The South African Legation to the Department of State


With reference to the State Department’s Memorandum handed to the South African Minister on October 6th 1943, concerning the Reciprocal Aid Agreement now under discussion, the Government of the Union of South Africa, in view of Mr. Acheson’s special request for a reply within about 14 days, have instructed the Legation to advise the State Department that they are prepared to accept, in principle, the United States proposal that raw materials required for war purposes be supplied on reciprocal aid terms, although there are many questions, for instance, as to procedure, which will still call for consideration.

The Union Government, however, regret that they find themselves unable to accept the proposal that the agreement should enter into force with retrospective effect.

As regards the retention of paragraph 1(d) of the draft Reciprocal Aid Agreement, the Union Government regret to state that their position as outlined in the Legation’s Memorandum of April 26th, 1943, in connection with this point, remains unchanged.

The reason for the Union Government’s preference for a provision following the relevant U.S.A.-Australian Agreement, as stated at the [Page 211]time, was not based on an objection to principle but rather one based on political and other considerations which made it necessary to avoid undue indefiniteness. The Union Government urges that the words “in such other places as may be determined” in the paragraph suggested by them, adequately covers the important objects in view and that this phraseology would be sufficient, in as much as it provides for specific agreement in regard to such specific proposals as may be put forward when the need arises.

In these circumstances the Union Government trust that the United States Government will find it possible to adopt the provision proposed by the Union Government.

Whilst the Union Government is prepared in principle to supply to the United States Government raw materials on reciprocal aid terms as above indicated, they suggest that certain questions of procedure and other matters, cognate to the undertaking, requires further study and formulation.

Among these questions the following occur to the Union Government as being of importance:

It is assumed that procurement in South Africa would be effected by and for the Union Government.
It is assumed that the raw materials to be supplied by the Union Government as reciprocal aid will be those directly necessary for the war effort and called for by official United States requisitions.
Should there be any running contracts which the United States might wish the Union Government to take over, the Union Government propose that such contracts be reserved for separate consideration.
There exist certain stipulations regarding quantities and period which apply in the case of materials obtained under Lend-Lease from the United States of America. The Union Government desire such stipulations to apply in reverse.

The Minister suggests that the matters referred to above, other than of course the acceptance of the principle of reciprocal aid agreed to by the Union Government, might suitably form the subject of discussion between Mr. Acheson and himself at a mutually convenient date.