848A.24/188: Telegram

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

186. From the Minister.

“My 151 February 10 from Capetown. The Prime Minister personally handed me this morning a long aide-mémoire stating substantially as follows:

1. He thoroughly agrees that all production should be devoted as much as possible to the war effort and as little as possible to other essential aims.

[Page 183]

However, lie would emphasize the importance of gold mining to South Africa, and says that there are limits to the extent to which it can be cut down without jeopardizing the country’s war effort. Consequently, while ready to agree with the American and British Governments as to such limits, through the medium of the’ proposed joint body, he ‘feels that there should be a joint understanding in advance that within those limits supplies for South Africa’s needs will be made available.’

2. His Government will continue to cooperate fully in meeting increased demands for export coal.

However, availability of railway and other equipment unavoidably obtained from abroad, limits South Africa in this and other production, and if [so?] he pleads for ‘most important’ additional equipment for the steel industry, now on order and anxiously awaited to cut down South Africa’s needs or imports and equivalent shipping.

3. He agrees to the wisdom of setting up a supply program and a joint body to carry it out on conditions acceptable to the three Governments as proposed, and will consider with pleasure and sympathy such detailed proposals as the President may suggest.

The rest of the message expresses thanks to the President and appreciation of his attitude, assurance of agreement with his general point of view, admiration for our contribution to the common cause in the war, especially lend-lease, determination to maintain here a maximum war effort, and a statement that all future supplies requisitioned under priority ratings by the Union Government will, in the latter’s estimation, have the vital character referred to by the President. The full text is being forwarded by airgram.”21

  1. Airgram No. A–60, February 26, 3 p.m., not printed.