848A.24/197: Telegram

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

288. From the Minister.

“My 283, March 15, 11 p.m. from Capetown.24 As the result of conversations here, the Prime Minister has personally approved my cabling you as follows:

I have informed the Prime Minister of your view that supplies for gold mines should be considered together with other supply problems and not separately.
The Prime Minister does not object to the above principle. He does not ask for a separate agreement in respect of supplies for any particular category of consumption. His object has been to ensure acceptance of the principle that supplies in general that are considered by him and the Union Government to be essential for the maintenance of the maximum war effort by this country shall be so regarded by United States Government agencies.
His special reference to gold mining supplies in his communication of February 19, was due to the uncertainty that has hitherto existed as regards their status and his desire that there should be an understanding recognising their inclusion among other eligible essentials. If paragraph 2 above is acceptable to you the proposal previously referred to for a specific joint understanding in advance concerning gold mining supplies could be regarded as falling away.
The Prime Minister realizes that the quantities of all supplies to be released will continue to be subject to limitations and will be dealt with by the proposed joint body.

By way of comment I would say that the General obviously believes his views as above expressed are not only reasonable but mandatory on him as the Prime Minister of a sovereign state, and that I feel it may be important for our future relations that we meet him with some sort of assurances if possible. The Department will note that paragraph 2 omits all mention of gold mining and that paragraph 4 specifically states it as understood that quantities of all supplies will be subject to the proposed Council’s decisions. If, as I believe, it is our intention to go on giving at least some supplies to the gold mines, there would appear to be nothing for us to lose in admitting South [Page 187]Africa’s right to decide what kinds of things are essential even though we know she will include gold mining in the number, while the generality of such an admission would avoid any dangers involved in an advance commitment regarding gold mining supplies in particular. MacVeagh.”

  1. Not printed.