WORLD CRISIS AND WORLD LEADERSHIP 241
have again to be revised in accordance with its wishes, the main issue
at this stage was, and remained, the recalcitrant attitude of the South
West African Administration. Each side expected the other to bring the
Administrator to heel; now the Union Government began to accuse the
Diamond Corporation and the producers of causing 'unnecessary delays',
the Minister of Mines taking the attitude that 'Minister requires
completion of agreements immediately and their return to this office
and is not prepared to allow further delays. Please advise definitely
whether you intend the Minister to proceed to ratification or not.'
There were certain minor modifications still under discussion,
but the suggestion that the Diamond Corporation or the producers were
primarily at fault was indignantly repudiated in a letter of 23 April,
sent by the secretary of the Diamond Corporation to the Secretary for
'. . . My directors cannot acknowledge that this company or its
solicitors are responsible for the delay that has occurred in the
ratification of the agreements and they strongly object to and deny all
statements to the contrary effect appearing in the above telegrams.
"While the record of correspondence clearly confirms that the foregoing
is the position, I am referring later in this letter to the two points
which it is suggested are responsible for most of the delay, namely,
the Premier offer and the Honourable the Minister's demand for an
amendment of clause 22 of the Administrator's agreement.
whole history of the diamond negotiations shows that the delay in
concluding the agreements cannot be attributed to this company or the
producers. Draft sales agreements were prepared early last year and
submitted immediately after the conference held in Cape Town. At the
behest of the Government and practically at the dictation of the
Advisory Committee this company's solicitors prepared redraft after
redraft throughout 1930, only for each one to be pulled to pieces or
radically altered to comply with fresh demands by the Government.
Finally, the present agreements were evolved and were approved of by
you and the Government law advisers. Subsequently the Minister made it
a condition of his submitting the agreements to the Cabinet that the
offer, known as the Premier offer, should be made by this company. My
directors having signified their willingness to make this offer, the
Minister submitted the agreements to the Cabinet for its approval.
Subsequently, on or about 11 December last, you advised our solicitors
that such approval had been obtained. In view of this approval the
agreements were signed on 13-19 December 1930.
the parties to the agreements regarded them as binding and valid from
that date, and they were therefore amazed to find that by your telegram
of 27 March last the Government looked upon them as provisional and
held itself entitled to demand that further alteration should be made
to them. It is apparent, therefore, that as late as the end of last
month the Government regarded the agreements only as provisional and
thus I repeat this company signed them under a misapprehension of fact
and is not bound by them. Furthermore, I would point out that owing to
the great delay that has occurred as a result of which the agreements
cannot become operative until at least four months later than
originally contemplated, the interests of this company and of other
parties to the agreements have been most gravely prejudiced. In order,
however, to show this company's willingness, as far as circumstances
now permit, to carry out the agreements, I am instructed to repeat the
offer made in this company's telegram to you of the 15th instant,
subject of course to the modifications referred to therein regarding
the financial provisions, and to the settlement of all the outstanding
points including that of the quota for July-December 1930. . . .'