SIR ERNEST OPPENHEIMER
he wired again to Brink: 'Accept to buy for Anglo American
[Consohdated] diamonds on your minimum terms. . .', adding certain
technical details. Brink replied in a long cable on 19 January:
'Minister of Mines authorizes me to accept your offer purchase on
behalf of Anglo American ... as from 1 March 1925 the 21 per cent
accruing to the Consohdated Diamond Mines of South West Africa during
1925 in terms of inter-producers' agreement . . .', and entering into
long technical details no longer of importance. Thus Ernest
Oppen-heimer had secured the position of Anglo American Corporation and
of Consohdated Mines, and had prevented the disaster of a sale of the whole South West African output to Antwerp; but there was still no general agreement.
next cable that reached South Africa sounded a dramatic note.
Telegraphing to the secretary of the Consohdated Diamond Mines of South
West Africa, on 21 January, Ernest Oppenheimer informed him that:
Syndicate meeting this afternoon Anglo American Corporation was asked
to retire from Syndicate and readily agreed. Reason given for request
was that action Anglo American in assisting South West prevented
Syndicate from doing favourable deal with Union producers.
A. Dunkelsbuhler and Company who approved action Anglo American are in similar position.
Please inform Brink and Minister of Mines.
this curt cable there lay a few days of intense activity and
excitement. It is unnecessary more than thirty-five years after the
event to do more than refer to the two documents in which Louis
Oppenheimer8 and Ernest Oppenheimer summed up the sequence
of events. The expulsion—for it was nothing less—of Anglo American
Corporation and of Dunkelsbuhler's from the 'old' Syndicate was due to
the attempt on the part of the two brothers to force a settlement by
making a bid for the entire output of the South African mines,
though, in order to prevent a break-down of the traditional marketing
arrangements, the Syndicate was offered an ex post facto participation,
which was refused. An element of great personal bitterness was
introduced by the fact that the terms of the Oppenheimer offer to
Government were disclosed to De Beers and thus to the other member
firms of the Syndicate, which thereupon amended its terms. The upshot
was that while the Oppenheimer group acquired the Consohdated South
West African diamond output, it did not obtain the output of De Beers
and the other Union
8 Vide appendices I and II, pp. 156-9, infra.