253. Letter From the President to the Secretary of Agriculture (Benson)1

Dear Ezra: I have agreed to meet, tomorrow morning, with a group of Senators representing the “sugar states.” I do not know exactly what they have in mind, but I am certainly going to commit myself to nothing until after there has been exhaustive study of this matter, not only by the Department of Agriculture but by the State Department and other interested individuals. I have re-read your memorandum [letter] of the 21st,2 but I note that is has no specific recommendations to offer.

It is my impression that the present plan is working fairly well, and I tend to agree with your idea that it would be better to deal with these matters in an off year rather than in an election year. However, it is equally important that we do nothing that looks like we are “running out on our agreements.” I assume your meaning to be that whatever is now done is to take effect at the expiration of whatever period is covered by current agreements. Unless this is so, we can be properly charged with lack of good faith.

Since you are not here and cannot attend the meeting tomorrow morning, I am providing you with this memorandum3 so that you will know the general line I intend to follow.

As ever,3

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Personal and Confidential.
  2. See footnote 4, supra.
  3. The source text is not signed.
  4. The source text is not signed.