848A.24/183: Telegram

The Consul at Capetown (Denby) to the Secretary of State

151. From the Minister.

“The Department’s 20, February 3, 7 p.m.18 I saw the Prime Minister this morning, immediately after arrival from Johannesburg, [Page 181]and read him the President’s message. He asked me for a written copy and I gave him a paraphrase in the form of an aide-mémoire. He appeared favorably disposed as regards the desired commitments listed in paragraph 19 of the Department’s telegram 22 [19], February 3, 9 [6] p.m.

He said he would inquire into the coal question at once. To show him that compliance might not be difficult, I told him of Sharpstone’s19 information contained in paragraph 2 of telegram 30 of January 20 [19] from Johannesburg19a and of our willingness to consider granting priorities on coal shipments should congestion occur (see paragraph 19 of telegram 22 [19]). He is personally deeply impressed with the magnitude of the submarine menace and understood fully the importance attached to this matter.

In regard to the proposed supply council, he was particularly pleased with the idea that it would be established in South Africa.

He brought up the question of the gold mines, saying that he is forced to look after their needs and that the British are also interested in South African gold production. To this I only said that I supposed that this problem, among other questions of supply, is one of the things the proposed council would be expected to solve and pointed out that the British would be represented on the council as well as the Americans and South Africans. He registered real satisfaction over the fact that no mention of gold mining was made in the President’s message.

In general, I stressed the fact that we want to do everything we can for South Africa within the limitations imposed upon us by the war, the successful prosecution of which, moreover, must be his chief aim as well as ours. He promised to let me hear from him soon.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. David Sharpstone, of Metals Reserve Company, and representative on an economic mission to South Africa.
  3. Not printed.