Memorandum by the Chief of the War Commodities Division ( Cissel ) to the Adviser on Political Relations ( Murray )
Mr. Murray: At a meeting of the Combined Food Board Committee on Rice held on August 30, I raised the question of the possibility of setting aside a contingent allotment of rice to be available for shipment to India. The British representatives expressed some surprise at the thought that there was any particular need for rice. They stated that there was an enormous deficit of cereals generally and that the problem was a matter of shipping not of supply, grains being available in Australia and other areas when shipping can be made available.
The British representatives stated that they understood that the cereal deficit was in the neighborhood of 2,000,000,000 pounds for the current year. It would be clearly impossible under the rice supply situation now existing to make available any amount which would be significant with reference to this deficit. Production of rice in the United States (which is at the present time the largest producer of rice for export) is estimated at 1,750,000,000, and of this amount approximately 50 per cent is required for consumption in this country and by the military services.
British representatives stated that it was their understanding that the need for rice specifically was most urgent in Ceylon and that they had been unable to obtain substantial amounts to satisfy this need because of the overall rice shortage. They agreed that they would query the United Kingdom authorities in London as to any specific need for rice in India.
Under the circumstances it would seem to me futile to attempt any further steps in connection with rice. It may be, however, that some [Page 299] further action should be taken to attempt to arrange grain shipments to India from Australia. If you would like me to attempt something in this connection please let me know.