The Secretary of State to the Officer in Charge at New Delhi (Merrell)
539. There are transmitted herewith for the strictly confidential information of the Mission certain additional facts which may be of interest to the Mission regarding the inability of this Government to be of material assistance in connection with the prevailing Indian famine (Reference Department’s 538 of October 9):
In the programming of food supplies by the Combined Food Board in Washington, the responsibility in reference to Indian food requirements has, at the insistence of representatives of the United Kingdom, been left to that government. The British member of the Combined Food Board and British representatives on the commodity committees of the Board have depended on London for information on Indian requirements. Generally speaking, they have not appeared to be concerned regarding statements as to Indian needs presented through other channels. For example, the Combined Food Board Committee on Rice received urgent advice, through State Department channels, of a serious shortage in some districts of India. The British member [Page 306] of the committee asked to have this advice checked in London, and later reported that there appeared to be a speculative movement of rice into stocks and that the Government of India was coping with the situation. Again, a representative of the Government of India in the United States on several occasions asked to appear before the Committee on Fats and Oils, but the British member of the committee objected to the committee receiving information on the Indian situation through that channel.