Secretary’s Letters, lot 56 D 459, B

The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Agriculture (Benson)1


My Dear Mr. Secretary: In late January Sir Zafrulla Khan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, informed General Smith and Mr. Ohly, Mr. Stassen’s deputy, that there would be a grave food situation in Pakistan during the 1953–54 crop year.2 An analysis of all the information presently available, in which officers of the Far East Division of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations participated, indicates that United States aid of up to 750,000 tons of wheat at an estimated cost of $75 million may be required. I enclose a brief statement on the problem.3

It would be very helpful to have a first-hand report of the situation in Pakistan, both for our own information and to assist in presentation of a request to Congress. This could be best met, I think, by a special mission of three or four people to go to Pakistan in April since, if Congressional action is required as I expect it will be, additional legislative action will have to be requested some time in May in anticipation of a summer recess. I would appreciate your designating someone to work with Assistant Secretary Byroade in determining the membership of such a mission and agreeing on relevant details.4

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles
  1. This letter was drafted by Kennedy on Mar. 24 and was attached to the Mar. 25 memorandum of Byroade to the Secretary, supra. A copy of the source text was sent to the Director of Mutual Security, together with a letter to him, also dated Mar. 31, asking his help in working out a solution. (Secretary’s Letters, lot 56 D 459, B)
  2. See the memorandum of conversation of Jan 28, p. 1822.
  3. The memorandum, entitled “Pakistan’s Need for Wheat”, is not printed. It was basically the same as the Byroade memorandum to the Secretary, dated Mar. 25, supra.
  4. A Department of State press release, dated Apr. 27, announced that the Secretary of State and Director of Mutual Security were sending a mission to Pakistan to survey the wheat situation. The mission was to be headed by Harry Reed, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of the Agriculture Extension Service of Purdue University. He was to be assisted by Norman J. Volk of Purdue University and Peter Delaney of the Office of South Asian Affairs, Department of state. (Department of state Bulletin, May 18, 1953, p. 723) The Report of the United States Wheat Mission to Pakistan, dated May 19, 1953, concluded that it was in the security interest of the United States to extend food assistance to Pakistan at the earliest possible moment. That action would avert the great of famine and the possible political and financial collapse of the friendly government of an important and strategic country. (890D.2311/5–1953)