The Assistant Secretary of State (Sayre) to the South African Minister (Close)

My Dear Mr. Minister: Upon my return to Washington, which was shortly after Mr. Phillips’ departure, it became my privilege to take up the study of the matters set forth in your letter dated August 24, 1936, to Mr. Phillips. I am glad to say that we have made some [Page 872] headway in a solution of both the wines and spirits question and the grape question.

I quote below from a recent letter from the Federal Alcohol Administrator outlining its policy with regard to changes in regulations.

“This Administration has learned with deep regret through recent conversations with your Mr. Minter that certain regulations recently promulgated by the Administration, governing the labeling of alcoholic beverages, have worked hardship upon foreign shippers by reason of the fact that these regulations became effective within a very short time after their promulgation and without sufficient time intervening to enable foreign shippers to make the necessary adjustments.

“With a view to avoiding occurrences of this nature in the future, the Administration, so far as it is possible to do so under the law, will permit existing labeling regulations to remain in effect and will propose amendments to these regulations only where such amendments appear to be essential to the carrying out of the mandate of Congress.

“In cases where amendments to the regulations seem necessary we shall, of course, give notice to all interested parties of the proposed amendments and provide the importers, as well as the domestic interests, with an opportunity to be heard publicly upon these proposals. If the proposals are adopted after public hearing, it shall be the policy of the Administration to give to the industry sufficient notice of such approval in advance of the effective date of the amendments to make the necessary adjustments and corrections.”

With regard to the fruit question I quote for your records a portion of a recent letter from the Secretary of Agriculture:

“When the South African entomologists were here in the latter part of 1935 entomologists of the Department considered with them the data which had been accumulated by the two groups of workers. Before they left they were told by representatives of the Department that the time temperature studies of the Department then under way would be set aside as quickly as practicable and that the laboratory in Hawaii would take up a study of the particular range of time temperature treatment in which South Africa was most interested. Before this could be done with proper accuracy some new equipment had to be purchased and the large supplies of immature stages of the Mediterranean fruit fly necessary for such a study had to be built up. The Mediterranean fruit fly, as is the case with other insects, fluctuates in abundance in different seasons and preparations for such an undertaking necessarily require time and the nature of the preparations is such that the time required during the more unfavorable seasons of the year can not be materially decreased. These preparations have been made, the work is under way, and we are advised that every effort is being made by the specialists of the Department to expedite the work as much as possible.”

You have more recently learned of the results of recent experiments by the United States Department of Agriculture which are coming in rapidly and of the plans which the United States Department [Page 873] of Agriculture now has for concluding its investigations at as early a date as possible.

I shall hope to be in constant touch with developments in this matter and you may be assured of my willingness to cooperate in every way in effecting a speedy solution of this whole problem.

I take this occasion to express my own appreciation of the attitude which you and your government have held throughout, and I hope that we shall all be rewarded with a happy solution.

Very sincerely yours,

Francis B. Sayre