Eric Louw

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Eric Hendrik Louw
Eric Louw.jpeg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
1955–1964
Prime Minister J. G. Strijdom
H.F. Verwoerd
Preceded by J. G. Strijdom
Succeeded by Hilgard Muller
Minister of Finance
In office
1954–1956
Prime Minister J. G. Strijdom
Personal details
Born (1890-11-21)21 November 1890
Jacobsdal, Orange Free State
Died 24 June 1968(1968-06-24) (aged 77)
Cape Town, South Africa
Political party National Party
Alma mater Rhodes University
Occupation Lawyer

Eric Hendrik Louw (1890-1968) was a South African diplomat and politician. Although a controversial and often undiplomatic figure, he was respected by admirers and critics for his unflinching courage and brilliant wit.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Jacobsdal in the Orange Free State on 21 November 1890 and died in Cape Town on 24 June 1968. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree at the then Victoria College, Stellenbosch. He went on to qualify as an advocate at Rhodes University College; Grahamstown, where he also practised.

In 1915, when his father died at Beaufort West, he took over the business interests.

Politician and diplomat[edit]

In 1924 he was elected Member of Parliament for Beaufort West, and the following year became South Africa's first Trade Commissioner in the U.S.A. and Canada. In 1929 he became High Commissioner in London and a year later South Africa's first envoy in the United States. After he had represented his country in Italy, France and Portugal and had been South Africa's first representative to the League of Nations, he returned to South Africa for political reasons. In 1938 he was again elected Member of Parliament for Beaufort West. During the Second World War he was, like most of his party, pro-Nazi. When the National Party won the general election in 1948, he was an obvious choice for the cabinet, firstly as Minister of Economic Affairs, then, from 1955, as Minister of Finance and from 1957 as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was best known as South Africa's representative at UNO, Commonwealth and other overseas conferences. Between 1948 and 1962 he represented South Africa at UNO on eight occasions. As Minister of Foreign Affairs he assisted Dr HF Verwoerd at the historic Commonwealth conference in London in 1961 when South Africa withdrew her membership. On 31 December 1963 he relinquished his post as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Honours and awards[edit]

He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Pretoria in 1962. He was similarly honoured by the University of the Orange Free State in 1963. In 1965 a bronze bust of him by Hennie Potgieter was unveiled at Beaufort West in a school which bore his name until it was amalgamated with Niko Brummer Primary School in 1994. A high school in the town of Musina in Limpopo also bears his name.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Potgieter D.J., Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa, Nasionale Opvoedkundige Uitgewery Ltd, Cape Town, 1971
  2. ^ Hoërskool Eric Louw Musina Limpopo province
Government offices
Preceded by
Nicolaas Havenga
Minister of Finance
1954–1956
Succeeded by
Jozua François Naudé
Preceded by
J. G. Strijdom
as Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1955–1964
Succeeded by
Hilgard Muller