produced Jagers or Premier, one could never mix them with other goods.
One might be able to mix these two productions. The whole question
would have to be settled by experience—and intelligently. For instance,
Congo (Forminiere) and Angola are identical qualities, and again all
sand diamonds should be mixed—on the other hand Sierra Leone mixes with
nothing else. If Sierra Leone were sold separately everybody, including
Beatty, would see how many of these goods (which make only squares) can
be sold and how many one could afford to buy. The idea that one can buy
diamonds of a particular quality in excess of what the market will
take, simply because the diamonds are cheap, is quite wrong. No
diamonds are cheap if they cannot be sold or if they must be kept for
many years. The interest charge—which one should remember and which we
always forget—eats up all the profit.
we can arrive at the position that we sell (1) Dutoitspan with South
West and Namaqualand mixed, (2) Wesselton, (3) Bultfontein, (4) Sierra
Leone, (5) Forminiere and Angola mixed, week by week, then the volume
of the diamond trade will increase, and in particular De Beers will
come into its own. We shall then know, for instance, how many Sierra
Leone goods can be consumed and generally which class of production is
there are the problems I have referred to already like cleavages,
macles and sand; then again if Premier and Jagers were reopened after
the war, we would have to decide whether these goods could with
advantage be mixed, making a sixth quality to be offered to the public.
quite realized that there might be a breach with certain producers and
consequently a violation of the principle of sales through one channel,
but he thought that in the end any producers who broke away would be
forced to return to the fold. The disadvantage of 'selling diamonds
mixed' was that such a procedure
into the hands of the outside producers because the indisputable fact
that De Beers diamonds are more desirable than all others was by this
means not kept before other producers' eyes nor before our customers.
Nothing I have said must be construed that I have lost my belief in
limitation of output or sales through one channel; but limitation of
output must mean limitation to demand and that aspect has been lost
sight of by mixing all diamonds. It is useless Sierra Leone saying 'I
must have 10 per cent of all sales' if it were found that this quantity
could not be sold.
Not the profit but the many problems of the diamond trade make the diamond business the most interesting I know.
may be that the fighting spirit which these words convey was reinforced
by the difficult discussions which he was then conducting with the
Union Government: it may also be the case that he was influenced by the
view that 'London' was exaggerating the importance