891.03/4–551: Telegram

The Ambassador in India (Henderson) to the Secretary of State

confidential

2699. 1. Bajpai asked see me today. He referred our conversation April 3 and said he had fol info give me.

(a)
GOI had planned import 4 million tons food grain present calendar year and thought it had practically completed arrangements purchased 3.4 million tons. Unfortunately expected Italian diversion wheat of 200,000 tons failed materialize and probably only 50,000 tons wld be reed. Also expected purchase 250,000 tons milo US not thus far completed. Milo prices had become extremely high and GOI understood [Page 2139]this amount wld not be available in any event until after two months. There had also been delay in receiving hoped-for rice from Siam and amount eventually reed might fall below expectations. GOI therefore was at present assured of only 3 million tons food grain from abroad and might be compelled buy another million tons to complete four million ton program.
(b)
Primary purpose negotiate with Chi was to explore possibility making good part of this million ton deficiency. In view uncertainty ability US furnish additional 2 million tons food grain which India had requested, GOI in order make sure Ind people had at least necessary minimum food grain was also continuing explore possibility making purchases in addition to 4 million tons. GOI must give first priority in all its planning to obtaining food for Ind people.

2. I asked Bajpai if this info was confidential and he replied in negative. US Govt cld make public any or all of it at its discretion.

3. Bajpai added in confidence that price asked by Commie Chi for milo compared favorably with that prevailing in US. Problem still remained however regarding terms and promptness delivery and currency in which payment was to be made. He did not mention Russian offers during this conversation.

Henderson