811.61248A/87a Suppl: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in the Union of South Africa (Totten)

10. Department’s 8, September 19, 3 p.m. We do not believe that the South African Minister, possibly for reasons of economy in toll [Page 874] charges, has given his government sufficient information to enable it to comprehend developments here leading to the ultimate admission of grapes sterilized outside of the United States.… makes it necessary for us to ask you to convey to appropriate officials substantially the following:

The experimental work which has been carried on for the past year to the exclusion of much other work and at the expense of progression a broader front was purely as an accommodation to the South African Government.
The earliest results of the experiments reached the Bureau in September. These were informally and exclusively recited to the South African representatives here, to whom it was explained that no public announcement could be made at that time because several other governments were interested in the same question. The first results available showed that grapes were safely sterilized after 15 days at 32 degrees. The Chief of the Bureau stated that he fully expected that higher temperatures would prove to be safe.
The South African entomologists and the Legation staffs have insisted for some time that sterilization equipment was available on vessels leaving South African ports. In the belief that such information was correct Strong offered to send experts to see this equipment, orally indicating that if it were capable of holding the fruit at 32 degrees for 15 days, his Bureau might be disposed to issue for the first time in its existence and as a further accommodation to the South Africans an order permitting the entry of grapes sterilized outside of the United States. The process of examining the equipment need not be delayed by the experiments in Hawaii, results of which were continuing to come in rapidly. He felt sanguine of higher temperatures but could not then make a definite announcement even orally.
During the time between September 14 and the present the results have actually been more favorable and the Bureau has now issued a public order authorizing the entry of grapes which have been sterilized 12 days at 34 degrees. This information was conveyed to Close on November 9, with the additional information that the experts are still awaiting an invitation to view the equipment.
It seems regrettable that after repeated insistence that equipment was available there now seems to be doubt that existing equipment is suitable. We feel that the South African Government should make some effort to convey to the complaining farmers that the fault for this and any other recent delays does not rest with the United States Government, which has gone further to accommodate in this particular matter than is customary.
If you see no objection you might tactfully suggest that the conclusion of an exclusive contract between the South African Government and any given shipping line for the carriage of South African fruits, might result in some confusion, since importers in this country may have their own ideas regarding the means of transportation of the goods which they are purchasing. It is conceivable to us that an importer, who has the right to state his own conditions, may prefer to have his fruit shipped by direct line.