394.31/9–1450

The Ambassador of the Union of South Africa ( Jooste ) to the Secretary of State

The Ambassador of the Union of South Africa presents his compliments to the Honourable the Secretary of State, and has the honour to refer to the discussions which took place at the Third and Fourth Sessions of the Contracting Parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade concerning the South African programme of import restrictions and the difference of point of view which emerged between the South African and United States Delegations on the question of the compatibility of the South African Government’s action with the provisions of Article XII and Annexure J. of the General Agreement.1

The Government of the Union of South Africa believe that the differences which have arisen between the Delegations on this issue are not conducive to the mutual interests of the United States and the Union of South Africa, nor to the harmonious and fruitful collaboration between the Contracting Parties. The South African Government, therefore, are anxious that, if at all possible, these differences should be avoided at the Fifth Session of the Contracting Parties which is due to commence at Torquay on the 2nd November.

After further careful consideration of the major objections which have hitherto been raised by the Delegation of the United States with regard to the discriminatory aspects of the South African programme of import restrictions, the Government of the Union of South Africa have decided to introduce certain important changes in that programme as from the 1st January, 1951. Details of these changes are set forth in the accompanying memorandum to the Contracting Parties to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which will be sent to the G.A.T.T. Secretariat at Geneva for distribution on the 15th September, 1950.2

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The Government of the Union of South Africa wish to emphasise that, while the modifications proposed in the attached memorandum have been made possible by the recent improvement in South Africa’s monetary reserves, the Union Government, in deciding to introduce these modifications, have also been actuated by a sincere desire to satisfy the objections put forward by the United States Delegation during the discussions at Annecy in 1949 and again at Geneva earlier this year.

In submitting the attached memorandum for the advance information of the Government of the United States, the Government of the Union of South Africa hope that the modifications of the import control scheme outlined will commend themselves to the Government of the United States and will be regarded as evidence of the Union Government’s desire to promote the objects of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

  1. At Habana, Cuba, on March 24, 1948, at the conclusion of the conference for the establishment of an international trade organization, the Contracting Parties of the General Agreement (GATT) concluded a Special Protocol which modified Article XIV of GATT (“Exceptions to the Rule of Non-Discrimination”) and added to the annexes (A through I) of the original agreement an Annex J with an “Interpretative Note” on Article XIV (62 Stat, (pt 2) 2000, or TIAS No. 1764). For documentation regarding this 1948 action on Annex J, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. i, Part 2, p. 905.
  2. Not attached to file copy; neither has it been found in the conference file (Lot 57D284). It is described in NAC Doc. No. 1054, October 13, 1950, infra.