The Acting Secretary of State to the Consul at Durban (Smith)

personal and secret

My Dear Mr. Smith: The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of March 9, 1946,* relative to your reporting on the Indian situation in South Africa and in which you ask for information on the Department’s policy in connection with this problem.16

For your strictly personal and secret information, I may tell you that the Department recognizes as chiefly of South African concern the policy of the Union Government to keep the white minority in a [Page 127]position of dominance among the various racial elements of the country’s heterogeneous population. However, we view with concern the developments in connection with the Indian problem in Natal in that decisions taken in this regard have repercussions beyond the borders of the Union. The actions and attitudes of both South Africa and India cannot fail to affect other countries, including the United States, and may jeopardize world peace and security in general. It is hoped, therefore, that you will continue to observe and report on developments.

Sincerely yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Edward T. Wailes

Chief, Division of British Commonwealth Affairs

[The question of treatment within the Union of South Africa of Indians of South African nationality was later brought to the United Nations by the Government of India. For text of a letter, dated June 22, 1946, from the delegate of the Government of India to the Secretary General of the United Nations, see Department of State Bulletin, August 11, 1946, page 255, footnote 2. A summary of subsequent developments is contained in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1946–47 (United Nations, 1947), pages 144–148. After consideration by the General Committee and by joint sessions of the First and Sixth Committees, the problem was debated at the 50th, 51st, and 52nd sessions of the General Assembly, December 7 and 8, 1946; see United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, First Session, Second Part, Plenary Meetings, pages 1006–1061. The United States took the position in the Assembly debate that the matter be referred to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the question of whether or not the problem lay within the domestic jurisdiction of the Union of South Africa. The statement by the United States representative, Mr. Fahy, is contained ibid., pages 1010–1014.]

  1. addressed to the Honorable Donald Russell, Assistant Secretary of State. [Footnote in the original; the letter is not printed.]
  2. Not printed.