745A.13/10–3051: Despatch

The Ambassador in the Union of South Africa (Gallman) to the Department of State 1

No. 269

Subject: Memorandum of conversation between the Ambassador and Mr. D. D. Forsyth, Secretary for External Affairs

On October 271 called on Mr. D. D. Forsyth, Secretary for External Affairs. It was the first opportunity I had had of having a somewhat extensive conversation with him, and I especially wanted to have this talk with him as he was leaving on the 29th for a month’s holiday.

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I told him that I was sorry there had been such delay in formally taking over my duties in South Africa. I said I had only now been able to start my calls on the Cabinet Ministers. I interjected here that I was looking forward particularly to my call on Minister Sauer as I was anxious to take up with him the serious problem of the lag in manganese and chrome shipments to the ports.2 While Forsyth made no observation on this point, he did say it was unfortunate that the Prime Minister’s rather long absence from Pretoria had delayed matters for me.

I told Forsyth that I appreciated the warm relations that existed between the Embassy and External Affairs and that I was particularly appreciative of his helpful and cooperative attitude. To this he said that that was the way he wanted it and, after all, there was this same sort of relationship between the State Department and their Embassy in Washington.

When I remarked that it was my understanding that the MDAP agreement was finally to be signed, he said that that should take place any day now. There was one legal question which was still receiving the attention of their legal advisers, he stated. This question arose from legislation affecting the MDAP program which was just recently passed. I told him I knew nothing of this and he admitted he did not have the details but said that he did not think this new development would cause any serious delay. I said that I hoped not, as I had thought that, after agreement in principle had been reached on the phraseology of the agreement, the signing would soon follow.3

After stressing that South Africa was anxious to get along with its rearmament program in general, and particularly to get arms for training purposes, he differentiated between purchases in the U.K. and the U.S. In the U.K., he said, the price was more favorable but in the U.S. deliveries, in spite of all the demands, were quicker.

I told Forsyth then that one of these days soon I wanted to go, in detail, into the question of the pending draft Consular Convention with officials of his Department. He immediately said that he did not think the timing was good as the present Government was not very keen about further international agreements. I told him I was surprised by his remark. This seemed to me a somewhat extreme attitude [Page 1455] toward a rather common type of agreement designed, on a reciprocal basis, to regulate some practical day-to-day relations. He followed this up by saying that he did not mean to imply that External Affairs was not prepared to explore the situation with me.

He voluntarily then brought up the question of South West Africa. “What is going to happen now?” he asked. I said that I thought the proposal worked out by the United Nations ad hoc Committee seemed very reasonable. To this he said that the present Government, in his view, would never agree to this proposal. It would not go beyond its counterproposal. The reception, he continued, which the first and only report on South West Africa submitted to the United Nations had received, would never be forgotten by the present Government. He said he was merely telling me in a personal capacity what he knew about the temper and attitude of the present Government.

At this point I told Forsyth that as I knew he was extremely busy clearing up matters before his holiday, I would not take more of his time now, but that I looked forward very much to seeing him after his return and to working with him.

I was very favorably impressed with Forsyth’s cordiality and frankness.

W. J. Gallman
  1. Regarding Ambassador Gallman’s nomination, confirmation, arrival in South Africa, and presentation of credentials, see the editorial note, supra.
  2. Ambassador Gallman made bis first call upon Transport Minister Sauer on November 8. Gallman stressed the possible disruptive effects upon the U.S. rearmament program of any delay in the transportation of essential ores, particularly manganese. Gallman advanced a few suggestions for speeding the transport of ore. Sauer appeared to indicate that all that could be done was being done. In his report on the conversation, transmitted in despatch 310, November 8, from Pretoria, Gallman suggested that Prime Minister Malan would sooner or later have to be approached on the problem, but he indicated he would see Sauer once more before any approach to Malan. (745A.13/11–851)
  3. Regarding the exchange of notes of November 9 constituting the agreement on mutual defense assistance between the United States and South Africa, see the editorial note, p. 1459.