The Acting Secretary of State to the Consul at Capetown (Denby)
44. For the Minister. Your 186, February 19, from Capetown. Prime Minister’s reception of President’s message seems to us encouraging, since main points of our proposal have been accepted in principle. We do not agree, however, with his suggestion that we make an advance commitment to provide gold mining supplies before there has been a decision concerning the limits to be imposed on gold mining operations. A similar proposal was made here by the South African Minister23 on the day you delivered the President’s message. The South Africans evidently prefer to treat the problem of gold mining separately, but they may not realize that the supply authorities here are less likely to grant allocations for the gold mines if their requirements are presented independently, than if they are presented as part of the total requirements which are necessary for the Union economy. We feel that it is essential to our proposal to consider the needs of the gold mines in relation to the Union requirements as a whole. In that way we should be in a position to know to what extent Union resources were devoted to the war effort, and we should have some basis for determining what quantities of materials we will endeavor to make available for gold mining and for other purposes.[Page 185]
You are accordingly requested to make clear our view that the question of the gold mines should not be considered separately or in advance, but must be considered together with the other supply problems of South Africa. We shall not be in a position to discuss further details until we have received an answer from the British Embassy concerning the proposed council and supply program. Meanwhile, please forward by telegram any further portions of the Prime Minister’s memorandum which you think might be helpful to us.