745A.56/3–2151: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

top secret

4375. Tomap. Urtel 5030 Mar 21.2 In note Oct 9 confirming Erasmus talks officials this govt, SoAfr Emb divided equip required two categories. Category A equip for training purposes for which SoAfr willing pay cash. Category B equip for expeditionary force to be used in case attack on Af continent. This equip desired on “least onerous terms”. Furthermore SoAfrs stated equip not required until arrival force theatre operations, subsequent outbreak hostilities. Clear from conversations SoAfr officials they seeking commitment future availability category B items.3

SoAfr now eligible reimbursable mil aid under sec 408(e) MDAA, as amended, but has not yet furnished required assurances.4 Category A equip can be provided as available as reimbursable aid once assurances are recd. Re category B Dept advised SoAfr Emb Feb 5 SoAfr eligible terms existing legis only for reimbursable aid on payment basis as fixed in sec 403(e) and 408(e) (2) of Act. Dept further stated that in view impossibility giving assurances now that all equip required at indefinite date in future can be made available at that time, this govt unable give any gen commitment or assurances re equipping proposed SoAfr expeditionary force. SoAfr Govt aware its Afr defense pol one of factors in determination eligibility receive reimbursable mil aid from US.

SoAfr apparently still confused this subject. Dept will make further effort explain situation at high level here and will keep you informed.

  1. This telegram, which was repeated to Capetown, was drafted by Shullaw (BNA) and Smith (S/ISA), was cleared by Kopper (NEA), Bonbright (EUR), Bray and Emery (S/ISA), and the Department of Defense.
  2. Supra.
  3. Regarding the conversations referred to in this paragraph, see the editorial note, p. 1427.
  4. Regarding the reassurances under reference here, see Secretary Acheson’s note of February 5 to Ambassador Jooste, p. 1429.