Truman Library, Truman papers, PSF–Subject file

Memorandum by the Secretary of State and the Director for Mutual Security (Harriman) to the President



  • Bowles Program of Additional Aid for India

Ambassador Bowles has asked your support for an increase of $125 million in Fiscal Year 1953 aid for India. This would be in addition to the Administration proposal to the Congress of $115 million. (See his telegram to you, No. 4356 from New Delhi, copy of which is attached.)1 He is expected to arrive in the United States on June 3, but probably will not be in Washington until June 9.

Ambassador Bowles discussed his program for India with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and with a number of members of Congress in January. He also explained his views fully to representatives of the Administration at that time. With global requirements and United States availabilities in mind, however, the Administration requested only $115 million for India rather than the amount of $200 to $250 million then suggested by Bowles. The Administration program included the whole of the technical assistance and developmental supplies supported by Bowles, but did not include his proposals for supplying on a grant basis substantial quantities of grain, cotton, and other general commodity imports. The Ambassador was informed that his proposal would be kept under review.

With respect to the present legislation, the Conference Report on [Page 1647] the Fiscal Year 1953 authorizing legislation cuts by 321/2 percent the request made for technical assistance for Title III countries, of which India and Pakistan are the most important. Such a cut would reduce the India program from $115 million requested to about $77 million.

Ambassador Bowles has continued to urge a request for additional money to provide imports of commodities which will relieve a heavy burden on India’s foreign exchange, and which can be re-sold in India to provide the government with rupees which can be used in the development program over and above those being provided in the Government of India budget. There are a number of questions on the substance of the Bowles proposal which should be discussed with him in order to be in a position to weigh accurately the need for the program against the legislative problems described below. These include such matters as the precise size and character of the rupee shortage of the Government of India, the rate at which the Indian Government could provide trained active leadership for an expanded program, and the effect of a postponement of the request for additional funds until next year.

While substantial progress has been made in obligating the $54 million appropriated for Fiscal Year 1952, very little of this money has been spent, due to delay in Congressional action on the appropriation and the time required to negotiate a basic Point IV agreement.

It is now clearly out of the question to seek additional money in the present Mutual Security Program legislation, since both Houses have already taken action on the authorizing Bill and agreement has been reached by the conferees.

Ambassador Bowles has suggested the possibility of separate legislation to cover India alone. There are considerable difficulties, however, in doing this. (a) The Congress has been firm in its desire to have all aid programs covered in a single package bill. The Administration has taken the lead in volunteering the single package approach. A special additional request now may therefore adversely affect appropriations under the Mutual Security Program if a separate bill were offered at this time. (b) The program of “must” legislation to be enacted is a large one, and the Administration has been reluctant to add to the list in view of the very tight schedule faced by the Congress before the conventions. (c) We are on particularly vulnerable grounds in asking for additional funds in view of the fact that the $54 million appropriated for India for Fiscal Year 1952 is still largely unspent, with only one month of the Fiscal Year yet to go. (d) A congressional rebuff to an administration request for a supplemental program, which is more than likely, would undermine Bowles’ remarkably successful efforts in improving Indian-American relations, and would make more difficult a gradual and orderly building up of the program next year should that be desirable.

Despite the strong arguments against a further aid request at this [Page 1648] time, we feel that no firm decision should be taken until we have had an opportunity to discuss the situation with Ambassador Bowles. It seems clear that our decision must rest on a determination as to how vital to United States objectives in India immediate action on his additional program is. In the absence of a critical emergency, it is extremely difficult to see how separate legislation could be justified.

If no action is taken at this session, it is possible that a supplementary request might be submitted early in the next session of the Congress if Indian requirements then appear urgent. Again, it seems highly doubtful, however, that we would wish to give special attention to India at a time when preparations will be under way for a rounded and balanced 1954 program, unless a special emergency should exist in India at that time. On the other hand, it is possible that the present Congress may make such severe cuts that the Administration will feel it necessary to seek supplementary legislation for a wide range of programs, including that for India. The final answer on this possibility connot be given at this time.

It is suggested that in view of the above considerations you may wish to make the following points to Ambassador Bowles:

We cannot add the proposed $125 million to the present authorizing legislation.
The alternative of requesting additional funds for India through separate legislation during this session presents grave difficulties. However, before a firm decision is made on this point, Ambassador Bowles should review his proposals thoroughly with Messrs. Acheson and Harriman.
We hope that Ambassador Bowles will assist other Administration representatives to secure the most favorable possible appropriations for India within the limits set by the Fiscal Year 1953 authorizing legislation.
We cannot rule out the possibility of a supplemental request next session for India, though many of the objections to separate legislation this session would also apply.
Ambassador Bowles’ proposals will be fully considered in the development of the Administration’s program for Fiscal Year 1954.

  • W. A. Harriman
  • Dean Acheson
  1. Not printed; Ambassador Bowles in this telegram, dated May 22, informed the President that he had information which indicated that his friends in Congress believed that the possibility existed that Congress might pass special legislation giving India an additional $125 million in aid for fiscal year 1953, if the Truman Administration gave its firm support to the proposal (791.5 MSP/5–2252).