The South African Legation to the Department of State


i. proposed union-u. s. a. reciprocal aid agreement

The annexure hereto shows in the first column the draft note proposed by the State Department and in the second column the same note showing the amendments which the Union Government desire to be effected.35 The amendments are underlined. There are only two of them.

The first one is omission from paragraph 1(a) of the words “and strategic materials”.

Reasons for omission.

The Union Government consider that inclusion in the agreement of strategic materials would be unfair to the Commonwealth countries whose need for exchange, provided by payments for these materials, is great and whose obligations in support of the sterling area are heavy.
The proceeds of the Union Government’s surplus gold and raw materials exports are available for the above purposes.
The words “strategic materials”, or their equivalent, do not appear in any of the agreements concluded between the U.S.A. and Great Britain, Australia or New Zealand.36 South Africa finds it difficult to deal with questions like these in isolation but prefers to deal with them from the standpoint and with a view to the needs of the Commonwealth as a whole.

The second amendment proposed is to omit from the State Department’s note the whole of paragraph 1(d) and to retain paragraph 3(c) of the draft note originally proposed by the Union Government. The Union’s draft follows the precedent of the relevant paragraph in the U. S. A.-Australian agreement.

Reasons for omission.

The reason for the suggested change does not constitute an objection to principle, but political and other considerations here make it necessary to avoid undue indefiniteness. South Africa must also take into account the obligations of the Union in respect of aid being afforded directly to the U.K. The Union Government therefore suggests that the retention in their paragraph 3(c) of the words “in such other places as may be determined” would be sufficient to provide for specific agreement in regard to such specific proposals as may be put forward when the need arises.

ii. re mr. acheson’s memorandum

The Union Government have the following comments to offer in connection with the matters raised in Mr. Acheson’s memorandum of 12th January, 1943,37 and in the conversation he had with the South African Minister on that date:—

The cash reimbursable proposal is acceptable in principle to the Union Government. The system has in fact already been put into effect by the Office of Lend-Lease Administration some time ago, and it is now in operation in appropriate cases.
The Union Government do not wish to be committed to “frequent reviews”. They consider that it would be sufficient and satisfactory to acknowledge the right of either Government to raise the question of their respective positions if and when consideration of this question is thought to be necessary.
The Union Government would be grateful if the question of a refund of previous Lend-Lease credits were not pressed, in view both of the principle and precedent involved and of the Union’s attitude regarding the cash reimbursable proposal.

[Page 193]

The Union Government in Lend-Lease matters are not concerned with any question of financial advantage but solely with the means of enabling the Union to maintain a maximum war effort while paying due regard to the situation in the same respect of the Commonwealth countries as a whole.


Draft Note as Proposed by the Department of State

Sir: As contracting parties to the United Nations Declaration of January 1, 1942, the Governments of the United States of America and the Union of South Africa pledged themselves to employ their full resources, military and economic, against those nations with which they are at war.

In the Agreement of February 23, 1942,38 between the Governments of the United Kingdom and of the United States of America, the provisions and principles of which the Government of the Union of South Africa considers applicable to its relations with the Government of the United States, each contracting Government undertook to provide the other with such articles, services, facilities or information useful in the prosecution of their common war undertaking as each may be in a position to supply.

It is the understanding of the Government of the Union of South Africa that the general principle to be followed in providing such aid is that the war production and war resources of both nations should be used by each, in the ways which most effectively utilize available materials, manpower, production facilities and shipping space.

I now set forth the understanding of the Government of the Union of South Africa of the principles and procedure applicable to the provisions of aid by the Government of the Union of South Africa to the United States and its armed forces and the manner in which such aid will be correlated with the maintenance of those forces by the United States Government.

The Government of the Union of South Africa, retaining the right of final decision in each case in the light of its potentialities and responsibilities, will provide the United States or its armed forces with the following types of assistance, as such reciprocal aid, when it is found that they can most effectively be procured in the Union of South Africa.
Military equipment, munitions, military and naval stores, and strategic materials;
Other supplies, materials, facilities and services for the United States forces, except for the pay and allowance of such forces, administrative expenses, and such local purchases as its official establishments may make other than through the official establishments of the Government of the Union of South Africa as specified in Paragraph 4.
Supplies, materials and services needed in the construction of military projects, tasks and similar capital works required for the common war effort in the Union of South Africa except for the wages and salaries of United States citizens.
Supplies, materials and services needed in the construction of such military projects, tasks and capital works in territory other than the Union of South Africa or territory of the United States to the extent that the Union of South Africa is a more practicable source of supply than the United States or another of the United Nations.
The practical application of the principles formulated in this note, including the procedure by which requests for aid by either Government are made and acted upon, shall be worked out as occasion may require by agreement between the two Governments, acting when possible through their appropriate military or civilian administrative authorities.
It is my understanding that all such aid accepted by the President of the United States or his authorized representatives from the Government of the Union of South Africa will be received as a benefit to the United States under the Act of March 11, 1941.39 In so far as circumstances will permit, appropriate record of aid received under this arrangement, except for miscellaneous facilities and services, will be kept by each Government.

If the Government of the United States concurs in the foregoing, I would suggest that the present note and your reply to that effect be regarded as placing on record the understanding of our two Governments in this matter.

I have the honour to be, Sir, et cetera.

  1. Only Department of State draft printed. The changes in the South African draft are explained in this memorandum.
  2. For correspondence concerning agreements with these countries, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, pp. 525 ff. and pp. 537 ff.
  3. For summary, see telegram No. 9, January 14, 11 p.m., to the Consul at Capetown, p. 174.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, pp. 525 ff.
  5. Lend-Lease Act, 55 Stat. 31.