When President Reagan and Secretary Gorbachev meet for their summit conference in Geneva, why not begin this conference by simaltaneously viewing Halley's comet at a Swiss observatory? This would be a symbol to the world of the beginning of a very positive summit conference if the two leaders can begin their meetings with something in ``common to us all.'' My son has questioned me a number of times as to whether or not there will be a future. I find this very disconcerting, since as a boy, I never had such considerations. I only hope I can do something that will assist in making a future for him and his children Burton S. Rubin, President Halley Optical Corporation New York
Joseph C. Harsch's article, ``South Africa; sanctions or partition,'' (Aug. 3-9) makes amusing reading. Mr. Harsch, like South Africa's white friends and collaborators in Europe and North America, harps on the same specious argument that South Africa is self-sufficient in everything, so sanctions will not have any effect on South Africa whatsoever.
If sanctions are so ineffective, then why did the value of South African Rand begin to fall as soon as the French decided to freeze new investment in South Africa? One need not be an economist to understand this simple point.
Mr. Harsch rightly says South African whites want to govern their own lives. So does everyone else in the world. What makes South African whites' case so different is that they want to govern their own lives and protect their enormous fortunes in a land that morally, legally, and historically does not belong to them. The land which is under white occupation today belongs to, and always did belong to the indigenous black people of Africa long before the whites landed there.
Mr. Harsch makes the preposterous suggestion that a ``white homeland'' could be carved out of South Africa, with enough farmland, raw materials, and industries to allow the whites to continue enjoying the high standard of living like their brethren in Europe and North America. But why should black Africa bear the burden of ensuring the continuance of the high standard of living of 5 million whites? Why can't the affluent countries of Europe and North America carve out portions of land from their own t erritories to provide an affluent homeland for these unfortunate whites?
Who gave Mr. Harsch the right to suggest redrawing the map of Africa? What makes him so sure that the black majority countries will accept a majority white country with open arms? Africa does not need a new ``white tribe!'' These whites are welcome to stay in South Africa within the framework of a democratic, egalitarian, and multi-racial society, but not as a pampered, privileged, and racially superior ``tribe.''
The whites may have been in South Africa too long, and it is a pity they have nowhere to go, but that does not give anyone the divine right to cut up Africa as was done during colonial times. Will the alienated and underprivileged blacks in the United States, who are a minority there, be given such an option? Sudipta Dutt Lesotho