 197).

At this point, conservatives in the House used procedural tactics to prevent the bill from going to a HouseSenate conference to resolve differences. .lust as the House was about to vote on sending the bill to conference on April 17th, House leaders withdrew it from the calendar ostensibly fearing that the conservatives had the votes to kill it. This is where it languishes.

In the meantime, final action on the foreign appropriations bill, where the funding for the Nicaraguan aid must come from, has been blocked since .Congress has already reached the Omit on fiscal 1980 spending. That bill may never be enacted into law.

Of course, the denial of funds to Nicaragua on the grounds that the Sandinistas are "Cuban-influenced," may actually help accelerate movement in that political direction.

- Paul J. Baicich
Oxon Hill, Md.

Praise from down under

To the Editor:

Please find attached my payment for one year's subscription to your fine publication. As this topic of multinationals is one of my special areas of interest, I am pleased that there is such an excellent piece of literature available.

To you my congratulations and, more importantly, m} support. As a Senator for the Australian Labor Party, which casts a far more critical eye over multinational activity than do our main opponents, the Liberal and National= Country Parties, I would be delighted to any time to contribute to your magazine, should you wish it.

- Arthur Gietzelt
Senator for New South Wales
Parliament of Australia
Carlingbah, N.S.W., Australia

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