120.4345A/4–1852: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Union of South Africa1


A–3. Ur despatch 90, April 18, 1952.2 The Department appreciates receiving the report of the Consular and Administrative Conference.

With regard to the conference recommendations, the Embassy realizes that the Department has already replied to most of them. The following comments however, are provided in the order listed in the Embassy’s despatch:

The Department does not believe it feasible to assign an officer to work on native affairs throughout African areas south of the Sahara. Among the factors leading to this decision are (1) the differences in the problems in the countries involved; (2) the size of the area would not permit effective coverage by one man in that visits to each country necessarily would be infrequent and brief, making it difficult to establish and maintain essential contacts and confidences; (3) the impracticability of accrediting any one officer to the several governments concerned; and (4) the suspicion with which such an assignment would be regarded by those governments. It is believed preferable to continue to rely on the established posts and missions and for the posts in the area to augment their local information through interchange of reports and discussions at consular conferences.
The Department’s position on Mineral Attaché Frisbie and his responsibilities is contained in OM of May 22, 1952,3 subject; Administration: Mineral Attaché Frisbie.
Consideration will be given to the Embassy’s request for a Labor Attaché when the American complement for FY 1953 is established.

(a) Reply to the Embassy’s request for a security guard detail was made in OM dated February 5, 1952.3

(b) The additional position at Capetown was authorized by Department’s A–75 of March 18, 1952.3

The prospects for improving USIS establishments in South Africa are very remote. The appropriation for Fiscal Year 1953 is not expected to be large enough to permit expansion of existing facilities.
With reference to the recommendation for increased courier service throughout the Union, it is believed the suggestions and recommendations made by Mr. Jack Grover and the implementation thereof will satisfactorily meet your needs.
FBO contemplates sending Mr. Roland P. Amateis to make an inspection of the Government-owned properties in the Union of South Africa as soon as his services are no longer required for the construction work now underway at Monrovia.

The recommendation that the Central Fiscal Office in the Consulate General at Johannesburg be authorized to make such allotments on a fiscal year basis cannot be approved. Centralized fiscal offices operating throughout the world have proved to be more economical and efficient.

It is believed that the objectives of the recommendation may be achieved through use of the provisions of Paragraphs 3.61 and 3.62, Finance Circular 5. Under 3.61, the central post is expected to advise each constituent post of the types of recurring expenditures and special items for which payment will be made by the central post. This should cover practically all charges under object classes 01, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09, except for petty local purchases. As for 02, travel orders for within country travel may be issued by the Embassy (in consultation with Johannesburg as to funds available for the purpose) and sent to the consulates, thus informing each principal officer periodically of travel expenses he may incur. Under 3.62, the central post should advise constituent posts periodically of the amount made available to each for petty local expenditures. Through these measures each post will be informed, in effect, of the total funds available to meet the expenses of that post.

The Department deduces that a major reason for the feeling reflected in the recommendation is in reality traceable to the tightness of funds this fiscal year. When funds are short, total flexibility in their administration is impracticable making it difficult to set aside funds for the use of subordinate posts without reference to the central controlling post. In other words, the smaller the total resources, the less practicable it becomes to subdivide the funds among users, resulting in several instead of a single reserve for contingencies. It is believed that it will be possible to make field allotments in FY 1953 earlier than was the case in 1952; this should permit sounder financial planning and permit telling each post within a country what its own fund prospects are earlier in the year.

The Consulate General at Johannesburg was given jurisdiction over the territories of Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland in Department’s A–109 of April 8, 1952.4

  1. This airgram was drafted in the Bureau of European Affairs and was cleared by the Diplomatic and Courier Branch, the Division of Foreign Building Operations, and the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs.
  2. Not printed. It comprised the complete report of the Consular and Administrative Conference at Capetown, Mar. 11–13, 1952; for a summary report, see telegram 32, Mar. 14, 1952, from Capetown, p. 4.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.