THE WAR YEARS AND AFTER 325
loans than the people who want to hedge against currency. If it were a
question of having to supply the diamonds I could understand it, but
this is not the case; all the diamonds are in England and paid for.
(This was a perfectly valid argument, so far as it went, but it might have been retorted that the cutting industry did absorb skilled personnel which should have been utilized, given the labour shortage, in other directions.) He went on:
Then, again, our action in selling industrial diamonds at pre-war rates is not appreciated in the smallest way. This in itself should have put a moral obligation
on the authorities to help us keep the gem section going. The attitude
adopted is quite different. The demand for industrial diamonds has increased, but by no means to the extent suggested by our sales. There is a boom in
industrial diamonds and Government and individuals buy to excess and we
have a cry now for more production, when the correct course would be to
use better qualities in addition to the cheap varieties. Rather than
use a few more expensive diamonds pressure is brought on us to open a
mine. . . . Our answer is to my mind quite simple. We should add
further qualities to the industrial series and to make good our promise
reduce these qualities to pre-war prices. This will increase the
quantity of diamonds used for industrial purposes and remove the
artificially created fear of a shortage of supply. . . . The crushing
bort position is farcical. The U.S.A. Procurement Division has ordered \\ million
carats; all in all we must have sold 10,000,000 carats during the last
six or eight months, that is, two tons of diamonds. This quantity
cannot possibly be used. . . .
regarded the post-war situation with apprehension, and summed up: 'The
post-war problem will be tremendous. There is only one sound policy—"Do not miss any sales now".'
♦ V ♦
relations with the 'outside producers' hacf a/ways 6een one of the
keystones of Ernest Oppenheimer's policy: without their co-operation
and support the unity of the diamond world could not be maintained.
Whatever difficulties might be caused thereby in the negotiations with
the Union Government, this co-operation had to be maintained:
nevertheless, there were limits beyond which he would not go, even in
his desire to maintain the principle of 'sales through one channel'. At
the very time, namely the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942, when
negotiations were taking place with the