Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1



  • Presentation of credentials from the Queen by Ambassador Corea; discussion of Ceylon’s need for rice, interest in a rubber contract, and desire for technical assistance.


  • The Secretary
  • Sir Claude Corea, Ambassador of Ceylon
  • Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ceylon
  • Mr. Donald D. Kennedy, SOA

Ambassador Corea handed me his new credentials from the Queen. I expressed my great pleasure at seeing him again after his long illness [Page 1530] and extended my congratulations on his having received a Knighthood on the recent honors list.

Sir Oliver Goonetilleke explained that one of the first things his Prime Minister had decided upon after the elections had been successfully concluded was that he, Sir Oliver, should come to America to discuss and work out, if possible, certain matters of great interest to Ceylon. The first and most immediate question was the obtaining of rice. He had already seen the Secretary of Agriculture and further discussions were to be held tomorrow; he had discussed the matter of financing in London and had been given $37 million, converted from sterling, for the purchase of rice and believed that help would be available this year for current needs. In addition, however, he wished to obtain some forward assurances for a period of two or three years, and this still had to be worked out. On rubber, he would like to discuss a possible contract for the procurement by the US of Ceylonese rubber. Conversations had taken place on this some months ago, but they had had to be terminated at the death of the late Prime Minister, Don Stephen Senanayake. Sir Oliver said that the third important question was the matter of technical assistance. He would like to see what agreement could be developed. He hoped that he could find out what was possible on these three important subjects so that his Government could make an overall decision on what to do.

I asked Mr. Kennedy if there was anything I could do at this time. Mr. Kennedy replied that the immediate problem of rice seemed to be in hand, that the longer run problem of procurement presented some difficulties but was still subject to discussion, and that the question of a rubber contract awaited Sir Oliver’s suggestions, which he had not yet given us. Presumably this matter would be taken up tomorrow with representatives of GSA and the Department. Mr. Kennedy also said that in connection with a TCA program for Ceylon there was the problem occasioned by shipments of Ceylonese rubber to Communist China; this trade brought into play certain provisions of the Battle Act.

I asked Mr. Kennedy to let me know if there was anything I could do at a later stage.

  1. This memorandum was drafted by Donald Kennedy, Director of the Office of South Asian Affairs.