The Department of State to the South African Legation 59


The memorandum left with the Department of State by the South African Legation on April 26, 194360 concerning a reciprocal aid agreement has been carefully considered by the Department and other agencies of the United States Government.

The first point raised in that memorandum was the omission of the words “and strategic materials” from paragraph 1(a) of the draft reciprocal aid agreement. In this connection the memorandum cited the fact that the words in question did not appear in the reciprocal aid agreements previously concluded between the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand and that the Union Government preferred to deal with such questions from the standpoint of the Commonwealth as a whole.

The United States Government and the people of the United States deeply appreciate the aid which the British Commonwealth as a whole and its various members individually have given to the armed forces of the United States. This aid and the spirit in which it has been given are splendid examples of the principle of mutual aid governing [Page 209]our common war effort. It has, however, been for some time the feeling of the United States Government that it would be of mutual interest to carry the principle of mutual aid a step further toward complete realization.

Since the date of the Legation’s memorandum, negotiations have been entered into between the United States Government and the Government of the United Kingdom with respect to the furnishing of materials as reciprocal aid and the latter Government has agreed to furnish as reciprocal aid materials imported by the United States Government agencies from the United Kingdom, Southern Rhodesia and the British Colonies. In view of this development, the United States Government is currently advising the Governments of Australia and New Zealand and the Government of India of the procurement programs which it hopes may similarly be transferred to a reciprocal aid basis.

It is hoped therefore that the Government of the Union will find it possible to agree to the inclusion of the words “and strategic materials” in paragraph 1(a) of the proposed reciprocal aid agreement and to extend its reciprocal aid program to include the furnishing, without payment by the United States, of those materials which are imported from the Union of South Africa or from South African sources by agencies of the United States Government.

The present procurement program contemplates the purchase from South African sources by United States Government agencies during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1943 of the following commodities: asbestos, chrome, concentrates containing copper and lead, corundum fluorspar, goatskins, manganese and vanadium.

The foregoing is not, and by its nature cannot be, a definitive statement of the specific commodities which the United States Government might wish to bring within the program. It is submitted rather as an indication of the approximate scope of the contemplated program.

The second point raised in the Legation’s memorandum was the omission of paragraph 1(d) of the proposed reciprocal aid agreement and the substitution therefor of a paragraph providing that the Union would supply materials and services needed in the construction of military projects, et cetera, only within the Union of South Africa and such other places as might be determined. The effect of this would be to substitute the narrower provisions of the Australian agreement for the somewhat wider provisions of the corresponding paragraph of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and other agreements.

In view of the comparative remoteness of the Union from the present and prospective theaters of active combat, little need is foreseen for the stationing of United States forces in Union territory. It is accordingly believed that the ability of the Union to contribute to [Page 210]the common war effort would more appropriately be reflected in paragraph 1(d) as originally suggested, providing for reciprocal aid to the extent that the Union is a more practicable source of supply than the United States or another of the United Nations. It is not anticipated that the practical application of this paragraph would prove onerous and it is hoped that the Union Government may see its way clear to agree to it.

If agreement can be reached on the matters above set forth, the United States Government will gladly accept the suggestions made in the memorandum of April 26, 1943, with respect to the matters raised in Mr. Acheson’s memorandum of January 12, 1943.61

The United States Government trusts that the Union Government is in agreement that exports from the United States which are to be paid for in cash should move through private trade channels to the greatest possible extent.

  1. Handed by Assistant Secretary of State Acheson to the South African Minister (Close) on October 7.
  2. Ante, p. 191.
  3. For summary of memorandum, see telegram No. 9, January 14, 11 p.m., to the Consul at Capetown, p. 174.