a year to recondition the plant and the mines. In short I am dealing
with a period during which all diamonds must be drawn from Dicorp stock
and therefore the quota question is less important.
At last, it seemed as if finality had been reached. On 21 June, Ernest Oppenheimer was writing:
I told you in my last letter I was about to see Stallard. . . . Our
interview was most friendly and, while I know little difficulties will
crop up, I am now satisfied that agreement has been reached. Well, the
points which worried him were . . . [the position of the Government
should not be worse than under the old agreement and there should be
increased representation of Government on the board of the
association]. ... I put his mind at rest by promising to examine the
position and if possible give him the necessary guarantee.30
Morrison and I examined the position very carefully and we found that
we could give the necessary guarantee but not alone to the Government
but also to Consoldia and De Beers.
went on, 'at first blush you will say that Stallard has it both ways.
If the new agreement gives better results he makes his deliveries
accordingly, if the results are worse the difference is made up to him.
But the possible sacrifice is nothing compared to the benefits which
will accrue to De Beers and Dicorp.'
There were to be further delays: Ernest Oppenheimer became exasperated:
had some more letters from Stallard. I cannot make him out: does he
think I am an absolute idiot? He talks of agreement being arrived at
when the alterations he suggests have not even been discussed with us.
. . . Anyhow I replied firmly but politely to his various points and
the time for further concessions is past. [To Harry Oppenheimer, 12
the end, agreement was reached, and from 1 January 1943 a new state of
affairs came into existence. By and large, Ernest Oppenheimer had got
what he wanted.
The reference is clearly to suggested arrangements which were
subsequently embodied in the 1943 agreement as subsection (e) of clause
23. It is a difficult subsection to paraphrase, so highly complex is
its structure. In effect it provided that if, under the agreement of
1943, the sales to the Diamond Corporation or any member (including the
Government) in any calendar year fell below what they would have been
under the arrangements prevailing in 1941, the Diamond Corporation
pledged itself to buy additional diamonds in an amount sufficient to
bridge the gap. In the case of De Beers and the Consolidated company,
there were to be cash payments sufficient to cover any
deficiency in the profits which they might have made under the 1941
arrangements, given that they had in the years in question an
insufficiency of diamonds to sell. In other words, diamond producers
would not be worse off than they were under the 1941 agreement, but
might be advantaged under the 1943 agreement.